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Local game developers – is SA ready?



I attended the Rage expo a couple weeks back at the beginning of October and hidden away, under the spectacular launches of the latest, multi-million dollar console games, was a small but well attended stand of home-coded games.

It was a nice angle to think about and given that there is no lack of talent in this country I took the time to ask just where our local developers are and whether they still have day jobs.

The answer unsurprisingly was yes. Have a look at the piece I wrote for eNCA here.

After the blaze


Unfortunately some people, including a two year old child, died a couple nights ago just down my street. Police suspect a lover’s quarrel during which the man threw a petrol bomb into the room where his girlfriend was staying.

The girlfriend wasn’t there but the fire, which spread very quickly, exploding a generator which only added to the inferno, ended up consuming most of its floor and those above it.

Most people escaped, others weren’t so lucky.

Read the story here.

I arrived a couple hours afterwards, some pics below.





Obama pulls through…says howzit

Obama takes his first steps onto SA soil as US President on Friday 28 June, 2013.

Obama takes his first steps onto SA soil as US President on Friday 28 June, 2013.

The media who attended Barack Obama’s first landing in South Africa as US President had some time to ponder what this really meant. Probably not much was my conclusion. I don’t take on board policy and politicking and certainly don’t feel the need to analyse the movements of politicians.

Admittedly though, I do have a soft spot for Obama. I just like his character and I was keen to see him again since I had first been to a small talk of his when he visited Cape Town in 2006, while a senator.

So after some hours of security checks and lock down at the Waterkloof military airport, we were escorted out to the tarmac to await his arrival and landing of the decidedly huge jet, Airforce One. Shortly after 20:00 we saw the approaching lights – which turned out not to be his jet but a kind of decoy. Obama’s jet landed minutes later.

The only over-riding feeling I had given the extensive security measures, the awaiting entourage of tank-like cars and armed helicopters is, ‘what power’.

Given that – not many people can be said to trump the US president coming to your shores, but Nelson Mandela did. Media coverage of this event was a fraction of what it would have been if our former president has not lying in hospital critically ill. What power.

It’s all fleeting of course. One is expected to pass on shortly, the other has only a couple more years in office. None of it really worth all the hub-hub. But it is still something to experience.

There were some nice clippings of his visit that we gathered on a coverage page over at Some nice wraps and also his ‘howzit’ moment.

Municipal data needs a good hack

Paul Berkowitz at JoziHub talking about crunching municipal data.

Paul Berkowitz at JoziHub talking about crunching municipal data.

In this piece written for which you can read here – private companies and individuals are getting their hands on municipal data in an effort to improve basic service delivery and free up consumer data.

I think it’s a good effort. With the tools available to us today the opportunities for creating some awesome apps and tucking into some presentation and visualisation of this mountain of data is exciting. Make journalism beautiful. Making real beautiful. Something we should all be striving for.

The group on 15 June sought to tackle one of the most pressing issues of our times – service delivery in a rapidly expanding metropolis with a multitude of social problems and an inadequate record keeping process. Enter Johannesburg and its numbers.

Service delivery – water, electricity, sanitation, rubbish removal – is the point here. Paul Berkowitz from Citydex and one of the organisers of the event says, “We want to drive delivery, we want greater public engagement. We do this through data sharing”. Of course, one of the sticking points to taking this step in service delivery is whether this data is actually available and accessible to the public. Berkowitz is a bit of an activist for holding municipalities accountable for their data. All this information should be available and ideally having as Berkowitz lovingly says, “One database to bind them.”

By the close of the day there was no finished product on the table but organisers said they are setting down some clear goals and timelines moving forward.

Anyway – watch this space for some cool journo developments. SA is a little behind, let’s all admit that, but the economies of having these kind of people on staff is starting to make sense.

Preying on the sun

Loving sun... by S:P:S
Loving sun…, a photo by S:P:S on Flickr.

The Minister of Energy tells me that solar will occupy an increasingly important role in the production of South African energy.

Cool. I hope so.

I understand that solar power is more expensive than our current coal powered electricity and most likely will remain that way for some time, but that doesn’t mean we can’t stop dreaming.

I am no environmentalist but there can’t be too much wrong with the sort of technologies that can tap into what is abundantly all around us in a natural, somewhat perpetual form and then turn that into power for our lovely electronic gadgets.

It is often repeated that you can’t charge the sun, raising valid questions of how an industry will be developed. The world economy after all is built on oil. But I have been on this planet long enough to know that where there isn’t, there shall be found.

New economies will arise with the adoption of new technologies.

Energy…love it.

I attended the opening of RustMo1, the first renewable energy project for the North West province at the end of May. It is supposed to commence commercial operation at the end of this year.

Read the piece on the eNCA site here.

Harnessing sun... by S:P:S
Harnessing sun…, a photo by S:P:S on Flickr.

Loving Nirox

Vortex I by S:P:S
Vortex I, a photo by S:P:S on Flickr.

Went through to Nirox a couple days back and wandered in those lovely gardens with odd sculptures and other pieces of art littering its greens. Was quite lovely.

Wrote a little something on it with some extra images on the site – you can check it out here.

I would probably be violating some agreement in my employment contract or other such such if I didn’t link through and placed all the content here. But I am all about the link love. So there you go.

Poetry Sweeper

Street Sweeper Eunice by S:P:S
Street Sweeper Eunice, a photo by S:P:S on Flickr.

Street sweepers are hardly the most recognisable people in the workforce of the municipality. In the Joburg inner city they start arriving later in the afternoon and finish work when many of us have gone to sleep or at least finished dinner. The city is certainly empty; offices are closed, streets dark and not even residents mill about too much. But some are thinking about their next piece of writing while working hard to put food on the table.

Meet Eunice Ramasunga. She stopped me one day after I had parked on Joubert street. She thought I was from the SABC. She wants to get on television. She wants to be a poet, recognised throughout the land. I had to stop her from going into full performance right there on the bustling streets just before 9 that evening.

I took a liking to her.

And she is a published writer already. Two books of her short stories written in Venda are used in the high school curriculum after her cousin typed them out for her on his office computer and she has a spattering of other works in the public space. She came to Joburg in 2006 and has been working for Pikitup ever since while keeping her dream of being a nationally recognised poet alive.

She says there is much she wants to write about and has a number of poems already that she wants to have published. She writes mainly about social stuff, about people – how they live and even infidelity.

I told her I would put her out there. So here is a start.

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