Fak’ugesi African Digital Innovation Festival, Johannesburg, South Africa
21 Aug 2015 - 13 Sep 2015


Fak’ugesi African Digital Innovation Festival will return to Johannesburg from 22 August to 13 September 2015 in and around the Tshimologong Innovation Hub in Braamfontein. Fak’ugesi is an umbrella event hosted by Wits University in Johannesburg aimed at coordinating and curating a number of stand-alone conferences, exhibitions, workshops, short-courses and other activities in the inner city of Johannesburg that will promote the fusion of creative and technical development in Africa by ‘switching on the power’ of digital culture.

Each event will turn the spotlight on some aspect of digital technology including software, hardware, networks, digital content and games. Whilst some aspects of the festival are geared towards tech players, most events aim to encourage anyone and everyone to engage, participate and get switched on to the potential of tech in Africa.

Check out the full Fak’ugesi Festival programme here.


Here are some of our festival highlights:

The #FakugesiLab Digital Residency in the WAM basement, entitled Speculative & Futurist Visions of Johannesburg, will see a team of four resident creative technologists respond to Braamfontein as a youth culture hub and location for technology development over a 3 week period, during which numerous interactive workshops, exhibitions and seminars will be held for the general public to attend. Ling Tan, one of the technologists will host a multi-event treasure hunt for a smart city, in which participants will go collect “data treasures”, which will then be addressed in its ability to solve socio-spacial issues identified during the initial site selection.

The Market Hack will take place on Saturday 29 August from 10am – 4pm adjacent to the bustling Neighbourgoods Market, giving everyone the opportunity to engage with maker-hacker-playful electronics culture. Members of the public will be invited to help assemble simple educational robot kits, then connect and control them with their smartphones. After the event the robots will be involved in an interactive kinematic art installation at the Ithuba Arts Gallery in Braamfontein. This project is in collaboration with British Council Connect ZA’s InnovationZA program with Maker Library Network.

Smart | Cities | Region Exhibition & Symposium: Can a “smart city” programme address key development and infrastructure challenges? Learn about the divergent perspectives on the role of “smart city” in South Africa’s largest urban region at the symposium on Thursday 27th August. RSVP here. Join the Gauteng City-Region Observatory for an exhibition of dynamic new data visualisations and mapping tools and a symposium that will explore the issues raised by the opportunities and threats of the “smart city” approach to urban governance, opening Wednesday 26th August.

The Ar(t)chive presents BodyTech, an innovative platform of public performance, workshops and a symposium that will explore the performing body’s relationship with technology. This overview will take in the historical and current landscape of contemporary dance and technology in South Africa by engaging with pioneers in the field of dance, performance and technology. BodyTech will investigate the complexities of technology in theatre dance –  from technical, collaborative and practical points of view – through workshops and a public dance commission developed and performed by Athena Mazarakis in partnership with consulting engineering firm Bushveld Labs. This mini programme runs from 4 – 6 September, view the dates/times of specific events here.

Up your creative game with onedotzero_cascade za, an award-winning education project that is returning to Johannesburg to once again harness the power of collaboration. Recent graduates will take part in a multi-disciplinary workshop and inspiration sessions led by onedotzero mentors. The resulting work will be displayed in a public showcase to celebrate the week’s accomplishments.

A MAZE. returns to Johannesburg for the 4th time to host an international games and playful media festival in the streets and spaces of Braamfontein. Between 9 – 12 September you can learn, interact and play with international game developers, digital artists, forward thinkers, entrepreneurs, and digital activists at this dynamic three day event. A MAZE. is a Berlin based international interdisciplinary and game-centered brand. New to A MAZE. this year, pop-up events will take games to Soweto and Alexander. You’re invited to exchange tools, skills, and ideas in the field of independent games and playful media, take part in workshops, talks, parties, and a games arcade featuring the pick of African and international independent games and playful media.

Running alongside and in partnership with Fak’ugesi is the British Council Connect ZA’s 4-week InnovationZA programme of free activities, Maker Library Network workshops, events, talks and screenings exploring the convergence of creativity and tech in South Africa and the UK. InnovationZA has taken over the Ithuba Art Gallery at 100 Juta Street Braamfontein from 20 August – 12 September 2015 and welcomes all innovators to come and setup and engage with the space: free wifi & coffee.


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