Your action to empower Young Mobile reporters!

Posted November 28th, 2008 in Technology & Innovation by Frerieke

Afrigadget - young mobile reporters!

By Frerieke van Bree

In my previous post I wrote:

“I am so happy that I was able to step over my own foolish insecurity and explore and exchange at the above mentioned conferences. Great things come out as a result! Me being the connector enables underprivileged students from Khayelitsha to become mobile reporters on Afrigadget !!!

I am now inviting you to have a look at Erik’s latest post on Afrigadget, find the ‘chipin’ (visual, online fundraising tool) and take your action in making “this” happen! (“this” is the start of a great grass root reporting project all over the developing world!)

Do you want to know more about those amazing South African ladies (Zintle Sithole and Lukhona Lufuta) who will be contributing at the Afrigadget blog?

Find them in one of our old videos: (Zintle is the first lady to speak, followed by Lukho)

(this video goes together with this post:

HOW TO: technology and implementation

Posted November 23rd, 2008 in development, Personal Fre, South Africa, Technology & Innovation by Frérieke
How to: technology-and-implementation
Techie is a term, derivative of the word technology, for a person who displays a great, sometimes even obsessive, interest in technology, high-tech devices, and particularly computers. (source: Wikipedia)
The word geek is a slang term, noting individuals as “a peculiar or otherwise odd person, especially one who is perceived to be overly obsessed with one or more things. (source:Wikipedia)

by Frerieke van Bree

I don’t consider myself a real ‘techie’, but I do have a strong passion for technology.
And although the word ‘geek’ is often used in obsessive computer/technology/connectivity situations, looking at the explanation on Wikipedia makes me think: Yes I am a geek. A big one. I am obsessed with combining my passions (humanity, technology, design, leadership). I am a people loving-passion following-intercultural connecting-voices facilitating and human empowering GEEK.

Last year I attended the Web of Change conference in Canada. Being among some of the brightest web focused changemakers from The States and Canada was extraordinary. People like Peter Deitz, Marc Laporte, Michael Silberman and many others inspired me to hold on to the thought that technology can make a difference in the lives of many underprivileged people. Attending the (mostly white) Wordcamp South Africa (a gathering of fans of the open source blogging software WordPress ) opened my eyes to how big the gap between technology implementation in the privileged (mostly white) and implementation and usage in the underprivileged (mostly black/colored) communities is.
Recently I visited MobileActive08 in Johannesburg. A (to me) very inspiring, but also overwhelming mix of geeks, techies (including Google, Microsoft,..), funders and implementers, who all  make a difference in the world through mobile technology. I was blown away by what is already being done with the mobile phone in the developing world. A few personal highlights: meeting Erik Hersman and getting to know the crisis report enabling Ushahidi and listening to Guy Berger and his Journalism project The News is Coming in Grahamstown, South Africa.

Being at those conferences made me feel like being back at University. Our faculty of Architecture was considered to be the ‘soft’ faculty of the Technical University of Delft in The Netherlands, other faculties used to make jokes about the ‘cut and glue’ course we were attending. The 80% male-20% female rate in Delft, being the only girl on our Windsurf association board, living with 4 bright men in a house…it all made me feel like a black sheep in a world of Men and Technology. And after university it was: being a woman in the building industry, being a woman in a (unfortunately still!) predominantly white-male dominated South African society and now I ‘torture’ myself with….visiting technology conferences…

My insecurity at conferences tells me: What am I doing here? Where’s my IPhone/blackberry/apple computer? How do I talk tech? How on earth do I catch up with all knowledge in this audience? It is like being back at University…..I don’t belong here.

Fortunately, my secure and balanced me says: does it matter? My vision is clear, my passion is big.
Go and explore girl, make those connections, learn as much as possible.

Major Non-profit organizations have their own Technology consultant on board and come up with the most creative and innovative uses of technology on the ground. Great. But….
I wonder: How to get the message of what is possible with technology out to the many “heroes in underprivileged communities”??? How to hear the needs and ideas of young brights minds in the developing world??? How to empower Africans by African ingenuity??? How to have Africans say NO to the brain drain? How to have Africa really be in the hands of Africans!!

I enjoyed reading Ethan Zuckermans words on bridge figures {…we need bridge figures, people who can help build connections between cultures. We need xenophiles, people who are interested in the whole world and in building conversations that break out of the homophily trap.}

If people ask me what my secret skill in life is I say I am a connector and facilitator. I facilitate a space where the one can meet the other, where people from The developed West meet the poor South, young meet old, You meet Them, They meet YOU and YOU get to know YOURSELF. I facilitate a space of no judgement, listening and curiosity. A space of fun! and smiles 🙂

Back to the title of this blog post: {How To: technology and implementation}

How to improve the implementation of Technology in order to eradicate poverty/empower the underprivileged/bridge the implementation gap?
My two cents…

  • Improve the language of technology: right now it is too techie and not easy accessible for all. It can not be read/reached by the communities on the ground that know best what is needed in their village.
  • Include (underprivileged) youngsters!! The bright minds of the future should be included in the conversation of today! Let them be inspired and generate ideas!
  • Support bridge figures! Give them a feeling of -belonging- in the world of Men and Tech! Create (more) scholarships for fancy conferences!!

I am so happy that I was able to step over my own foolish insecurity and explore and exchange at the above mentioned conferences. Great things come out as a result! Me being the connector enables underprivileged students from Khayelitsha to become mobile reporters on Afrigadget !!!

I promise I will never doubt the impact I am making in the world and the fact that I matter…
I have experienced a shift from ‘not belonging’ to a ‘knowing who I am and what my passion and purpose in life is’
Being a bridge is the best! Thanks COSAT learners! And thanks you Tech-savvy global inhabitants!

1 1 1 1

Posted November 11th, 2008 in Personal Fre by Frérieke
1 1 1 1

i have to write a blogpost today, 11/11
there is something going on with numbers over here!

today 11/11 I coincidentally looked at my mobile-phone-time at exactly 11hr11

last week I sketched some new ideas for my website in my sketchbook..
fre(e)minded connected with 1111
why? because that’s me!

Born 11/1/81

Where did we go wrong

Posted November 2nd, 2008 in Leadership Academy by Frérieke


By Malizole Sandlana

What matters to me the most is see my mother having the best life she could get while she is still alive. We grew up in rural area and life was hard but my mother worked hard 2 see that we heard clothes on back and having a good education.

My father worked here in Cape Town while we were staying in Eastern Cape. In all of that the money that my father was giving as was not enough because we were 8 living together.

The reason why my mother is “WHAT MATTERS TO ME THE MOST” is the fact that she is a fighter and its very rare to see a woman being a fighter and that is something I admire about her.


I lv my mama.

Where did we go wrong?
Down the road of Africa

Africa my beginning, my ending.
I will die here ‘cos I was born here
Friends and enemies you have
I also have ‘cos I’m an African
If you are an enemy of Africa,
You are my enemy as well.
If I get rich, I will get rich in Africa and
If I get poor, I will get poor in Africa.
Behold because Africa is here to stay

Down the road is the way we should go
For Africans to remain truly Africans
your colour alone shows how much power, strength and perseverance you have in you Africa
Poor or rich, I proudly remain an African

Yours is to love not to hate
Yours is to lead not to be led
Yours is to build not to destroy
Please Africa forgive but not forget
In order for you to obtain your ultimate purpose and goals.

Nourish your youth today to secure a better tomorrow Africa.
Listen in order to be an adviser to other continents.
Listen to your children in Zimbabwe, Algeria, Nigeria and Somalia, when they all cry for your love, understanding and help.
Your natural resources are enjoyed by the foreign world while your children are starving and dying because of hunger.

It’s about time we asked “Where did we go wrong?”
Let’s strive to go down the road as Africans.