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WildCoast.Com's blog

Countries that have committed to OLPC so far:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OLPC#Participating_countries

Argentina, Brazil, Cambodia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Egypt, Greece, Libya, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Rwanda, Tunisia, United States of America (specifically the states of Massachusetts and Maine), Uruguay

Paul Kagame, Rwanda's president, said the initiative would strengthen the quality of already existing free and compulsory primary education, by adopting new tools for learning and engaging children more directly, both inside and outside of school.

Higher mental functions are, by definition, culturally mediated. They involve not a direct action on the world but an indirect one, one that takes a bit of material matter used previously and incorporates it as an aspect of action. Insofar as that matter itself has been shaped by prior human practice (eg it is an artefact), current action incorporates the mental work that produced the particular form of that matter. (Cole and Wertsch, 1996, p252)

"It's interesting to observe the construction process of the wide community of intellectual publishers: liberal quoting of each other's ideas, combining, arguing, extending and recombining them in order to construct our social and cultural understanding of thought, understanding and ultimately human nature."

I started teaching computers to Grades 7 - 9 at the school here this week - and it's very interesting. My plan was to focus heavily on Tux-Typing initially, but we ran into a bottleneck on the server's network card (100mb) so I had to improvise, and get people doing different things. It was difficult because the several teachers on-hand to oversee and assist were quite obstructive and intent on following a 1 teacher to many pupils type methodology.

Eventually we had a little meeting and I explained that the objective was to allow the children to learn to use the mouse and keyboard naturally - by exploring different games and drawing activities - and to my surprise I got 100% agreement and cooperation... although I suspect I have a problem with at least one teacher...

There was a meeting about the Coffee Bay / Hole in the Wall Spatial Development Framework yesterday in Coffee Bay. It's scary stuff. Please people, be ready to contribute thought and energy into how development should (and shouldn't) happen.

"The Wild Coast SDF (Spatial Development Framework):
* Coffee Bay is currently a 'first order node' it is seen to be a future town
* Hole in the Wall is identified as a second order node
* Maphuzi is proposed as a 'nature tourism area'

Bob Marley

XR live in Amsterdam.

This is a must read:

by Peet du Plooy

Mail & Guardian Online

24 November 2006 01:59

South Africa is energy inefficient because we don’t value our carbon resource sufficiently.

There are a number of perspectives that, together, make up the picture. One perspective deals with process efficiency -- a technological issue -- another with the structure of the economy -- how much of our economy is fundamentally energy-hungry.

Either way, improving energy efficiency will largely rely on energy becoming more expensive. It will allow us to improve our supply-side and demand-side technology, but also encourage us to shift our economy away from energy-intensive industries.

That should be LLLDC, perhaps: Land Locked Least Developed Countries

(I know I know . . . . 1 word)

UN Profile: Ethiopia

I'm struck by the fear that South Africa is following the same path from fierce tribalism to ruthless dogmatism. That shit don't work.

I've been meaning to post this link for ages:

The top story is Russell Southwood's interview with Antoine.

Balancing Act back issue 359

I seem to have stopped getting Balancing Act's weekly newsletter. I'm not sure if it's because I've been playing fast and loose with their articles^W intellectual property on my blog - or what - but it's a pity because it's about the only news I'm interested in. I didn't ask for permission - but that's because nobody reads my blog and it's just for my own interest, really.

Interesting day. Meeting Paul and Sarah Colvin by chance at the river - with their cyclers - as they were on their way through from Kei Mouth to Port St Johns. Everyone seemed to be having a great time. What a cool job!

And then meeting Ron from eKhayaICT. . . Good to meet you Ron.

Finding a 554 Delivery Status Notification with regard to a message to Sean - that bounced because of his ISP's over zealous spam scoring - in my spam box on gmail.

Then spending about 2 hours on the phone with Mark - while cooking dinner - and finally getting the pictures of the devastating vandalism at the solar / wind farm near Hluleka.

www.transport.gov.za/comm-centre/sp/2007/sp0606.html
My department through SANRAL will continue with its Public Private Partnership concession programme. It is currently developing projects such as the N2 Wild Coast Toll Highway between Durban and East London. The Wild Coast was identified as one of the areas for strategic development in accordance with government’s Spatial Development Initiative (SDI) strategy as long ago as 1995.

It will not only give access to the untapped potential of the Pondoland but in so doing address the primary inequality, namely lack of access that has led to this being the most impoverished region of South Africa. We expect to see the construction of this important road starting before the end of the year."

no comment

By Deon Van Der Merwe East London Correspondent

THE circumstances under which South Africa‘s top international off-road motorcycle racing ace, Alfie Cox, was arrested at the weekend, allegedly at gunpoint, are being investigated by the provincial environmental affairs department.

Cox, a registered tour operator who has brought small groups of foreign off-road enthusiasts to the Wild Coast for the past 10 years, was slapped with a R10 000 spot fine, which he paid to avoid spending the weekend in police custody and having his motorcycles confiscated.

He was leading a group of Australian and New Zealand airline pilots on a ride out of Hole-in-the-Wall on Saturday when he allegedly led his clients into a vehicle-restricted area.

"it is incumbent upon Traditional Leadership to seek to purge the institution of all illegitimacy by being prepared to commit class suicide when the audit of Traditional Leadership takes place."

www.info.gov.za/speeches/

ADDRESS OF PREMIER M.S. STOFILE TO THE HOUSE OF TRADITIONAL LEADERS - 27 MARCH 1998

Honourable Chairperson - Chief M. Nonkonyana
Honourable Members of the Executive Council
Honourable Members of the House
Distinguished Guests
Ladies and Gentlemen

Because we don't think about future generations, they will never forget us. ~ Henrik Tikkanen

You say "To break through, one needs to set up a positive spiral, taking small steps to improve conditions so that people involved feel and are in control. But external help is definitely required for the first steps."

I agree with this whole heartedly. The only way to drive technological assimilation into a rural culture is to have volunteers on hand to provide expert help as well as ideological vision. I'd even go a step further to say that the volunteer program needs to be extended for as long as a full generation. At least. To provide ongoing skills transfer and cosmopolitan role models, as far as possible.

Clivia robusta (Amaryllidaceae) is a tubular, pendulous-flowered Clivia species, restricted to the Pondoland Centre of Endemism, South Africa. The unique morphology, distribution, karyotype and molecular fingerprint distinguish it from all other pendulous-flowered species in the genus. Distribution This taxon is endemic to the Pondoland Centre of endemism, with a distribution from Port St. Johns in the south to the Mzimkulu River in the north. Habitat Restricted to Msikaba Formation sandstone, the habitat is characterised by rugged plateaus (100-500 m above sea level) that are deeply dissected by narrow river gorges, within which occur isolated forest patches, containing mixed tropical and Afromontane elements. Mean annual rainfall varies from 1 000-1 200 mm and occurs mainly in the summer months. The mean annual temperature along the coast is around 20°C. The soils are usually sandy, acidic, highly leached and often shallow .

Plans are currently underway to create a new "kid's only" Creative Commons (CC) license, as well as to incorporate CC reading and writing capabilities directly into the machines. iCommons are working with The Shuttleworth Foundation (TSF) on a new initiative called the iCommons iCurriculum which is currently being discussed online (wiki.tsf.org.za/iCommonsiCurriculum) and the outcome of this discussion should yield an exciting new perspective on open curriculum and benefit education.

Source: HANA

UN takes a byte to save Africa from e-waste
By: David Kezio-Musoke
Highway Africa News Agency

The United Nations has called for policies to protect African nations from unregulated imports of electronic wastes (e-waste) that release heavy metals and chemicals.

This call comes after the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) announced that over 50 million metric tonnes of electronic e-waste are produced globally, much of which finds its way to the African continent as charitable donations.

At the 8th meeting of the Basel Convention conference, which comes up this week in Nairobi the capital of Kenya is to discuss digital dumping. African governments are urged to adopt a framework to tighten shipments and disposal of all kinds of electronic wastes.

Does electronic learning (eLearning) threaten to displace the teacher? This question emerged at an international conference held in Nairobi last week, attended by 1,400 people from 88 countries. The latest in information communication technology (ICT) with a focus on education, training and development was showcased.

eLearning makes use of computers, radio or television in addition to books and classes. It ranges from single users to group learning in class. Students are able to talk on-line and exchange ideas. It is participatory and allows the sharing of learning material between networked users.

- A version of Wikipedia aimed at school children has been launched with the content limited to articles suitable for children. Accessible online and as a download, the encyclopedia will soon be found in all tuXlab schools in South Africa. (Source: Balancing Act)

- Intel is to team up with Asustek Computer Inc to produce a cheap computer for developing countries that might sell for as little as $200 but going up to $4-500. One Laptop Per Child has moved its launch date back to July this year. It may well have a flash memory hard drive, a 7-10 inch screen and wireless Internet. It will either run a freely available Linux operating system or Windows XP. (Source: Balancing Act)

- The Ethiopian Government has conducted another sweep of cyber-cafes offering VoIP calling services. Some of the users arrested were so young that they had to be released.

http://www.iol.co.za/index.php?art_id=vn20070608015356178C268511

Mixed reaction to traditional affairs plan
Sipho Khumalo
June 08 2007 at 10:31AM
The move by the national cabinet to approve the proposal for the establishment of a national department of traditional affairs has been welcomed by many in KwaZulu-Natal, but is viewed with suspicion by the DA.

It was reported on Thursday that the cabinet had approved a proposal by the Minister of Provincial and Local Government, Sydney Mufamadi, for the creation of the traditional affairs department at an estimated cost of R135-million a year.

The Xhosa months of the year are poetically named after stars and seasonal plants of Southern Africa. The Xhosa year traditionally began in June and ended in May, when Canopus, the brightest star visible in the Southern Hemisphere, signalled the time for harvesting. In urban areas today, anglicised versions of the months are used, especially by the younger generation. But in the rural areas of the Eastern Cape – the old names still stand.

Andropogon gayanus (Tambuki grass)

Wikipedia has this to say on Traditional Knowledge:

"That in addition to currently recognized land and property rights, indigenous peoples have rights to "intangible" heritage; 5. Access to and use of this heritage requires their full, prior informed consent."

While the following is from the Convention on Biological Diversity website:

"Article 8. In-situ Conservation
Each Contracting Party shall, as far as possible and as appropriate:
(a)...
(j) Subject to its national legislation, respect, preserve and maintain knowledge, innovations and practices of indigenous and local communities embodying traditional lifestyles relevant for the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity and promote their wider application with the approval and involvement of the holders of such knowledge, innovations and practices and encourage the equitable sharing of the benefits arising from the utilization of such knowledge, innovations and practices."

Here are the original articles - thanks to www.swc.org:

Sustaining the Wild Coast website article (in a new window) - linking to The Herald Online **News**

There are many demonstrations of the power of community collaboration over the net - MERLOT (Multimedia Educational Resource for Learning and Online Teaching), Curriki and Wiki Educator being fairly good examples.

Several African countries have joined the Wiki Educator FLOSS4Edu project; but SA is noticeably absent - as with the OLPC project (although there is a small hope of a groundswell movement at www.laptop.org.za.

"An article John Clarke has co-written with Richard Spoor says the threatened area is of inestimable cultural and environmental value. Hosting the Pondoland Centre for Endemism, a global biodiversity hotspot, it is arguably the most beautiful coastline on Earth.

Taking issue with the Australian company, the article adds, "Mining the Pondoland Wild Coast is the moral, cultural and aesthetic equivalent of quarrying Ayers Rock for granite, or the Great Barrier Reef for calcium carbonate."

Read the full Sunday Tribune article on the threat to our dunes - by Leon Marshall.

New threat to our dunes
As an Australian mining company plans to plunder the dunes of the Wild Coast, Leon Marshall ponders whether the lure of jobs and wealth creation will overcome pressing environmental concerns

May 13, 2007 Edition 2

Leon Marshall

Shades of St Lucia are hanging heavily over the Wild Coast, where dune mining is causing divisions in the community. Even the arguments are the same, as are the rising tensions that have led to allegations of threats and acts of violence.