This time last year, Econet-run satellite television provider Kwese was being launched to rival some of the biggest names in satellite television provision not least of which was MultiChoice’s DSTV bouquet.
There was, according to those invited, a lot of pomp and fanfare. And for people who had long laboured about the increasingly exclusionary tactics by MultiChoice, this was a great new alternative.
Now people had a choice of going for one or the other. After all was it not DSTV itself that had taught us with a now rested pay-off line to “Get used to choice?” and now, finally, a choice was available.
Some of us, bags in hand, migrated to taste the other side.
It was convenient. One would be able to pay using their mobile phone credit via Ecocash and be reconnected immediately. It had flexible packages which were pretty low compared to her competitor. True, she had less channels than her rival this new beauty, but the ability to pay in the local currency was more than a plus.
Save for football, the rest of the channels were pretty similar to the rival. National Geographic Wild, Nat Geo Africa, Fox Life, Fox Africa . . . in fact for those who could sacrifice football, this was pretty urrr, pretty for a bouquet.
The choice was to develop those ridges at the back of the head when soccer season came from watching the high perched televisions in pubs. That’s where we would watch footie. And there was always the convenient excuse that after all football is best enjoyed with a beer in hand and a crowd of fellow chanting rivals in the pub. It stuck and made sense and Kwese came home.
Also, an added plus. Unlike the increasingly arrogant and rude communication skills, or lack thereof of other Strive Masiyiwa platforms (my Ecocash double payment request still hangs in limbo two weeks after I asked for the erroneous double payment to Kwese to be reversed) Kwese, with their @watchkwese handle on twitter responded promptly to inquiries on social media and they were super polite.
Sometimes, just polite and prompt service is what one needs to be faithful to a product.
And as expected, there were birth pangs no doubt to the Kwese experience. A horrid non customer friendly user interface with a hideous ribbon that hardly tells you what programme you are watching, what time it has started or what comes next.
Also, scrolling and “booking” programmes for reminders remains an experience tougher than a weekend in hell to experience.
But on the whole, one year on as they celebrate, how has Kwese fared?
Well, they have lived up to their name!
Kwese is now Kwese Kwese. Which means everywhere or rather all over. But in their case, Kwese is “all over the place!” The movie channel they were “working on” which they pulled down at the start of the year still remains as visible as a dead man’s thoughts!
And while in the beginning they would have the courtesy to inform their viewers if they were pulling down a channel, these days they pull it down and not inform viewers. What the hell will you do to them? They, after all, are something you cannot live without like 666 . . . the Devil’s number.
From Ecocash to Steward Bank to ZOL to . . . basically anything, you cannot transact for a day without that number on your phone and if they give you shoddy service well take it or . . . take it!
And inquiries on their Twitter handle on what has happened to Fox Life . . . to Nat Geo Wild, Nat Geo Africa and other channels that are quietly yet fast disappearing from their bouquet like cooking oil at a Budiriro supermarket yields nothing.
Zilch. Silence. Not like the Kwese from the beginning which was doing everything to court the clients. No. They have you in their tenterhooks and they don’t seem to give a hoot.
But then in African culture they say he that pursues a bride is well behaved, until he has her in his claws.
And we are captured.
And sadly a fast shedding Kwese has become just about of as much use as the human appendix. And many, like me, are truly contemplating an appendectomy.