Posts Tagged ‘social media’

“Another Journey” – A blog post by Gary Saaiman

This is a post written by my dear brother Gary Saaiman .I am amazed at how he has written this story and the revelation he got just by seeing us from behind.So encouraging.Go ahead and read for yourself….


Its Saturday at about 6:30 am and I’m woken by the sound of Brent and Bradley  talking as they walk through my room making their way to the airport. I`m so tired as I couldn’t even keep my eyes open and I wanted to shout and greet them but they moved so fast and the only thing I could see was their backs for a couple of seconds.

Well to you it might have been just a normal sight but It was something supernatural to me. A couple of years back the same scene would had a different outcome. They would probably be planning where their next fix was going to come from something, illegal that would have been no benefit to our community, it definitely would not have had a good effect.

This was a different sight though, same picture but different journey. They were on their way to the airport this time going to Nigeria to set up a Rlabs hub. Rlabs Nigeria will be a difference that people have been crying out for, for years. Its a movement of hope where communities are reconstructed using technology. No matter how devstated the lives of people are, how hopeless they may seem, how depressed they might feel.

You asked these two gentlemen their life stories and you weigh what they are now and I promise you a joy, a hope, an excitement will be birthed inside of you fuelling your dreams, encouraging you to allow GOD to carry you through your fires and then polishing you to go and shine for HIM, in your home to your family, in your street, in your neighbourhood, in your community, in your city, country or even the world.

  It really doesn’t matter where you go, taking hope to the hopeless is all that matters.

That was the glimpse I got in 5 seconds, imagine I had more time :-)

For more stories of hope go to

Reconstructing the world one community at a time

Back at the 4th Euro- Africa Cooperation Forum on ICT Research

Last year I was invited to speak at the 4th Euro- Africa Cooperation to speak about how RLabs is: Transferring Innovation On A Grassroots Level. This particular conference was held in Finland which meant me going over seas for seven days. This year this same conference is being held in Cape Town and I was once again invited to come and speak here.

I am so looking forward to all the presentation and to see how ICT is being utilized in Europe and Africa. The aim of today is networking as well and looking forward to meeting with potential future partners for RLabs. I am grateful for this opportunity to be able to represent RLabs at this conference. That is what RLabs is all about,it is about growth ..and this is me growing.

Checking out Tumblr

I have recently read that Tumblr is growing twice as fast than WordPress.Now being a WordPress fan I could not help but go and see what the the buss was all about.I went and signed up a Tumblr account and went to play around with it a bit. It just so happened that when I tried to sign myself up it showed that I already had an account hehehe. Clearly I have forgotten and of course forget the username and password.

I used my other email account and registered a new account and started blogging on there. The cool thing about Tumblr is that you can follow other people almost like a type of Twitter. It also automatically adds your Twitter steam to your site as well wich i found to be cool.  I am looking forward to exploring more with this tool and then being able to teach others in the RLabs Academy about it.

Does NGO Stand for New Golden Opportunity?

This was a blog post written about RLabs on the SangoNet Blog.Have a read and please comment and let me know what you think about this article.

Having been invited to speak at the recent 2nd Annual Thinking Mobile™ Conference, listening to Mark Slade, Managing Director of 4th Screen Mobile advertising in the UK, I hear a story that seems only too familiar. His frustration with the speed in which some of the planets biggest agencies adopt new media and technology. I was just pleased to hear that it wasn’t just South Africa that has this inherent problem.

With this in mind I feel almost obligated to share what is going on out there in the mobile NGO space in the sincere hope that some bright spark spinning in their Antonio Citterio chair at some flash agency will get it.

Is my project (a) Innovative (b) Socially empowering (c) Commercially viable?

I would be more than happy if any project I undertook ticked all three boxes. Mobile campaigns are not merely a means to an end to tap into a mobile crowd, achieve thousands of entries for a brand manager that has little or no understanding of the mobile space other than the fact that certain apps have robbed him of time he would never spend with his children.

In this emerging market in which we find ourselves, those in the .org or NGO space have had to be ingenious in reaching those that require help and being progressive recognised the main form of communication is mobile, and not high tech mobile either. Stand up Marlon Parker (a legend in his own lunchtime) from Reconstructive Living Labs (RLABS), the group that provides innovative solutions to address various complex problems. It creates an environment where people are empowered to make a difference in the lives of others. Through the creation, dissemination and application of knowledge they aim to increase the empowerment, upliftment and development of individuals and communities. They do this through the use of innovative solutions.

The RLabs ‘main hub’ is in Cape Town but have activity in the UK, Europe, Asia and Central Africa. The Reconstructed Programme has been designed for ex-drug addicts, and the unemployed who received ongoing technology training and mentoring. The free Counselling service has over 120 000 subscribed mobile users on MXit, operating from Monday to Thursday from 3pm to 6pm managing 300 to 400 counseling sessions per day via mobile, utilizing the Jamiix Social Exchange programme. JamiiX has been given the official seal of approval, by no less than The World Health Organisation (WHO). The WHOs’ South-East Asia Regional Office (SEARO) is being supported by the JamiiX messaging management system in bringing emergency readiness information to mobile users in disaster-prone Indonesia via MXit.

One of the other highlights for the group was receiving the 2009 South African blog awards runners up.

The Rlab Mom 4.0 café sessions are hosted for women from the Cape Flats community who were housewives, unemployed, been through divorce, abuse and have stories of hope to share with other women using mobile.

Social Media and Research is undertaken for a number of businesses and organisations and was recently the Social Media partner for the Innovation Fair, hosted by the World Bank.

Through innovation, communities can address fundamental issues such as health, education, etc. to enhance economic growth and improve the quality of life for many with mass market reach with its first global product JamiiX (“Social Exchange”). Other technology start-ups include She’s The Geek (Won Best South African Blog for Science and Technology in 2010) and Uusi – Empowerment via Mobile Phone (Research Paper presented at International Conference during 2010)…They’re not the only ones…

MXit has also become an enormous social, life skills and educational resource for users. Childline South Africa currently receives around 100 000 calls a month from children who require counselling on matters related to physical and emotional abuse, neglect and family problems. Around 68 000 MXit users have downloaded the application on MXit, for free and private counselling sessions conducted in specially adapted chatrooms.

In partnership with Cell-Life, MXit hosts the “Red” contact offering free HIV/AIDS information and advice. When the user adds the contact, it allows them to view HIV/AIDS information in 4 of the official South African languages. They have successfully hosted live and anonymous HIV counselling for the past year with over 59 000 users who have added the contact – which brings the total number of MXit users who have access the counselling services on MXit to close on 250 000 of its users.

They also support UNICEF’s initiative of ‘Let’s Give the Red Card to Child Exploitation’. The Red Card seeks to help children and young people to stay safe. Each year, tens of thousands of children around the world are exploited through child labour, commercial sexual exploitation, child trafficking and child pornography.

Further, the Dr Maths project in partnership with the CSIR / Merake offers free one-on-one Maths tutorial using MXit and has a user-base of over 19 000 children, with 100 tutors and in operation for the past two years. Another similarly innovative project on MXit is the curriculum aligned multiple Maths quizzes – namely QuizMax, which assist Gr 12’s with Maths, Physical Science and Life Science quizzes and tutorials.

The National Youth Parliament ran a mobile youth survey to identify and discuss the issues that confront them in their daily lives and identify creative solutions to these challenges…the result…the largest youth survey undertaken in SA with over 63 000 users completing a 16 part mobile survey and just for fun users were prompted to go on a virtual  march, pinging a users submission from mobile to web, resulting in over 15 000 marchers in six weeks…hmm surveys…Those clever people at TNS recognise this and are busy in this mobile space and I sincerely hope they can start to unravel and make sense of the swarm mentality and that we start to see more brands listening.

And so it goes on…

So now that the Antonio Citterio has stopped spinning and I have your attention, it does not take a creative genius to see that some of these organisations biggest issue is cash. It should be relatively simple to form commercial collaborative partnerships. Then there’s the technology, what a great PR story. Here’s the counselling Jamiix software benefiting thousands of users in need of advice and here’s a multinational brand using Jamiix to service its call centre requirements – the .org is happy the brand is happy (think CSI budgets) the people are happy.

There is some very exciting working technology out there being developed by people who are not selling but listening and it’s ripe for the picking.

Does NGO stand for New Golden Opportunity? Yes it does!

And before I get slammed for criticising agencies and brand managers I don’t mean all agencies and all brand managers…you know who you are.


About Mike Carter:

Mike Carter heads up Trigger/ Isobar’s mobile business unit. A former senior strategist at Mxit brings with him a decade of experience in assisting some top brands in the adoption of mobile as a serious business and media channel. Trigger/ Isobar’s mobile business unit is focused on providing clients with turnkey mobile strategy, development and integration services.

About Trigger/Isobar

Isobar is the world’s largest digital agency group represented in 54 countries.   Isobar South Africa is a Full Service Digital Agency offering an integrated spectrum of digital marketing services including Digital Strategy, Digital Media, Search, Application Development, Social Media, Creative and Digital Production across mobile and fixed line Internet.

About Aegis Media

Aegis Media is constantly pioneering the worlds of media communications and market research. It is the only global marketing services group focused on the two most strategically significant disciplines in marketing today and it consistently grows faster than its markets. Aegis Media brings together some of the world’s leading brands in marketing services with a shared vision to create the communications group of the future


Grow Academy Launches Boot Camp

On June 27, 2011, the GROW Academy will launch its first attack with an initial pilot ‘Boot Camp’ in Khayelitsha, Cape Town.

The purpose of the Boot Camp is to provide the team with an idea of the content and competencies required to see the development of the ‘recruits’ and the respective curriculum for the expanded edition of the program for the future launch of a fully-fledged digital academy due to launch in 2012.

Grow goal is to create a space where young individuals can be trained in the art of managing digital platforms.  Participants will learn to use the tools that are available through social media platforms to serve the needs of non-profit organisations.

The founding partners in this project are WooThemes, RLabs (Reconstructed Living Lab), Silulo, Webgrowth and the GivenGain Foundation South Africa. We have a common vision and objective to make a difference in our city and our nation by providing a stepping-stone for school leavers and the digitally passionate unemployed to get back into the job market.

Boot Camp Details:

- 27 June – 1 July 2011

- 12 – 20 Pre-Selected ‘Recruits’

- Silulo Training Centre, Makhaza Mall, Lansdowne Road, Khayelitsha

- Mornings: Theory; Afternoons: Practical with Evaluation

- Cost: FREE to pilot group

The courses delivered will include lecture-based sessions, coupled with assisted and tutored practical application of the various tools and skills presented. These classroom sessions will be followed by real-world internships at selected non-profit and commercial organisations that are willing to accommodate digital apprenticeships. All students will be provided with personal, online, email and telephonic support, relative to their stage of skill and application, by the academy and its appointed partners. It is our intention to see apprentices become artisans, from job seekers to job takers, urgently!

We need to go beyond the digital divide. We need to strengthen digital minds.

We need to GROW!



Adii Pienaar & Mark Forrester                                                                                                                                     Colin Habberton

GivenGain Foundation South Africa

WooThemes                                                                                                                                           +27 21 882 9070                                                                                                                           +27 71 401 2434

Renee Parker


+27 21 699 1453

+27 79 811 8536

Luvuyo Rani


+27 72 261 2472

Neil Pursey


+27 84 627 0619

via rlabs

Social Media Boot Camp

Wondering how your company can embrace social media for better performance online? Struggling with reaching your target audience? Sign up for the RLabs Social Media Boot Camp on June 6 in Athlone, Cape Town and let the professionals of RLabs’ Social Media Factory guide you into the world of a Social Business.

During the morning, professionals from different countries will share their experience within the social media and social business industry. Some of the topics to be presented are process innovation in businesses, social media and mobile phones, semantic web, fund-raising campaigns and much more.

After a coffee break, there are hands-on consulting sessions with the presenters. So you have an opportunity to discuss how your company can improve its performance and business by embracing social media, you visit the “Business and Innovation” hub. The “Fund-raising” hub is there to advise and help you with fund raising money via social media platforms. Finally there is also a “Social Networking” hub that is specialized in creating you a company weblog and get you active on various social platforms (E.g. Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn etc.).


Date and time: June 6, 09.00 till 16.00

Location: RLabs, 66 Tarentaal Road, Bridgetown, Cape Town

Price: R1000 per person, including coffee breaks and a good lunch

Bookings and info: or call 021 699 1453 and ask for Craig Ross. Please note that booking is only possible before the 30th of May and that there is a limited amount of seats available.


Call for Intern @ mLab Southern Africa

The mLab Southern Africa (SA) is looking for an intern for its Cape Town office. About mLab SAThe mLab SA, short for mobile applications laboratory, is a brand new initiative thatsupports innovation and entrepreneurship though mobile apps and content in the southernAfrica region. The mLab SA is headquartered at The Innovation Hub in Tshwane, SouthAfrica, with the first satellite office in Cape Town.We support the mobile developer community through a range of services includinghandset testing, training, business mentoring, research, access to finance and markets,events and networking opportunities. The mLab SA and mLab east Africa, in Nairobi, are the first of a number of mLabs to belaunched around the world as part of the Creating Sustainable Businesses in theKnowledge Economy programme, supported by infoDev (World Bank), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Government of Finland and Nokia. About the internshipOut of the Cape Town office we will run all social media of the mLab SA, organise and runevents, publish a regular newsletter and do research into mobile innovation in southernAfrica.We are looking for a brilliant young social media intern who is interested in all thingsmobile, especially in the use of mobile phones to make the world a better place, and tosupport innovation and entrepreneurship.Duties include:• Managing the Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Linked In and YouTube accounts.• Publishing blog posts.• Finding interesting content to link to and publish.• Attending events and blogging and tweeting about them.• Some administrative work. You must be a social media junkie, have a love for technology, be organised and proactive.This is an ideal position for student or graduate to get experience in social media,mobile technologies and start-ups. You must be proficient in MS Office (or similar) andknow WordPress.The position is based in the Cape Town CBD and is for up to 16 hours per week. Theinternship is for up to 3 months. There is also the possibility of this being a holidayinternship for students. This is not a paid internship, but travel and communicationexpenses will be covered.

How to applyTo apply, please email the following to

• CV

• Links to any online work you’ve done, e.g. blog posts or newsletter

• Paragraph explaining why we should hire you for this position



The “new web” has transformed the way people connect and social media platforms have become an essential part of the organizational and business strategies. These technologies can be useful for businesses as strategic tools for engagement, relationship building with stakeholders and communities, networking and fundraising. With millions of users on social media in South Africa alone and over a billion worldwide across various platforms (PCs, Mobile phones etc.) this is an opportunity for businesses to share with the masses using FREE tools available to support the vision of such businesses.

This one day training “hands-on” workshop will cover the following areas:
1. Background to Social Media and tools such as blogs, wikis, micro-blogs, wikis, and multimedia file-sharing sites
2. Provide guidelines to how your business can utilise and reap the benefits of social media
3. Practical opportunities for participants to engage with some of the Social Media tools
4. Social Media and mobile phones

• Understanding of Social Media and its context
• Identified tools that could be integrated into the business sector to support its vision and objectives
• Introductory level of hands-on experience using social media tools
• To use mobile phones as possible social media devices
• Understand the importance of Social media for Businesses
Workshop info:
All required equipment will be provided for the workshop and this includes all refreshments for the day. The price of the workshop is R500.00 for the day or RSVP your seat with the code RLABS SMTraining  by the 16 May 2011.

Workshop Details:

Price: R500.00
Date: 30 May 2011
Time: 8:30am – 16:00
Address: RLabs , 66 Tarentaal Road, Bridgetown,Athlone, 7764

Contact persons: Monique Ross or Brent Williams

Contact Number: 021 6991453




CV writing in Social and New Media class

While reading through the blog posts of the Social and New Media participants we discovered that a lot of them were not working and seeking employment. On their blog posts the expressed their concerns and frustrations at not being able to find work. There was definitely a need here and we decided to accommodate that need and put things onto place to assist them.

We firstly got them signed up onto Linkedin so that they could market themselves online. It just also happens that we have special guest from the U.K doing a workshop on effective C.V writing and got them in to do a session with the class. In the next session we will have them type out their c.v’s using the skills they have attained and put it up on their Linkedin accounts.

This is all part of prepping them and making them job savvy  so that when someone or company requires their skills they will be equipped and prepared for the task at hand.Well done to all the participants for doing a great job thus far.


Learning together

After last week’s class the participants requested that we do a refreshers class on blogging again. Last week’s class included: loading up and image in your blog post, loading up a video in your blog post and doing a hyper link in your blog post.

In this evenings class I have asked the participants to do a blog with all of the above mentioned components in it. It is going to be interesting to see if they still remember what they have been taught last week. The is also a young man in this evenings class that was absent last week so did not get to learn what the others have learned. I requested from the others that was in class last week to assist and show him what we have learnt. I think that this is a great way of learning together and let’s face it, the participants in this year’s training is the CHAMPIONS of tomorrow.


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