Archive for Events from South Africa

Cape Town: The Silicon Valley of Africa?

by on October 2, 2009 at 11:42 pm

Silicon cape logo Silicon Cape is a new event in South Africa started by investors and entrepreneurs who have spent time in Silicon Valley.

More than an event, it’s a brand, an idea that everyone could ‘rally around’ in the Cape. My blogger pal Matthew Buckland, who has been asked to MC the kick-off event, writes about the launch on his blog.

The goal is to attract the best entrepreneurs, technical brains and foreign investment to South Africa. (more…)

TED Talk: How Twitter users shaped Twitter

by on March 6, 2009 at 7:24 am

Click on headline link to visit for full article

Global Blog Buzz for We Blog the World Tour

by on December 7, 2008 at 2:46 pm

Ayelet of Blonde 2.0 in Israel writes about the We Blog the World blogging tour in South Africa, as does a well known Kenyan blogger, Stormhoek and Biz Community.

Cradle of Mankind's Grave Lessons

by on December 6, 2008 at 12:59 am

Friday afternoon’s stop on the South African endless bus/plane tour was in the area humbly named “The Cradle of Mankind.” Sterkfontein Caves in Gauteng’s fossilized remains are to paleontologists as Hollywood is to the paparazzi — a seemingly endless supply of somewhat human-looking beings to be examined from every angle.

The caves, are rich in hominid fossils (more than 700) because of a confluence of “lucky” circumstances. “People” and animals either recently or about to be dead were washed or fell into a series of deep holes. Then, limestone leaked into the holes, and fossilized the remains of the day for millennia, according to researcher Dominic Stratford who led our tour through the dark and dusty caves. He believes that the abundance of human and animal bones may come from the tendency of leopards to store their kills in trees that might have hung over the hole.

One of the most famous finds at Sterkfontein is Little Foot, a pre-human whose skeleton was nearly completely (97 percent) found.

Stratford regaled us with an interesting theory of how eating more meat may have helped us to walk erect. According to Stratford, hominids began switching from eating nuts and wild grasses to eating more protein, including other hominids who may have been killed by prey or by each other. This may have also been because of a gene mutation that caused smaller jaws. Stratford says chewing protein such as meat requires smaller jaw muscles that stretch to the base of the skull, so there’s more room for a larger brain. Larger brains helped with developing tools that moved us gradually out of the stone age. So take that granola-lovers, if it weren’t for munching on recently departed cousins, we might still be knuckledraggers!

Anthropology and paleontology were never presented in a way this interesting when I was in school.

3.8Km underground – My experience in the deepest mine in the world

by on December 5, 2008 at 2:26 am

3.8km is a long way whether you look at it vertically, horizontally or any other way you can think of. Now think of going down. Deep down in the pit of the Earth.
TauTona is AngloGold Ashanti’s Mine near Carletonville in Johannesburg. Let me be straight with you here, it’s deep and you don’t really […]

Project Runway

by on December 3, 2008 at 11:10 am

The passengers unaware of the impending adventure[/caption]s

The passengers unaware of the impending adventure

There’s nothing as adrenaline-inducing as a plane landing in less than optimal conditions. Today our team of bloggers got to enjoy(?) a dicey descent after a thunderstorm caused us to change airports on the fly.

We were headed for Lanseria airport, but the massive black clouds forced a 45 minute game of storm chasers before the pilot diverted to nearby Oliver Tambor airport. The charter plane is open to the front, so we could see the pilots manning the controls while clearly struggling with the elements.

As we approached the lighted runway, our aircraft was continually being pushed about 10 degrees to the right, and the pilot grappled with the wheel, turning left, left, and left again. It reminded me of my meager attempts at Microsoft Flight Simulator.

Every correction was met with an equal force of wind, and my heart started pumping as we got close enough to see the narrow white lines of the runway. Even after the wheels seemed ready to scrape the ground we were still a few degrees off course, but our adept pilot readjusted and got us squared up on the runway only seconds before touchdown.

I couldn’t wait to speak with the captain when deplaning. When asked if this were one of his trickier landings, he said “Most definitely,” with an exasperated sigh. “It was a struggle all the way down.”

We blog the world: US bloggers hit RS of A

by on December 2, 2008 at 8:40 am

The idea was to show some key US bloggers what our country is made of: the good, the bad and the complex. I decided to tag along for the Cape Town leg of the tour, which is an exhaustive/exhausting nine-day trek around the country by plane, bus, helicopter and boat. (See 360 degree pic of […]

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360degree bloggers

by on December 1, 2008 at 8:24 am

Our first proper day of excursions kicked off today with a helicopter tour of Cape Town. What an absolutely stunning city CT is. I wont go in to that too much because this post is purely going to show you all the bloggers on the tour with me and the links to their respective projects […]

Three Notes on World AIDS Day

by on December 1, 2008 at 3:37 am

As I wrote a couple weeks ago in an email to the Rising Voices mailing list, I have mixed feelings about World AIDS Day. On the one hand, it can help create the illusion that we only need to think about AIDS one day out of the year and then somehow everything will get better. On the other hand, December 1st can be an attention-grabbing starting point for sustained campaigns that advocate for the rights of HIV-positive individuals, like the AIDS Rights Congo project is doing; spread preventive education with creativity, like the REPACTED project in Kenya does on a regular basis; and amplify the voices of marginalized communities, like the Drop-In Center in Ukraine.

Here on the South Africa Bloggers Roadshow, which is meant, in the words of its sponsors, to “tell the story of South Africa,” there is no mention of HIV or AIDS at all. (Nor violence against women, for that matter.) Graeme Addison, Durban’s Dagga King and the organizer of our itinerary, apologized on the first day for the exclusion. So, let me take a few minutes to mention three relevant notes.

To Test or Not to Test: Thandanani’s Question

First, I have uploaded a video which features excerpts of a really fascinating conversation I had last Friday with Thandanani, Sinempilo, and Zwelithini. Much of the conversation was Thandanani explaining why he didn’t want to know his HIV status and Sinempilo and Zwelithini trying to convince him that he should get tested. But there are other fascinating parts as well. I learned that in South Africa low income mothers are given 200 rand a month when they become pregnant. The three felt that this policy contributes to the spread of HIV and AIDS because it encourages people to have unprotected sex as a way of generating income. All three also felt that if Black South Africans go back to their indigenous cultures rather than trying to emulate the West that HIV transmission would be reduced. For one, they’d be spending less time going out to clubs, drinking, and hooking up, but also there are parts of Zulu culture like the traditional virginity test which encourage abstinence. Enjoy the conversation:

Project Masiluleke

Second, I must take off my hat to Miss Zinny Thabethe, who I first met at Pop!Tech and then was able to see again last week in Pietermaritzburg. Zinny is used to a good deal of attention. In fact, if you open up Southern Africa’s edition of Cosmopolitan Magazine there she’ll be, one of South Africa’s “30 fun and fearless women.” You can also see her speaking at PopTech and featured in National Geographic magazine.


Zinny’s newest initiative is Project Masiluleke. As I wrote last month, PopTech is transforming from a mere annual conference to a constant social change incubator. In addition to its Social Innovation Fellows program, the PopTech group will also select inspiring projects which are ripe with potential and put them in “the accelerator,” which essentially means introducing them to all the right people in order to make the project a success.

Project Masiluleke is the guinea pig project of the Accelerator. There are two major parts to the project which will officially launch sometime this spring. In South Africa most mobile service providers offer a feature in which you can send someone a free text message asking them to call you if you are out of airtime. The message itself is only around 30 characters, which leaves more than 100 more characters of space. Rather than filling that space with advertising, as would be expected, South Africa’s MTN network will append public service messages asking its subscribers to get tested and offering counseling resources. The second major part of the project is an at-home HIV testing kit designed by New York City-based Frog Design. We saw a demo of the kit at PopTech and the thinking that went behind it is extremely impressive.

Blogging Positively

On Wednesday Serina and Daudi will be co-hosting a live chat about how citizen media can be used to supplement and improve the mainstream media’s coverage of the AIDS epidemic. Details on how to participate in the chat are on Serina’s blog. Also make sure to check out Juhie’s post on Global Voices about World AIDS Day, our special topic coverage page, and the Global Voices Google Map of HIV-positive bloggers around the world that Juhie put together with Solana.

New Media in Action

by on December 1, 2008 at 3:24 am

Miichael Spicer talks about the economy to blogger David Sasaki and his cellphone.

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