The rise of online gaming in Mzansi

Brickhado’s arcade fostering a culture of gaming eKasi

The online gaming community has been on an upward trajectory since the late 1990’s and early 2000’s. This trend began when the availability of the internet started booming and the introduction of smartphones and high end gaming consoles. To date, the industry has 2.8 billion consumers worldwide who spend over 138 billion dollars on games according to a study conducted by Rhodes University. 11 million of those 2.8 billion consumers were South African.

In this day and age there are people who play games for a living and make millions of dollars in the process. Famous gamers such as Felix “PewDiedie” Kjellberg and Richard “Ninja” Tyler Blevins are examples of this phenomenon. Their net worths range between 60 million and 40 million dollars respectively. 

A study conducted in 2017 showed that South Africans spent over R3 million on gaming with a 17% year on year predicted growth. Schools and higher education institutions are increasingly offering competitive online gaming activities, referred to as “eSports”, which are watched by spectators. This too is driving the popularity of online gaming hence it does not come as a surprise to see local communities starting their own local online gaming competitions. 

Brickhado’s arcade rocks up the community of Langa

Brickhado’s Arcade in Langa is a prime example of this. Founded in 2019 in the aspirational community of Langa. Is a high end arcade shop where players can challenge each other in games such as FIFA. The arcade has various Playstation and Xbox console offerings so that the competitors can challenge each other for a R5 joining fee. The gamers battle it out in a winner stays competition. 

22 years old Qhamani Nande Xameni aka Brickhado, saw an opportunity in a vacant room in his building complex that was used to keep rubbish bins. “We started small, fixing old arcade machines in a storage rubbish bin room in our complex. In 2020, I asked someone with an Arcade if I could fix their old machines and bring them back to life. We used a storage bin in our apartment building that I renovated into an arcade shop. I saved up money and bought our own games. Even though it was tough, we kept going. Every challenge made us stronger”, says Xameni.

EA Sports FC 24 Tournament

On Saturday, Brickhado’s arcade made history by hosting the first of its kind major online gaming event hosted in the township. The event dubbed EA Sports FC 24 Tournament kicked off at 9 am in Langa in partnership with TooMuchWifi, Langa for men, Ilingelihle youth project and the University of Cape Town. The event included a 3 aside mini tournament, pool table, a Braai for all the attendees to indulge, a grand prize of R1000 for the EA sports FC 24 tournament winner and other prizes to be won on the day. 

The tournament garnered so much attention even DSTV Premiere Soccer League team Cape Town Spurs players came to the event. It was not one or two but six players from the team came to support: Chumani Butsaka, Asanele Velebhayi, Khaya Mfecane, Boitumelo Radiopane, Lubeni Haukongo and Obakhe Tshaya.

TooMuchWifi Community and Brand Activations Manager, Mzukisi Mpingose, says “it is inspiring to see a budding entrepreneur succeed in this dark cloud of high unemployment especially amongst the youth. Where it is easier to complain and do nothing instead of waking up and finding innovative ways to make a living. It did not take us long to make the decision to support Qhamani’s dream of making Brickhado’s Arcade a household name when it comes to online gaming.”

Tournament winners

The event concluded at 7 pm with Tapoukies fc winning the 3 aside tournament. Meanwhile our very own Siphokuhle Mtiya also known as Rankx amongst his peers won the FC 24 tournament. for a quick highlight of the event click here.

Xameni wishes to take his business to the next level. To make these events bigger and introduce many faces into the online gaming space. Today, Brickhado’s arcade is one of the most popular gaming shops in Langa. The community of Langa adores Qhamani. They believe he is keeping their kids out of the streets and away from a life of drugs and crime. “Starting is the most important thing and to have a clear vision of where you want to go” says Qhamani. Lastly, if you want to connect to your online community choose TooMuchWifi the number one choice for fast, affordability, and reliable internet connection, danko mzansi.