Are South African Geeks ready to change the World?

Are South African Geeks ready to change the World?


Last weekend I had the privilege to spend a few hours with some of the great “Geek” minds in South Africa at the GeekRetreat. As a “wanna be” Social Entrepreneur who always looks for opportunities to make a difference in the lives of others, the GeekRetreat seemed to be the perfect way to kick-start and to expand on some Social Good projects that needed the Geek support. Observing and listening to a number of talks and conversations there as one question that kept running through my mind: “Are South African Geeks ready to change the World?”. Prior to the Geek Retreat my personal opinion and answer to that question would have been “NO”. However, the more I started engaging with “great minds” at the GeekRetreat the following started to emerge:

– The conversations were sincere and discussions such as “open access to education for everyone“, “supporting our teachers with science and technology resources“, “improving literacy amongst our youth“, “banking the unbanked and poor“, “supporting small start-ups with mentorship and possible funds” and many others started to surface. Again my take is always talk is cheap, but exploring it in more depth I realised that many of the people were actively involved with these great initiatives either lobbying or managing such projects.

– Whenever people put others before themselves and willing to invest in other people then surely its people that I would like to be associated with. Clearly not everyone at the GeekRetreat had the same motives but it was an opportunity for all of us to be exposed to various initiatives and ideas. On a personal note I’ve already had FOUR confirmed contributions to the projects that I am involved in and its all about making a difference in the lives of others. Jarred and Saul will be taking the time out to do a podcast on the Reconstructed project and the impact that it will have on the community I work with is priceless. Remember many of the people who’s part of this project are people who were discarded and even their parents had no interest in their lives and here the Digital Edge team are offering their time and resources to create awareness of what has happened in the lives of this community. Another contribution is Dave Duarte unselfishly committing himself to do a talk at one of our sessions and we had 2 other wonderful possibilities that will support the sustainability of the Reconstructed project.

– Incubation of ideas is another key aspect and during my “talking heads” session ideas sparked the birth of the “Community Start-up” – Social Media Factory that in a few days already have more than 20 community members signed up and possible collaborations also confirmed. A potential sponsorship of another Community Start-up was also support so lots to look forward to by changing the lives of others.

So after spending a weekend with South African Geeks do I think they are ready to change the world? YES absolutely, a difference in one life can go a long way and this weekend SOUTH AFRICAN GEEKS made a huge difference in my life. Therefore overall, I am happy that I attended my first GeekRetreat the only downfall perhaps was that it didn’t take place over a long weekend.


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