Highway Africa

by on December 13, 2006 at 5:33 pm

By accident, I ran into Colin Daniels at an industry event last week, a fascinating South African-based professor from Rhodes University.

Over here to learn about the latest technology and social media developments, he was blogging away in the last row when I asked him (and everyone around him) for outbound SMTP info since, once again, I couldn’t get Outlook to work on the road.

Sometimes it does, sometime it doesn’t. It’s like dealing with a temperamental baby with A.D.D. – always unpredictable. While he looked up port numbers for me, I recognized his accent, having lived in South Africa and having been married to one for awhile.

At a time when I’ve been longing to do anything at all out of the country (think about how American-centric you can become by default if you don’t explore foreign waters from time-to-time: its inevitable), he hits me with an upcoming event called Highway Africa. He says “come on down for it.”


Arrrrrgh, don’t tempt me like that Monsieur Daniels. Even though the event itself is the largest gathering of African journalists in the world (and clearly I don’t qualify), my brain and heart lit up as I started thinking of how incredible the discussions would be…..

Having spent a chunk of time traveling and living in Africa and feeling far too removed for far too long, I tried to imagine my old life (backpack and exploration living) today. A little hard to run a business that way and yet……..

His New Media Lab’s focus is to educate and train journalism students and the media industry, advance knowledge through research and dissemination of that research, innovate and experiment with technology and engage with industry and relevant interest groups. Now it makes sense why he was here.

Highway Africa will be held in Grahamstown in September and is celebrating its tenth year. They’ll be discussing issues related to Internet governance, ICT policy and media for democracy. While not on the cards this year, maybe next.