The Siyakhula Living Lab will today celebrate the work achieved to date in providing ICTD solutions to the rural community of Dwesa, in the Eastern Cape.
Launched in 2006, the lab is an ICT for Development (ICTD) initiative between academia (University of Fort Hare and Rhodes University), private IT industry companies, government (the Departments of Trade and Industry, and Science and Technology) and rural communities. It provides Internet connectivity, IT skills training, software solutions, computing hardware and ICTD research.
The "Expansion Celebration" aims to demonstrate how the "ICT seed that was planted in the Dwesa community a few years ago has now grown into a 'broadband island' that connects 17 communities in the Mbashe Municipality to each other and to the rest of the world through the Internet, thanks to the work of industry, government, communities and academia", according to a statement.
The event will be held at the Ngwane Junior Secondary School from 10:30am. Speakers include Mbashe Municipality mayor Nonceba Olga Mfecane, deputy minister of communications Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams, as well as representatives from the University of Fort Hare, Rhodes University and Saab Grintek Technologies, among others.
According to the Siyakhula Living Lab Web site, the event will be an opportunity for relevant government and industry bodies to visit an ICT telecommunications deployment, based on fixed and mobile WiMAX, VSAT, open source software and thin clients, in a marginalised community; for individuals to gain hands-on understanding of what the concept of 'deep rural' means; and to showcase the field site from which the Telkom Centres of Excellence in ICT4D and Distributed Multimedia derives their research projects.
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