News

Siyakhula Living Lab on national TV!

In the month of June, the Siyakhula Living Lab was honoured to be part of the documentary series Leihlo la Sechaba on SABC2 in an episode focussing ICT for rural development. This exciting media coverage, captured, on site, our rural community and researcher perspectives at this present point in time.

A shortened version of the episode can be found here.

Android Mobile Application development series: A step towards building an Eastern Cape Developer community

A small East London developer community has seen the start of exciting developer activities, thanks to the multi-stakeholder collaboration between the Eastern Cape CoLab, the Makana Apps Factory, WSU, Rhodes University and University of Fort Hare, Eastern Cape IT Initiative and the East London Industrial Development Zone’s Science and Technology Park.

As a start, this community were involved in a 20-seat, three part Android Mobile Development workshop series started on the 29th of May, with the second session scheduled for the 25th of July. The facilitator, Prof Mamello Thinyane, presented a much commended, captivating session, assisted by the workshop coordinater Sibukele Gumbo.

The workshop series demonstrates the willingness of the SLL team (from Rhodes and Fort Hare) to develop the Eastern Cape community where possible. It also strongly indicates the need for support for the Eastern Cape developer community by provincial organisations.

Follow the progress of the workshop series here.

SLL researchers in Italy

University of Fort Hare and Rhodes University recently sent two researchers, Sibukele Gumbo and Fortunate Gunzo for an enjoyable 6 weeks summer visit to Italy. This visit was part of the Marie Curie Actions International Staff Exchange Scheme project, ICT in Low Resource Settings: Innovating for Africa and Europe through Living Labs.  Project collaborators include Fondazione Bruno Kessler(FBK, Italy), Fraunhofer FOKUS (Germany), Rhodes University and the University of Fort Hare.

In Italy, the researchers enjoyed the warm and generous hospitality by the ICT4G Unit in FBK, Trento. Together, a seminar entitled A Story of a South African Living Lab was organised and presented to members of the interlinked FBK and University of Trento communities. Subsequently, further discussions with people interested in ICT for Development occured.

Siyakhula Living Lab attends South Africa / Tanzania ICT Research Partnership Project workshop

On the 11th of March 2014, Siyakhula Living Lab's Sibukele Gumbo joined other established and emerging South African and Tanzanian Living Labs, and other ICT bodies in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania for a one day workshop entitled, “Living Lab workshop for co-creation and innovation between South Africa and Tanzania”. The event was jointly organised by Dar es Salaam Institute of Technology (DIT), Tanzania Commission for Science and Technology (COSTECH), Living Labs in Southern Africa (LLISA) and CSIR Meraka (supported by the NRF).

The 44 attendees featured delegates from Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University LL, North West University LL, WIN LL and Reconstructed Labs in South Africa and the Ministry of Community, Science and Technology, TANZAICT, RLabs Iringa, Arusha Ecolab, Mbeya, Kegamboni Community Centre (KCC), Tanzania Youth Icon (TYI) and Sengerema Living Lab based in Tanzania.

The goals and outcomes of this workshop included awareness creation, exchange and sharing of knowledge and information borne through experiences in our centres. The attendees also had the opportunity to conduct group discussions on the advantages of Living Lab involvement to stakeholders, namely government, academia, industry and developmental bodies.

A Natural Instinct for Community Engagement

Compliments of the New Season! May 2014 keep you healthy and happy, kind and generous, and also, offer you success and happiness ;-)

To kickstart the year, we would like to share an article published last year here ;-) This article is by Sarah-Jane Bradfield, and featured in page 8 and page 9 of the Rhodes University Community Newsletter in September 2013. It highlights the contributions of myself, Sibukele Gumbo, Dr Mosioua Tsietsi and Prof Alfredo Terzoli in the Siyakhula Living Lab and Reed House Systems. The full Rhodos Newsletter is available here as well.

Enjoy!

2013 Annual ICT Summit in East London

The 2013 Eastern Cape ICT summit was hosted from the 5th -7th November, at the East London International Conference Centre. Mobile Applications was the theme and focus this year. The event was graced by dignitaries such as the Eastern Cape MEC – Local Government and Traditional Affairs, Mr. Mlibo Qoboshiyane, SITA’s Freedom Nomvalo and Mr. Andile Ngcaba from Dimension Data, amongst others. Prof Alfredo Terzoli, one of the 23 speakers, and accompanied to the event by Prof Mamello Thinyane, Ms Nyalleng Moorosi, Ms Mathe Maema and Ms Sibukele Gumbo.

Prof Terzoli presented a seminar entitled ‘E Gov. Services as a way to sustain ICT infrastructure in poor areas’. You may view his session on this Youtube video (starting at 1h 16 minutes).

Video clip from the 2013 Siyakhula Celebrations

If you weren’t able to make it to the Siyakhula Living Lab celebrations in April, please click here to view a video snippet of the event, in the former Transkei on the 18th of April 2013. The colourful 5 minute video by Australian filmaker Keith Diamond, features prominent figures such as the Honourable Deputy Minister – Communications and the SLL communities, academia, government and industry.

Broadband - A catalyst for Sustainable Economic Development and Promoting Digital Inclusion

This year, the prestigious Southern African Telecommunications Networks and Applications Conference (SATNAC) conference was hosted at Stellenbosch's Spier Estate in the Western Cape. SATNAC is the flagship conference for the 16 Telkom Centres of Excellence hosted in Computer Science and Engineering Departments at universities around the country.  The 3 day conference was held from the 1st - 4th of Sept 2013.

The welcome address was delivered by Prof Brian O'Connell, Rector and Vice Chancellor at University of the Western Cape, and the keynote address was delivered by the Honourable Yunus Carrim, Minister of Communications - South Africa. In his speech, the Minister reaffirmed his commitment to deliver a broadband policy, strategy and plan by the end of Nov 2013.

Congratulations to Ms Sibukele Gumbo, the Siyakhula Living Lab Project Lead, for winning one of the 2013 Eastern Cape Women in ICT Awards!

The awards recognize achievers in the ICT field who operate in the Eastern Cape, and was a well deserved accolade for Sibukele, for the work that she does for the Siyakhula Living Lab, with the highest professionalism but also with imagination, dedication and pragmatism. Over the years, her role has been key to the life of the SLL,  while contributing to the scholarly knowledge onLiving Labs, through academic papers presented at national and international conferences.

The awards were handed over by the Deputy Minister of Communications, Ms Stella Ndabeni –Abrahams, at a glittery breakfast in East London on July 9th.  As it happens, Sibukele was in Mozambique for that week, as a lecturer in the 3rd Summer School of ICTs, organized by the Maputo Living Lab, on server-side service development. The award was received on her behalf by Ncedisa Ncapai, Director of the Amahlumela Foundation.

Siyakhula Living Lab presents in East Africa

This year, the IST-Africa Conference and Exhibition was hosted at the Safari Park Hotel, in Nairobi, Kenya on the 29th to the 31st of May 2013. The event, which was the 8th of its series, and was attended by approximately 400 delegates, mainly from Africa and Europe. It featured 11 exhibition stands and 45 Parallel Sessions with representatives from public, private, education and research organisations in 40 countries (22 African and 18 European).

Mathe and I (Sibukele) attended on behalf of the Siyakhula Living Lab. Our contributions towards towards this conference were as follows:

I made a short Siyakhula Living Lab presentation in an intervention session on Tuesday the 28th in the Annual Living Labs Working Group Meeting. This group meeting was intended to discuss the potential of leveraging Living Labs methodologies for socio-economic development.

Two Siyakhula Living Lab papers were presented at the parallel sessions at the conference. Mathe presented a paper entitled ‘A Look into Classification: Towards Building an Indigenous Knowledge Platform for Educational Use’ in the Technology-Enhanced learning session, while I presented ‘eSkills Training on Communal Fixed Infrastructure as an Activator of Personal Use of Mobile Internet’ in a Living Labs to Support Skills Development session.

More information on the conference is available here.

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