"Our mission is to share accurate knowledge about Namibia in an exciting way that enables mindful traveling."
The idea to create an audioguide app for Namibia was born in 2019 when Jana was about to quit her teaching position at a private High School in Windhoek where one of her subjects was History. "Is there a way I can share the interesting History of Namibia not only with my students but also with tourists and make it more exciting?" she was asking herself. After taking her classes on an outing to the Independence Memorial Museum as well as the surrounding sites, such as the old German fort and the statues at the parliament gardens, it was very clear that it's a huge problem that all these monuments lack sufficient signage to put them into the correct historical context if the visitors don't have any background knowledge. How to solve this problem, especially with regards to German tourists, who should be educated about the atrocities of colonialism.
Fast forward a few weeks later: While driving down to the coast for a long weekend and day-dreaming in the passenger seat about the beautiful Namibian landscape, Jana finally joined the dots. She remembered that when she was working for a local radio station some years back that it brought her a lot of joy to produce audio-clips about places she had visited in the country. "Using sounds and statements of real people makes the stories so much more tangible", she thought out loud, "however unfortunately in radio they are only aired once or twice and then never again, even though the content is still relevant."
From this bright spark it was still a long journey until all the pieces of the puzzle were joined together. A few months later in 2020 Jana committed fully to turn the idea into reality. Together with five interns, who worked remotely through the months of the pandemic, Exploradio came to live. Winning the Innovation Bazaar 2020 and being nominated as a finalist for the Start-Up of the Year was a big blessing and gave her the confidence to look for a Namibian co-founder to bring in a local narrative.
However it wasn't until the beginning of 2021, while Jana was originally casting female voice-artists for the English versions of the audio-clips, that Sij crossed her path. "They say co-founding is like dating," the German woman explains, "when I saw Sij's application to be a voice-artist I immediately knew that I need to convince her to become a co-founder of the business as well." The two women met for coffee on Independence Avenue and spoke about all the amazing things Sij was already doing at the time and how this could be a perfect match for the future of Exploradio. The Namibian Youtuber, who is a polyglot, is also a Historian with a degree in teaching and the host of the Namibian episodes of a British series called "Africa speaks". As the passionate multi-talent that Sij is, she quickly and enthusiastically became an important part of the project.
Shortly after Sij & Jana met for the first time, Exploradio won another prize: The FemTech Mentorship Program. The Start-Up was chosen out of over 100 applications by female (tech) entrepreneurs. The timing was perfect for the two founders to start venturing together and create a common goal and vision for the first and only audioguide for Namibia: