New heights envisaged for .africa

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Registry Africa CEO Lucky Masilela, mountaineer Deshun Deysel and .africa ambassador Unathi.
Registry Africa CEO Lucky Masilela, mountaineer Deshun Deysel and .africa ambassador Unathi.

A roadshow through the African continent will create awareness of the .africa geographic Top Level Domain (gTLD) domain's existence.

Speaking in Midrand this morning, Registry Africa CEO Lucky Masilela said the roadshow will make its way through the African Union (AU) states and create awareness around .africa.

"The roadshow is more than just a marketing exercise. It signifies an end to unwarranted delay in the delegation of the domain, as well as the denial of African people the right to their own digital identifier.

"Our journey will begin on 4 January, when we will go to Francistown (Botswana), Bulawayo (Zimbabwe), Lusaka (Zambia) and then begin the climb in the Marangu Route.

"We will be meeting various Internet communities in these countries for active dialogue and trying to find workable solutions. The highlight of the journey will be the Mount Kilimanjaro summit attempt by a team which will be carrying the .africa flag."

Masilela explains that the introduction of .africa does not mean the exclusion of other domains, such as, .ke, .com or .bw, but rather it gives Africans, as a whole, a digital identifier.

In 2012, the ZA Central Registry obtained the official endorsement of the African Union Commission, along with the majority of the individual member states of the AU, to lodge an application for the right to administer and manage the .africa TLD.

Two years later, in 2014, the Internet Corporation for Names and Numbers granted the contract, appointing ZACR, trading as Registry Africa, as the official operator for .africa TLD for a 10-year period.

The .africa gTLD became available to the general public to apply for domain names on 4 July this year and to date, more than 10 000 local and international brands have registered .africa domain names.

Masilela says the culmination of the journey will see the team hand over the flag at the AU headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in January 2018. "The 30th Head of State Summit is scheduled to take place there and we are hoping to be on time to hand over the flag to them."

Public participation

ZACR is inviting amateur and professional climbers to apply for possible inclusion in a pan-African team that will attempt to summit Mount Kilimanjaro on behalf of the .africa gTLD #followtheflagAfrica initiative.

The team will be led by experienced mountaineer Deshun Deysel, as well as business woman and Idols judge, Unathi - who is now the official ambassador of .africa and prefers to be known only by her first name at present.

Deysel was part of the first South African expedition to Mount Everest in 1996 that planted SA's democratic flag on the mountain peak.

"We are hoping to compile a team of between 12 and 20 people who are physically fit for the actual summit but as for the #followtheflagAfrica journey through the AU countries, we are able to take as many people as possible from surrounding countries," she said.

Climbers interested in being part of the summit experience must visit to apply. Entry is open to all Africans from the various countries.

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