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Internet Fiesta to give thousands first access to Internet

By   |  March 17, 2005

The Internet Society – South Africa chapter (ISOC-ZA) – will this weekend host a two day-long Internet Fiesta in Cape Town. The goal of the Internet Fiesta is to ensure that at least 1000 old and young people who have never used the Internet before, get to have a good first experience. The party will be held in Belhar, Western Cape and starts at 11am on Saturday 19 March, and runs through the night until 3pm on Sunday 20 March.

Internet Fiestas have been proven across the globe as a fun-filled and successful Internet outreach model, introducing the Internet to communities that have little or no online experiences. The Internet Society partnered with the disadvantaged community of Belhar in Cape Town. The community which has a high rate of unemployment, volounteered to assist with local arrangements.

Fifty computer stations using Linux will be sponsored by the Shuttleworth Foundation, and Uninet are sponsoring the (2mb/s broadband) high speed Internet connection.

The project team has induced the local council to renovate the community hall in time for the Fiesta. As a knock on effect that decision stimulated the Universal Services Agency decision to sponsor the community centre development as a telecentre after the Fiesta.

A wide range of catering featuring local foods and local music and entertainment has been arranged. Together with the electrical installations, basic marketing costs, catering and security has been organised with the support of the Provincial Government of the Western Cape. There is also an intention to ensure the Fiesta should be held in many – or all – the disadvantaged rural areas around the Province. The department for Government Communications and Information Systems (GCIS) has volounteered to assist with marketing the event.

ISOC-ZA members together with members of the Schools Linux User Group (SLUG) have volunteered to be on hand to help people at workstations and give talks and demonstrations about how the Internet may be used.

The invitation is open to all, there is no entrance fee, people of all ages are welcome, and no experience of computers is required. This is an inclusive event, with a strong community focus. We hope that this will spread awareness of the Internet and the opportunities it can bring in a relaxed atmosphere. We intend to demystify technology and make it more accessible to those unfamiliar with computers. The overall goal of ISOC-ZA is to develop our Internet society and engender enthusiasm for Internet technologies. By working closely with the community, we expect to demonstrate its potential for social and economic upliftment.


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