Ahren Posthumus, is one of the creative talents behind the web app Lockdown Bozza, aimed at helping South Africans keep up to date with the Covid-19 lockdown, threat levels and restrictions.
A FORMER Kimberley school pupil, Ahren Posthumus, is one of the creative talents behind the web app Lockdown Bozza, aimed at helping South Africans keep up to date with the Covid-19 lockdown, threat levels and restrictions.
The app is currently taking the country by storm and already has more than 1.1 million users and around five million views.
Together with business associates, Rahul and Emma Patel, as well as a university friend, Adam Romyn, Posthumus pulled all-nighters to get the app out within four days of President Cyril Ramaphosa announcing the lockdown levels in the country.
“The four of us had been throwing around ideas because we felt there was something we could do to provide a service that was relevant during the current time. On the Thursday night when the president announced the phased approach, we realised that this was where we could step in as this volume of information coming from government needed to be simplified for all South Africans. The four of us, who were working in three different lockdown locations, immediately had a Zoom session and got to work. In those four days, I think I got a total of three hours of sleep,” Posthumus said on Thursday.
Posthumus, who currently lives in Cape Town and works in cyber-security, explains that when starting up the platform, the user can select a province, which then displays the individual threat levels for that province. It also allows the user to save the various cities within each province and to add these as favourites.
“The platform displays a simple user interface, making it easy to navigate. As South Africa has high levels of illiteracy, we decided to use the three traffic light colours – red for prohibited, yellow for restricted and green for allowed.”
The app also displays a live curfew clock and all the restrictions within the current level, as well as restrictions in other threat levels.
There are around 50 varying activities, ranging from exercising to education, and each activity can be selected by the user to see the list of particular rules and restrictions applying to that specific activity, not only on the current level but on each threat level.
The web application is supported on multiple platforms, however mobile is recommended.
All information is provided by the South African government. “All the app does is simplify the information and categorise it for the users’ convenience during the Covid19 pandemic.
“We wanted to create something that South Africans could use to navigate the mountain of different regulations,” Posthumus said. “However, we never anticipated the response that we have already received. It is testimony that South Africans are keen to know about the lockdown and how it affects them.
“What is really cool is that it’s a fully-fledged application that users can install on their phones without having to download it from an app store. It can be installed directly from the website, or it can also be viewed from the website and it supports any device.”
He added that the decision to use the next generation of applications was done purposely to ensure that as many people as possible could be reached.
Posthumus indicated that they were currently in negotiations with the South African government to ensure that when new information became available, it could be sent directly to them. “This will ensure that the app becomes a trusted platform to disseminate information to the public.”
He added that he recently received a phone call from the Office of the President to enquire about the app. “That was very exciting.
“Although it is still early days, we are also in discussions with telecommunication companies to reduce the cost for South Africans when they use the website. The intention was never to make money but the server is very expensive and we have to look at ways of covering our costs.”