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A GUIDE FOR FAK’UGESI AFRICAN DIGITAL INNOVATION FESTIVAL 2017

“Iba nesbindi ne-Technology” | “Be Tech Brave”

For the fourth time in succession the Fak’ugesi African Digital Innovation Festival runs from the 6th until the 16th of September in Johannesburg’s Braamfontein. The Fak’ugesi African Digital Innovation has once more conceived to offer an interactive space for creative intercommunions amongst Africans all over the continent. Launched as a “celebration of digital technology, art and culture”, the festival is intended to embolden its audience to reconsider their eyes for digital technology on the one hand, as well as a way to expand their creative and cultural working procedures with(in) digital innovations on the other hand.

Using the “Upgrade To Brave” theme, Fak’ugesi African Digital Innovation 2017 embodies a ten day long festival platform – located in Braamfontein’s recently envisioned tech hub Tshimologong on Juta Street – for inter artistic exchange between creative minds of different directions to (re)create an innovative collaboration of artful creativity and sustainable technology. In the course of this, it proposes numerous events around exhibitions and installations, workshops and talks, performances and parties. Employing favoured events of the previous years, this year’s Fak’ugesi entrenches furthermore new inspiring projects.

The Fak’ugesi Digital African Residency (from the 14th of August until the 16th of September) annually hosts young digital artists all over the African continent as its residents. Supported by its partner Pro Helvetia Johannesburg with the ANT Fund, it invites creative individuals to exhibit their work and participate in further events like workshops and talks in order to both explore and represent the Festival’s theme through professional eyes. This year’s residents are Komborarai Chapfika and Dananayi Muwanijwe both from Zimbabwe and Julia Hanjo from Namibia.

In partnership with British Council ConnectZA, Fak’ugesi Festival inhabits a Digital Africa Exhibition, running from the 8th until the 16th of September. Aimed to emphasizes the relevance of digital arts through over the African Continent, it focuses on New Media and Technology Art made by Africans for Africans.

Likewise as a first, Fak’ugesi 2017 adds the one-day long Fak’ugesi Conference (14th of September – 9am until 5pm) as an inherent part of its program. On the basis of the thematic framework “The Future of Creative Innovation and Technology” the conference – led by diverse professionals of technical and digital innovation spheres – majors on relevant questions of the development of artistic and technological transdisciplinary in Africa, in order to prioritize the importance of collaborative work even across national and vocational borders.

Intended as a thematic access to the Festival’s theme, The Making Weekend, taking place from the 8th to the 10th of September, allures the visitors to practically experience the thrilling diversity of technological innovations through offering a variegated workshop program such as ‘Making A Talking Roboter’ (8th of September – 10am until 12pm) with IBM Research Africa, which – as the name suggests – encounters to create a pronunciation skilled Robot. Including ‘DIY Game Controllers’ (9th of September – 10am until 3pm) with Bear Season teaching to design individual controllers of various materials. Conclusively, The Making Weekend’s aim is to improve already technically accomplished skills as well as to help (yet) non-technical user to delve deeper in technological features.

In addition, Fak’ugesi 2017 includes its annual Market Hack (9th of September – 10am until 4:30pm), as one of its favourites event. The Market Hack – in cooperation with South African Maker Collective and Accenture Liquid Labs – is a daylong annexation of Braamfontein’s popular Neighborgoods Market – connected with various playful activities and games around electronic and digital applications.

As a further project, Fak’ugesi 2017 presents – once again in partnership with British Council’s ConnectZA – ColabNowNow, a collaborative project aimed to combine different digital works to an interdisciplinary level. Proceeding from the 6th until the 16th of September, ColabNowNow engages 10 artist as well as 5 digital storytellers, picked from diverse African states from the East, South and West and the United Kingdom, to flourish inter artistic networking connections.

Fak’ugesi Beats Lab (7th until 16th of September) – as a weeklong boot camp curated by Weheartbeat – builds a space for various artistic minds of technological, musical and filmic spheres to cooperatively work together in order to amalgamate unique developments and creations. As a clou, all upcoming results will be seen at the Fak’ugesi’s final event, Fak’ugesi Beats Bloc Party on the 16th of September, which embodies the crowning glory of those 10 days, supported by both national and international musical highlights such as Masego, Nonku Phiri, Petite Noir and much more.

Moreover, from the 13th to the 16th of September, Fak’ugesi features A MAZE. Since 2012 in cooperation with Goethe Institute Johannesburg connects both international and national developers, entrepreneurs and artist of the gaming and playful media sector. A MAZE functions as a networking platform for gamers all over the world to connect through various projects around the thematic framework of virtual reality, such as digital installations, game designs and much more.

Since 2014 Fak’ugesi African Digital Innovation Festival, founded by Prof Christo Doherty and Tegan Bristow from WITS Digital Arts including Prof Barry Dwolatzky from the Joburg Centre for Software Engineering (JCSE), initially  created a platform to mobilize Braamfontein’s Tshimologong Innovation Precinct. Nowadays this has since evolved to celebrate the relevance of technological innovation and creativity by and for Africa’s youth. Harnessing a foundation that births a platform for future African digital innovative leaders to explore and leave their footprint in the world of technology. According to its name – Fak’ugesi” – a Zulu expression for “put on the electricity” let’s put the future development of Africa’s technological front into Africans hands, let’s turn on the young minds.

For further information about the Festival in detail check out their website.

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