A correspondent writes from South Africa's Shuttleworth Foundation to tell me about the world's first m-novel written in English and isiXhosa (an indigenous South African language). It's a teen mystery story set in Cape Town about four graffiti writing friends. You can read it (still evolving) at Kontax on your PC or a WAP-enabled phone.
The Foundation believes that m-novels have the potential to be big in Africa and wants to explore this space through a project they're calling m4Lit. It's planning to conduct research with 50 teens in Cape Town to understand their experience of the m-novel within a broader literacy context. Post-project papers are planned too. The comments from users so far are really interesting.
I'd come across m-novels and short stories in Japan, China, India, and a few other places, when I was writing Txtng: the Gr8 Db8, but I'd not encountered it in Africa, and certainly not involving a language like Xhosa. Given the remarkable growth of mobile phones in Africa, where they foster communication in areas which don't have good computer connections, I wouldn't be surprised if the genre catches on. It could be a useful additional strategy for involving young people in community languages that are endangered.