Today we had a workshop with the two leaders of iNeSI (Ikamva National eSkills Institute), the organisation that we are working with. We all presented ourselves and our backgrounds. iNeSI stressed the importance of our mission for the future of South-Africa at a time when the country has to start making the shift to an ‘e-litterate society’, i.e. the people and businesses have to use the power of IT to make people’s lives better and to address the high youth unemployment. According to the World Economic Forum SA ranks last out of 148 countries in the ‘math and scienc’e ranking and although the score is contested everyone agrees that there is a lot of work to do. IneSI challenges us to be bold, to not limit ourselves to what already is, to ‘remove the box and think’.
After lunch we went to the local weekly arts&crafts market so V could get some African masks. She is clearly a master negotiator because she drove the price so much down that the seller had to fetch his boss for approval (although I’m pretty sure they still made a profit).
We went back to the meeting room in the hotel and worked intensively on our project plan for the next weeks. ‘We’ in this case being the four people in team two. There are four subteams, each has a different but related statement of work. Ours centers around the establishment of a new CoLab (collaborative laboratory) in the North-West province. Think of it as a center of excellence around a specific theme. We made good progress although we are still not quite ready for the big session planned for Tuesday.
Tomorrow we travel to Mafeking in the North-West province. It will be our base for the next three weeks. Tomorrow, June 16th, is also a national holiday in SA to commemorate the death of Hector Pieterson and many others who protested apartheid in 1976.