Check out Mike Stopforth


_ Mike Stopforth » About

I am a consultant, writer and speaker. I help companies translate real value from Web 2.0 trends and technologies for better business. I’m privileged to have the opportunity to write a weekly op-ed column for the Citizen newspaper and am a technology commentator for popular business and marketing websites including Moneyweb and Biz-Community. I lecture at the Vega School of Branding in Johannesburg and feature as a guest lecturer on executive programs at the Graduate School of Business in Cape Town.

Check it out… ;-)

Global Voices Online » Blog Archive » Zimbabwe: Smuggled DVD brings union protest beatings to light


_ Global Voices Online » Blog Archive » Zimbabwe: Smuggled DVD brings union protest beatings to light

This video reached me late last night via Ethan Zuckerman. At nearly ten minutes, it’s longer than the other videos we’ve put up, but I strongly recommend you watch this.

It includes footage of the Zimbabwean police and security intelligence services breaking up a peaceful demonstration by members of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trades Unions (ZCTU) on September 13th. The police repeatedly beat the demonstrators, who are calling for the provision of antiretroviral (ARV) drugs for the treatment of HIV, a minimum wage, and stabilisation in the prices of certain basic commodities. The bulk of the video involves interviews with the ZCTU members describing the events of the day, and the actions of the police. Ethan and Rachel Rawlins have kindly provided a transcript.

Shocking is all I can say….

Tech 4 Africa – Gaining momentum


Technology for Africa '07

And so it begins…. We’ve started getting some really good feedback for the Tech 4 Africa conference (last check we were up to about 30 replies after a day or so of being up and emailing to an initial beta group for testing) which has totally surpassed our expectations. When the automated notification emails started coming in, you shoulda heard the shouts of joy! ;-)

Almost surprisingly, the feedback has been along the lines we were expecting:
people would be willing to go to JHB,
wanna know about stuff around web2.0 primarily,
want to hear international speakers, and
think the conference would benefit the African web community.

On top of that, we’re getting some good coverage on the blogosphere so far:
Update as of 27/11/2006:
David Duarte
Cowboysengines (business site:
Hash @
Update as of 28/11/2006:

Anyone else we don’t know about yet? (If you’re going to blog about it, then please use the following Technorati tags: tech4africa07,T4A7 or T4A)

Which is all good. ;-)

Some people have asked why we’re not just launching with dates and relying on “if you build it they will come” to make it a success – in short, 2 reasons:
1. We are speaking to some really, really high profile international speakers, who naturally want to allocate time to a conference on the other side of the world if they feel there are going to be enough people to make it worthwhile. We’ve invested the time up front to collect some real data, that goes beyond a thumbsuck, to show we’re serious.
2. We believe that business rules should apply – we need to at least break even, and we need to justify further time put into the project, so it makes sense that without real data we can’t make any assumptions beyond that we reckon 10 – 20% of people we email should respond to the initial email asking for feedback.

So, if you’re reading this and haven’t filled in the feedback form on the site then please do, just to prove us wrong ;-) The more data and feedback we have, the more likely we are to actually hold the event and make it something truly special!

I’ve also been asked what I’d personally like to see at the conference, so for posterity, here goes:
1. Web app dev in Africa – what it takes, how to do it, what markets are ripe
2. How the web can help Africa lift itself up – technologies that come into play, mindsets that need to change, strategies that work
3. What Africans need to do to compete internationally – once we’ve gotten over the bandwidth issue, what needs to happen for Africans to create more Thawte’s and PayPals.
4. What web 2.0 really means for business – technologies, trends, people -> how can it be leveraged?
All underscored by a good vibe, good music, good networking, and some good ‘ol fashioned fun of course ;-)

If you want to stay tuned to what’s happening, then watch this blog, and/or our business’ blog category wev’e setup for the conference (yes, I know the theme is still default K2 – something about the cobblers shoes I think…;-( – so it will change soon enough, as well as being an addition to our shiny new site which is being designed as we speak).

Also, we’ve been asked what to do if folks are interested in helping out:
1. Email us to say so whether you think you can help with something small or big – the more help we get the better – and we’d really appreciate it. Up front, we don’t have cash to pay people now, but as and when that happens then we’re all about getting the right help, so that may be an option. Right now, telling 10 of your mates would be the best help in the world!.. and…
2. Blog it – please blog it and help to moibilise the troops ;-)
3. If you have a speaker you would really like to hear, then please do email us to say so – being able to tell speakers they’ve been asked for by people is good motivation for them!

Cool – more soon – time to go to bed ;-)