Twitter is a magical tool as I found out this weekend. I was talking about something or another and then another random point came up and then BAM! Marcel had created an SA Rocks Widget. It’s that easy.
He claims it only took him 5 minutes using a webtool called WidgetBox. I’m not so sure but either way it has been done.
You can now place an SA Rocks widget in your blog.
Congratulations to Vincent Maher and Amatomu for winning the award for best corporate initiative in Africa.
What is Highway Africa? From their site:
Highway Africa is an annual ICT conference hosted by Rhodes University which is situated in Grahamstown, South Africa.
Each year, more than 500 delegates from across the globe attend the conference to discuss issues relating to Internet governance, ICT policy and media for democracy.
The criteria on which the award was based is as follows:
Corporate category: Judges will be looking for creative adaptation of global technologies in an African media context.
Other broad criteria: (which apply to both categories), is the use of new media to benefit press freedom in Africa and encourage social empowerment in African communities. Ultimately the award aims to highlight innovations that result in African media benefiting from new ideas and developments in communications technology.
Well done Vincent! A great achievement, well deserved. We’re very, very proud of you!
Obviously providing wi-fi access to people without computers that are able to access the internet is a fairly futile exercise. So the Knysna community has been provided with computers that are able to access the internet throughout key areas in the community that enable all people from all walks of life to gain access to the global community that is the internet.
This is a phenomenal step forward, not only for SA but for the African continent. Let’s hope that more and more nations, city’s, villages, businesses, organisations and governments wake up and see the potential for growth that access provides to a community.
Recently (on the 4th of September), Inside the box, a Lenovo blog, announced that they are planning to ship with a Linux Distro as the default OS installed on their system. In true Open Source fashion, they decided to run a poll so that people can vote for which Distro they would like to see shipping on a Lenovo. The results are astounding! At the moment Ubuntu is by far the distro of choice!
They have 5883 votes with Debian as a close second on 1089 results.
You have to admit, Ubuntu being a South African produce, it makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside when something like this happens!
In 2006 our favorite Muti was featured in a similar fashion. We were all very chuffed and proud that some African site got noticed!
And now, for the third time, a South African Internet innovation was recognized by CNN Money. The Stormhoek story made it to the headlines! How the Hoekers successfully market their product using social media / Geek Dinners / blogging, etc… A great story and a great achievement.
If you think you have what it takes to blow SA’s best innovators out of the water then this is for you. It seems as though, again, I am a bit slow on the uptake but iHero is holding a competition for innovative South Africans.
The iHERO Awards programme is the brainchild of a new campaign called innovationTOWN, a programme that makes South Africans think differently about innovation. The campaign celebrates the entrepreneurial and creative spirit of South Africa by identifying those individuals or organisations that have created sustainable value through exceptional innovation in the following categories:
* iHERO – The overall “Grand Prix” winner – South Africa’s leading innovation or innovator;
* iEntrepreneur – for innovative entrepreneurs and self starters;
* iBusiness – innovative business practice, products and processes;
* iGovernment –innovative service delivery by government to the people;
* iSouth Africa – everyday innovators who are improving the lives of others through innovative social upliftment or projects within communities;
* iSciTech – celebrates scientific and technology breakthroughs with a strong community focus.
Awards and recognition include cash prizes for all category winners and the overall iHERO Award winner; widespread media exposure for all winning entrants; published articles on the most innovative submissions valued at R100 000; and an invitation to exhibit at the innovationTOWN exhibition later this year at the Sci-Bono Discovery Centre in Newtown. (courtesey http://www.bizcommunity.com/Article/196/11/16065.html)
CLICK HERE NOW TO ENTER THE IHERO AWARDS. Or Click HERE to visit the innovations town website.
Ed’s Note: It is with much pride and elated pleasure that I welcome Stii as the newest SA Rocks contributor. Stii has taken over the weekly Tech contribution on a Thursday.
He has a great technical/personal blog and is involved in some of the most cutting edge projects in the country at the moment, one of which being Afrigator, the hit blog aggregator for Africa.
Stii will be writing about all the wondrous things happening in SA surrounding technicals and technology!
South African projects are very democratic. In SA a lot of these new and exciting startups tend to listen closely to their users. They are all extremely keen to give you what you would like, rather than expecting you to take what you can get out of their services.
Recently a new service launched called iJol.co.za. It is a social networking site where you can register and tell other socialites about jols happening and what the jol is about. They released early (like most other projects!) and are still actively developing and improving and changing.
In a matter of days, they have done it! Dispite the fact that there are little use for microformats yet, they have done it and they impressed their community by giving them what they asked for.
It is a healthy situation for a growing community to make users an integral part of a project. Not only does it give users a sense of belonging, it also makes the project grow quicker and in the direction of demand. Its not always a healthy situation for the developer implementing the changes and demands, but thats what he does. He’ll just have to put up and shut up!
So next time if you think a South African project needs some feature, tell the people developing it. Rather than thinking it would be cool to have this or that, say it! Get involved, thats what these project thrive and depend on.
(This is just one simple example. The other big project like Afrigator, Muti and Amatomu do exactly the same.)
I adore entrepreneurs. For the guts it takes to risk your livelihood on a great idea. For the fact that life rewards these brave beings with the fastest, grittiest schooling and gruelling tests to prove commitment. For the fact that entrepreneurs always get in over their heads if the idea is big enough, worthy enough.
The guarantees that come with choosing this path are, being screwed over at some point, emptying your bank accounts at others, and taking an ego hammering from critics and the market.. among other exciting challenges. But those who make it out the other side are ALIVE and interesting and add value to the world and get rewarded accordingly.
In South Africa we have apitifully small percentage of people with the guts to dare to be an entrepreneur – don’t believe me? check here
Henk Kleynhans is one of those who is rocking the game with style. Not because he hasn’t had his fair share of scary and absurd obstacles, legal, financial, logistical. But he keeps proving that if you play the game with clean hands, have good taste in problems and gather a strong network of mentors and fellow maniacs.. the gods will finally smile broadly on you.
Henk has won numerous awards for his company, Skyrove. It launched in 2005 as the world’s first prepaid wireless hotspot service. And he doesn’t just keep the business all to himself – he enables others who want to run their own businesses to get started easily in this HUGELY promising industry >> Go check out Skyrove’s opportunities for entrepreneurs (a little residual income never hurts)
I’m so excited to watch where Henk is going to go next, especially after the very healthy injection of venture capital from Lingham Capital (good job Vinny!)
Henk is an asset to the tech industry in South Africa, particularly for the young entrepreneurs who need to know how the hell to deal with the challenges that we all undoubtedly face starting our own businesses. Get to know him and link in before he goes stratospheric.
I met this WebAddiCT on June 16 2006 in a freeeezing old school.hall in the middle of who.knows.where. It was South Africa’s 1st BarCamp organised by Geekspin & the Marketing Geek. I think that BarCamp was critical to the evolution of our little geek/blogging/socialmedia community >> so in some sense this is an anniversary post of that tipping point too.
Dave had been raving about this respected blogger Rafiq Phillips of the legendary Web Addicts was going to be there – the man now also known as trafiq (because if there is one thing that the Web AddiCTs know how to do : it would be driving digital traffic to their site) – SEO with its ever.changing algorithms is their speciality. But oddly enough it’s not the only traffic they’re into. Rafiq and his equally bright business partner Miguel Dos Santos run a business called iDrive. It’s changing the way driving schools work, but has the genius seed other service industries can learn from & use.
The innovative concept behind iDrive has been their ticket to the African Innovator of the Year award, and more recently to TED Global (oh the envy!!). They’ve been working with Mxit and mobile applications for a while now & have no doubt that mobile’s the future of technology best suited to Africa: lightweight, low.cost, massive reach and doesn’t rely to heavily on fixed infrastructure.
Rafiq believes that getting web-enabled mobile phones into the hands of other young Africans will unleash a wave of innovation throughout the continent. [Creativity is always sparked when a new tool is combined with limitations and curious minds]. There’s a really easy way you can help begin that process right now BTW: head here and vote for Rafiq to donate a phone to a Tanzanian student.
He’s passionate about helping to build African tech without a dependence on external aid. About solving our own problems in a fresh & innovative way without cloning. Unlike a lot of our brilliant young tech minds, he has chosen to stay in South Africa:
3:47 PM Rafiq: what makes me stay in za (cape town)?
za is a 1st world county
compared to rest of africa
we have 3rd world problems only solutions & business opportunities waiting to happen
Go celebrate the brilliant people you know who are using their talents in South Africa, helping to get this place rocking! See you next week with yet another of the geniuses I have the pleasure of sharing with SA Rocks.
*respect to our own Google Summer of Coder Charl van Niekerk who’s also holding his ground here in ZA – thank you guys!
Last week I was perplexed by the apparent lack of innovation in South Africa and I challenged all of you to help me find it. I am pleased to say that with the help of Rafiq, Nic, Sjefke and Karen we’ve managed to pull quite an extensive list of innovations coming right out of South Africa.
I’ll now look to do some more in depth reporting on these innovations but for now I thought it might be interesting to highlight some key innovation facts taken from the first official South African Innovation Survey.
The survey, modeled on the innovation survey conducted in European Union countries, was conducted by the Human Sciences Research Council on behalf of the Department of Science and Technology and found that South Africa compares favourably with countries like Sweden (where 50% of enterprises are innovative), the United Kingdom (43%) and Portugal (41%).
According to Deputy Science and Technology Minister Derek Hanekom South African businesses’ “are not being complacent and are responding to changes in their environment by producing new or significantly changed goods, services and processes.
“Our rate of innovation is well above that of the European average of 42% for 2004.”
SA companies spent in the region of R27.8-billion on innovative activities in 2004, representing about 2.4% of the total turnover of all business covered in the industrial and service sectors.
What is most pleasing to see is the support of public funding for innovation. According to the survey 10% of successful innovators had received public funding for activities.