Big news for Joburg in this morning. Wits University has confirmed that it’s going to host the inaugural digital technology festival ‘Fak’ugesi: Digital Africa 2014’ in August and September this year, and frankly we’re getting our ticket requests in now.

While this is the first Fak’ugesi festival as such, what’s really happening is that it’s being used as an umbrella for a series of smaller events which happen annually. And that is entirely a good thing (the full list of events is below, but if you go to one part of the festival take our advice and make it A MAZE/Interact).

Because of this, the organisers say that Fak’ugesi will be broad, big and work to build Joburg’s reputation in the emerging network of high tech African cities where it is often overshadowed by places with more focus but less actual output (+cough Cape Town cough+). It’s a festival for celebrating the fusion of technology, art and critical thinking within the digital technology domain, and if you haven’t guessed by now it’s also being driven by the folk behind the soon-to-open tech centre, the Tshimologong Precinct in Braamfontein.

If you haven’t heard of Tshimologong, go and read this. Now. We said it could be “the coolest place for tech in Africa” about this time last year, and stand by that statement today.

“If Africa is to achieve its expected economic prominence, Africans will need to become major innovators and developers of digital technology.  It lies at the heart of the ways in which we manage our lives and run our companies, cities and countries,” said Prof Barry Dwolatzky, Director of Joburg Centre for Software Engineering (JCSE) at Wits University, power behind Tshimologong and co-founder of the festival in a media release.

The chosen name for the festival is rather apt – Fak’ugesi means “switch on the electricity” or “shine more light” in Zulu. “As a name for the festival, the phrase emphasises the energy and excitement of the forces of Africa and digital technology, which the festival will draw upon and magnify,” says Dwolatzky.

According to a media statement, a number of arenas for the event has already been confirmed:

Agile Africa 2014: A major conference on software development methods, following up on the very successful inaugural event held in Braamfontein in August 2013.

A MAZE/Johannesburg 2014: An Indie-Games and Digital Arts Festival, attracting games developers and digital artists from Europe and Africa.  The Festival has been run annually since 2012 in Braamfontein in partnership with the organisers of Berlin’s A MAZE Festival.

CASCADE: CASCADE is a collaborative multi-disciplinary project that champions digital content development through a series of workshops and activities. The event is led by “Onedotzero” – an experiential arts organisation with over 16 years’ experience in curating and producing cultural events and content for brands and agencies. CASCADE will be supported by the British Council.

Process Improvement Africa: This is a one-day conference focusing on the role that process and process improvement plays in helping ICT organisations deliver high quality products and services in a predictable and repeatable manner. The conference will showcase models and methods such as CMMI, ITIL, TSP and AGILE.

Maker Event: 3D Printing, laser cutters and other rapid prototyping tools are revolutionizing hardware innovation. “Maker Spaces” give innovators the freedom to explore solutions in the hardware world as easily as software developers do in the world of bits and bytes. The Maker Event will provide an opportunity for Makers to collaborate, learn and teach.

Unyazi Festival of Electronic Music: The only African festival dedicated to the latest developments in electronic and electro-acoustic music.  Launched at Wits in 2005, the 2014 Festival, in partnership with NewMusicSA, will feature innovative and exploratory music from African and the rest of the world.

Social Media Week is a bi-annual event that takes place in over 14 cities around the world, celebrating the best in innovation, creativity and technology. The goal of each event is to provide the best information, ideas and inspiration to help people understand how to achieve more in a hyper-connected world. Social Media Week started in New York in 2009 and has since grown to become a leading media platform and worldwide event with local presence and global reach across all five continents. This September, DigiSense will produce the first-ever Social Media Week Johannesburg.  During the week, participants will be treated to a line-up of panels, Q&A’s keynote addresses, master classes and more—each focusing on a different facet of the growing influence and endless possibilities made available through digital technology and social media.

[Image – Kutlwano Moagi @ A MAZE blog]
Charlie started his professional life as a motoring journalist for a community newspaper in Mpumalanga, Charlie explored different journalistic angles since his entry into the fast-paced world of publishing in 2006. While fostering a passion for the arts, Charlie developed a love for technology – both which allowed him to serve as Entertainment and Technology Editor for an online publication. Charlie has since been heavily involved in consumer technology for various websites and publications. He thoroughly enjoys World War II films and cerebral documentaries; aviation; photography and indie music. Oh yes, and he also has a rather strange obsession with collecting coffee mugs from his travels.