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Today is the final day for Highway Africa Conference registrations!

Date of Conference : 17-19 September 2011

Venue : Cape Town ICC

The 2011 Theme: African Media and Global Sustainability Challenge

The dramatic melting down of the glaciers of the Arctic, the droughts ravaging Africa, the floods in the Americas and ever temperatures rises may have provided drama for television and other media but the issue of global sustainability calls for more drastic and comprehensive response from the media. Read the rest of this entry »

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.

Press Release

Countdown to close of entries: SABC – Telkom – Highway Africa New Media Awards 2011

With only two more weeks left before the close of applications for the SABC-Telkom-Highway Africa New Media Awards 2011, the countdown has begun to the event that celebrates Africa’s new media leaders.

The 11th SABC-Telkom-Highway Africa Conference will for the first time be experienced outside of Grahamstown, at the Cape Town International Conference Centre.

“Highway Africa recognizes and celebrates the role that African journalists continue to play in telling the story of the continent in all its complexity. It is a story of hope and despair, of war and peace, of building and destroying. The women and men who dedicate their lives to bring that story, deserve to be celebrated. At the Highway Africa Conference we do exactly that,” said Chris Kabwato, Highway Africa Director.

Criteria for the SABC-Telkom-Highway Africa New Media Awards 2011

Judges are looking for innovative applications of new media in African journalism and the media. Awards are given in three categories: 1) Individual; 2) Non-profit; and 3) Corporate.

Individual and Non-profit category: Recognition will be given to persons or organisations who find INNOVATIVE ways to overcome the limitations of the existing African infrastructure. Corporate category: Judges will be looking for creative adaptation of global technologies in an African media context. Other broad criterion is the use of new media to benefit press freedom in Africa and encourage social empowerment in African communities.

Prizes

Winners of these awards will receive a coveted trophy, and prizes at the prestigious gala event sponsored by Telkom, on Sunday 18 September, in Cape Town, during the 15th Highway Africa Conference.

Enter or submit a nomination by downloading an application form, from http://www.highwayafrica.com. Email completed form to awards@highwayafrica.com.

Applications close Friday 5 August 2011, 16.30 South Africa time

Enquiries: For more information please contact Bronwyn Jacobs (b.jacobs@ru.ac.za ); +2746 603 7186.

 Q. Presently employed as?
A. As a journalist David Kezio-Musoke is currently a Reuters’ correspondent based in Kigali, Rwanda. He also writes for Africa Review an e-magazine project owned by Nation Media Group, covering stories from all over Africa.  Kezio-Musoke is also a Public Relations Consultant with Tigo Rwanda a brand of Millicom International Cellular. Millicom is a global telecommunications group with mobile telephony operations in 13 countries in Latin America and Africa. Kezio-Musoke is also an active blogger and a visual artist specializing with oils on canvas.

Q. Explain the nature of your business or your role within New Media?
A. I am a practicing journalist. Reuters is a news wire where journalists use on-line tools in order to develop and file stories and interact with editors and colleagues all over the world.

Q. Location of your business or company?
A. As a journalist I cover mostly the East African region which some of my editors love to refer to it as Great Lakes region. I am Ugandan but based in Kigali Rwanda while reporting to Reuters Nairobi Kenya.

 Q. Links to your website/s?
http://af.reuters.com
http://www.africareview.com
Blogs:
kezio-musoke.blogspot.com/
keziomusoke-at-artsfestival.blogspot.com/
To read about my art work:
http://cgiampietri.wordpress.com/2009/07/17/david-kezio-musoke-the-soul-of-an-artist/

Q. How do you see new media playing itself out in the future, what will be your contribution to the industry?
A. It’s funny but personally I am a bit sceptical about the relevance of New Media more especially in Africa where bandwidth is an issue. Downloading a website with voice, flim and images is quite a challenge, if one’s download speeds are low. But I think the way we define ‘New Media’ … in the near future might change. Technology is changing and we are opting for smart phones and gadgets to bridge the bandwidth challenges. Every other day something new comes up. Tablets, smart phones, smart TV etc. These optimize their software to suit the markets they are serving. All of a sudden we have an App world which I would not necessarily refer to a New Media. So apart from producing content how will upload it will depend on the way developers will unveil themselves in the future. There is no doubt the future is certainly going to be an interesting one.

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. Actually at resent one can only worry about being conversant with on-line tools and a few basics skills. The rest falls in place with time. Language is no longer a problem because companies like Google and Facebook are trying to reach everyone in a language they are comfortable with. Smartphone software builders have developed tools (Apps) which can allow users to reach the Internet (Facebook, Google search, Google Talk, Twitter, Picassa etc), without the hassle of opening pages on-line on desktops. Probably one should begin with buying a smart phone.