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Professor Alfredo Terzoli

Q.     Highway Africa has recently acquired funding from Telkom and we have ground breaking work being carried out by the Computer Science and Telkom Centre of excellence in distributed Multimedia at Rhodes University, the Eastern Cape now has a hub of ICT strength in the palm of it’s hand,  given it is also the largest province in South Africa, with the highest poverty and dire socio economic differences.  Can we expect more from this part of the world or is it too soon to ask …  “what sustainable programmes” people of the Eastern Cape can envisage in the future coming out of this new found hub of sponsored ICT’s?

 A. I think we can expect more. The opportunity is too good to let it die, instead of scaling the operation up to the right size, as to have a real impact and make a difference. Interestingly enough, the cluster of expertise that you sketched in the question is getting larger. A software house, Reed House System (RHS), has been started in Grahamstown and is ‘productizing’ the findings in the Siyakhula Living Lab (SLL), the experimental site in the Mbashe Municipality for ICT for Development work of the Centre. An important participant in these ventures, for years now, is the twin Telkom Centre of Excellence at the nearby Fort Hare University, led by Dr Mamello Thinyane. Various organizations and body seem to be interested in coming to the party: the Department of Communication, the Technology Innovation Agency, the Eastern Cape Development Corporation. We should see interesting developments at the beginning of 2012.

Q.     In which areas of development do you envisage ICT’s will and can add further value to enhance the many challenges on the continent, from domestic to professional to academic sectors of society?

 A. It is difficult to think of a single area where ICT won’t be an important addition, or even simply is not the key enabler.

 Q.     Corporate, namely Telkom, has made great strides in supporting ICT’s, how in your view can smaller companies also assist in associating their brand with sustainable development in Africa. 

 A. They can in various ways. They can offer in-kind contribution, such as the use of their  radio licenses, for example, or their expertise and maybe knowledge of segments of society not yet known well enough by the first economy players. Of course, they can get great mileage from it, as well as be first in the market when this market (ICT for development) will open.

Q.     Your efforts under the auspice of Telkom and Rhodes University have benefitted the schools in and around the Eastern Cape, what advice do you have for schools in other countries in Africa, how can they help enhance the education of children in their schools? Did the schools approach you or did Rhodes University approach the neighbouring schools?

 A. Well, schools are typically in a difficult position: lack of funding, not good infrastructure etc. Still, we have had more than one example of schools taking up the challenge of at least source computers (if not the connection to the Internet, that in rural Africa can be rather expensive still).  In our case it was Rhodes approaching the schools, together with Fort Hare  in the case of the Siyakhula Living Lab. One should keep in mind that finding ways of getting ICTs is easier when the schools are happy to open the door of their ICT installation to the rest of the community, which make the installation more efficient and gives it more transformative power.

Q.     New Media in Africa has truly added value and the most recent example are the revolutions taking place in the middle east and having a ripple effect across the world.  ICT’s in the form of Twitter, Facebook, YouTube has enabled citizens to expose their plight in Saudi Arabia, Libya and Egypt.  What more in your view can be done by citizens to enable the media to further shed light on the rights of people being abused, crimes being committed or feel good stories being told?

 A. I think we are seeing a transformation of how democracy is implemented and used. A lot of the attributes that we associate to democracy (few people representing many, elections only every 5 years or so, little dialogue with the ‘people’ after the ‘representative’ are elected etc) are simply dictated by technology constraints that have been with us for a long time. These constraints are being removed progressively by ICTs, which at the core allow faster communication and generally symbol storage and manipulation.

Q.     Electricity is an expensive commodity in Africa can ICT’s work off solar as it is a natural source of abundance in Africa?

 A. I do think that small scale solar and wind are very suitable to conditions in large parts of Africa. Of course, they are costly, at least initially: but how costly is the infrastructure to bring the electricity produced elsewhere? Also, deployment of small scale solar and wind solutions could spur a full industry, in the middle of the technology spectrum (not high tech, no low tech) and labour intensive, so with characteristics that might be suitable at least to parts of Africa right now.

Highway Africa respects the 9th August in honor of all women.  While it is a day that can be used to relax it is also a day strategically said aside 17 years ago in South Africa to pay marked respect to all women.  This day commemorates 9 August 1956 when women participated in a national march to petition against pass laws (legislation that required African persons to carry a document on them to ‘prove’ that they were allowed to enter a ‘white area’).

The Federation of South African Women (Fedsaw) organised the March, led by four women; Helen Joseph, Rahima Moosa, Sophy Williams and Lilian Ngoyi. The leaders delivered petitions to Prime Minister JG Strijdom’s office within the Union Buildings. Women throughout the country had put their names to these petitions indicating their anger and frustration at having their freedom of movement restricted by the hated official passes.

To conclude the Women’s March the women sang freedom songs such as Nkosi sikeleli Afrika, however, the song that became the anthem of the march was “Wathint’ abafazi, Strijdom!”

wathint’ abafazi,
wathint’ imbokodo,
uza kufa!

[When] you strike the women,
you strike a rock,
you will be crushed [you will die]!

The march was a resounding success and we recognise the bravery of these women who risked arrest, detention and banning by declaring 9 August National Women’s Day.

There will be celebrations all over the country tomorrow and Highway Africa will not only be with all in spirit but in their efforts to keep journalism alive on the continent and ensure the peoples stories and concerns reach global audiences  are told.  The many new media platforms such as www.highwayafrica.com linked to twitter and facebook  alongside the international annual conference, 17-19 September 2011, Cape Town ICC.  The annual Highway Africa conference is the largest gathering of AFrican journalists on the contient that not only seeks to uphold the efforts of journalists on the African continent but seeks to ensure that it is at the heart of all issues ensuring issues of gender and particularly the rights of women in the world are upheld.

Happy Womens Day!

 

Q.    Presently employed as?

A. CEO Zoopy Pty Ltd

Q.    Explain the nature of your business or your role within New Media  and print in your case?

A. Zoopy is a mobile video entertainment platform that delivers bite-sized videos of the latest news, sports and entertainment created especially for mobile, so your phone will love it! Zoopy delivers The World In 90 Seconds to hundreds of thousands of users a month, many of whom don’t have access to computers or televisions for that matter.
oopy is a mobile video tabloid, delivering The World in 90 Seconds across news, sports and entertainment.

Q.    Location of your business or company?  

A. Our head office is in Cape town and we have a regional content office in Johannesburg as well.

Q.    Links to your website/s?

A. Visit our mobi site (or website if you prefer) at http://www.zoopy.com. And look for the links on our site to download our iPhone, Blackberry and Android apps.

Q.    How do you see new media playing itself out in the future, what will be your contribution to the industry looking towards the future now?

A. In a sense, new media is not so new anymore. There will always be something extra, something different, something that provides a new spin on something old. But  multimedia and sharing are now part and parcel of our lives. Just about any site doing business on the web or mobile needs to be thinking of how to provide the tools and opportunities to bring their community together through sharing and collaboration – and photos and videos are an integral part of the process. As far as Zoopy’s contribution goes, we’re bringing quality video entertainment, produced at a professional level, to the mobile medium which has largely presented users with one of two options: (1) really poor quality content; or (2) more recently, TV episodes. What we create is made for mobile from the start. Short, sharp and interesting. As far as my personal contribution, I’ll always be involved in the online and mobile industries, wherever the journey make take us all 🙂

Q.    To new comers how should they structure their time with new media namely blogging, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube etc. For people whose industry does not involve any form of media,  how do they manage their time and not become overwhelmed?

A. This is an interesting question, because many people are starting to suffer from what’s being called ‘social media fatigue. Google Plus has just popped up too, making the social media and networking space a very saturated one, and one that can sap both energy and time. The best advice would be to use the platforms for different things rather than trying to duplicate your efforts. Perhaps use Facebook for close family and friends, Twitter for the world at large (and as a news feed) and YouTube so that you link to your videos within Facebook and Twitter.

Q.    New Media is being used by children as young as five, that said,  it is clear if  you do not keep abreast with trends in new media you inclined to feel isolated from main stream living, what advice do you have for people who have lagged behind and would like to know where to begin?

A. The easiest way of keeping in touch with the latest general trends in this space would be to read daily updates at sites like Mashable.com and TechCrunch.com. But it’s also a good idea to sign up to Twitter and start following people in the industries you’re interested in.

Q. Presently employed as?

A. I am a freelance journalist, work for Reuters TV, German Radio Deutsche Welle, and Pan African news agency APANEWS.NET and others I also teach web journalism and multimedia in journalism school in Togo

 Q. Explain the nature of your business or your role within New Media ?

A. I am a multimedia journalist and I use internet and new media in my job

 Q. Location of your business or company?

A. Reuters TV (Nairobi office), Deutsche Welle (Bonn, Germany) APANEWS (Dakar Senegal)

Q. Links to your website/s?
A.  www.reuters.com, http://www.dw-world.de/french www.apanews.net

Q. How do you see new media playing itself out in the future, what will be your contribution to the industry?

A. New media will have a good future . My contribution will be to train people to use new media. I have started and I organize regular training at the in University of Lome, about the use of new media

Q. To new comers how should they structure their time with new media namely blogging, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube etc. For people whose industry does not involve any form of media, how do they manage their time and not become overwhelmed?

A. They can try to have a good planning per day or week .

Q. New Media is being used by children as young as five, that said, it is clear if you do not keep abreast with trends in new media you inclined to feel isolated from main stream living, what advice do you have for people who have lagged behind and would like to know where to begin?

A. For Children, adult must tell them to pay attention about a risk of bad using of social media. For just discover new media, they can start having account on Facebook, Twitter and it they have time they can open a blog.

Q. Presently employed as?

A. Co-founder and technical ninja at Motribe.

Q. Explain the nature of your business or your role within New Media and print in your case?  

A. Motribe is a platform for hosting mobile communities. The company is less than a year old and already has over 1.5 million users. It powers mobile communities for well-known brands like Guinness in Nigeria and Rexona in Kenya. As the co-founder, Vincent is responsible for building and scaling the Motribe platform and keeping the company ahead of innovation in the mobile space.

Q. Location of your business or company?

A. Motribe is based in Cape Town, South Africa R. Links to your websites: http://motribe.com/ and http://motribe.mobi/

Q. How do you see new media playing itself out in the future, what will be your contribution to the industry looking towards the future now? 

A. ‘New’ media is becoming strongly focused on mobile as the sales of mobile devices overtake PCs and the shift in internet usage from desktop to mobile takes hold. Increasingly social connection between people and people, people and companies and people and their devices has become key in the way we make meaning from our lives. Organising the clutter and creating spaces where we can feel safe and willing to engage is going to be one the most important social tasks over the next decade and this is the area that I spend most of my time working on solutions.

Q. To new comers how should they structure their time with new media namely blogging, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube etc. For people whose industry does not involve any form of media, how do they manage their time and not become overwhelmed?  

A. For most people there will be a few services that remain core to their lifestyles and many that come and go. My advice is to create accounts on all of them so that you get a good personalized URL or username and then assess the service over time. You never know which one is going to take off and you should get in early. If you think you don’t have enough time it’s because you’re not filtering the noise well enough and this comes with practice.

Q. New Media is being used by children as young as five, that said,it is clear if you do not keep abreast with trends in new media you inclined to feel isolated from main stream living, what advice do you have for people who have lagged behind and would like to know where to begin? 

A. Start by getting yourself involved again, there is no excuse for acting like the last 20 years didn’t happen.

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