Cycling with Tutus in Johannesburg

It all started with chat at a bar with friends where “I said want to do series of activities in different costumes, for the fun of it” and a friend dared me to go cycling in a tutu. Now for the real story; I posted an update on Facebook about cycling in a tutu to which two friends, Jonathan Dicks and Steven Bakker – both cyclists – commented saying ‘if you pull it off and organise us tutus, we’ll join you’.

 

Jonathan Dicks cycling

Jonathan Dicks cycling

Jonathan Dicks is a regular at the Critical Mass cycling community which takes off on the corner of Juta and De Beer streets in Braamfontein – every last Friday of the month. Naturally, they suggested that we put on our costumes and ride with Critical Mass which is the easiest community to participate in.

 

Steven Bakker is more of a social cyclist who takes on the odd mountain (and by mountain I mean he once nearly into a river one Saturday morning) but he’s a rockstar of note. As you’ll see in picture below, he has already worn a tutu on stage before. He’s the second guy from your right.

Steve in a Tutu

Steven Bakker (second from right) in a tutu

I haven’t cycled in years and part of the deal is getting a bicycle from whoever collaborates with us. You will be mentioned in two blog posts thereafter and a small company banner of yours will be placed on the sidebar of this blog for two months.

 

Are you in?

 

The basic idea here, which I haven’t told Jonathan and Steven about, is to cycle a few times with various communities and support a few causes while doing it. My secret mission is get into shape and score a bike while raising funds to help a chosen cause. The guys have been asking about it for months and I think we can get more people to join us over time, but that would be a bonus.

 

So you, bicycle shop in Johannesburg and you costume hire store in Jozi, why don’t you collaborate with us to make this happen? This invitation is also open to anyone who wants to either support the mission or cycle with us, for both a good cause and well…..strutting your stuff on a public road in a costume.

 

To accept this mission, leave your comment below.

 

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Featured picture by: dickdavid on Flickr

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Tech 4 Africa 2011 Preview: #Tech4Africa

Tech 4 Africa very quickly became part of the African, not just South African, technology calendar. In mid-2009 when I met Gareth Knight, the founder, Tech 4 Africa was still a concept. Although, I could tell back then it was a big idea. The kind whose growth you want to be part of.

In case you missed it, I interviewed Gareth Knight on NetwebTV about his experience in building and selling a technology startup. Tech 4 Africa aims to contextualize technology for the African continent, which is really oversimplifying it.

The first edition had insightful speakers ranging from developers to technology activists. Some of the most influential platforms online today had speakers at the conference. They came from; Ushahidi, Twitter, Yahoo and Mozilla.

We caught up with caught with some of the speakers, including Clay Shirky, and Gareth Knight after the conference. Here’s what they had to say:

This year it seems there are more African speakers than the first one, which looks promising. Most of them are familiar names in the South African tech community. It’s also exciting to see more South African entrepreneurs come to the fore and become a recognized part of the event, I think more than last year.

There are fewer speakers this year, most of whom are entrepreneurs, and this for me makes it more worthwhile. The last event was worth attending, and I’m guessing the team learned from last year and set out to create a different experience, as opposed to work off a formula.

Seedcamp was one of the partners last year, where technology entrepreneurs got an opportunity to attend Seedcamp Week in London. Some of those guys are speakers this year, which will be interesting to see.

The theme this year, seems to be more about business with speakers from Google and Simone Brunozzi of Amazon.

Have a look at what’s on offer this year at Tech 4 Africa this year and follow this hashtag #Tech4Africa on Twitter for updates.

The topless host, potjiekos and the resistance

So a friend, Philén Naidu (aka. The topless host) and his wife Kim Naidu, hosted a group of friends (and me) for potjiekos. Among the many thrilling stories shared, were the undertones of resistance.

For our non-South African readers: Potjiekos –  is a stew prepared outdoors in a traditional round, cast iron, three-legged pot (the potjie). From Wikipedia.

One soccer ball, some dirt and 14 boys Philén Naidu started a soccer club in Zandspruit, where he trains teenagers life lessons through soccer. This passion of his began just over2 years ago with a soccer ball, 14 kids at the time and a vision to help broken communities.

It was a grand social entrepreneurial vision. Well, for any number of guys with just one soccer ball that is.Fast forward from 2009 to 2011, the topless potjiekos cooking Philén Naidu (not to be mistaken with the naked chef) is still at it. Now 101 boys and more soccer balls.
Last week he received an email, which led to a meeting with large corporate – then potential sponsors and partners.

The potjiekosLike most interesting stories, this one happened over a meal. The potjiekos, our esteemed topless host (chef), had prepared.

“You see those small bubbles, you have to cook it with small bubbles” he explained to 4 year old Josh. Unlike such gatherings, there weren’t copious (bordering on illegal) amounts of wine. In fact, there wasn’t any wine at all.

The resistance

As it turns out, over the past 2 years, Philén Naidu expected meetings with his sponsors to be fruitless. Afterall, he had been to such meetings before. In the past, he had to bring proposals and paperwork. Sound familiar?

When you’ve built a project, even a business, over time you expect meetings to be similar. This was different, it lasted 10 minutes without paperwork. (A 5-minute introduction, and 5 minutes about his project.)

The time you spend creating a model, in this case a community project, reduces resistance. It may be surprising when it happens, but it does.

The small bubbles, like slow but gradual movement, cook perfectly and it could take 5 minutes for drastic change to happen. Keep at it.

Not tech savvy . . .

So why don’t you attend the BarCamp in Johannesburg tomorrow? The BarCamp is an unconference  where anyone can raise a relevant topic that you think is worth sharing at the session. Besides, geek has been the new cool for a long time long time now.

Some active  and influential online professionals will be attending, sponsoring and presenting over the 2 days of this prestigious gathering. If you want to find out how the movers of social media locally are doing it, this is one of the places to be.

Some of the proposed sessions that will be covered:

  • Add your session here, it can be as short as 5 minutes
  • Build a quick Twitter mashup using Django & Jquery in 30 mins
  • Guitar Hero multi-playa – just to unwind
  • OSSA – FLOSS Lobby Group
  • JavaFX

Go to the page and proposed your own session, if you have anything to offer. They also welcome sponsorships and other contributions.

Signup here to attend and you’ll be boat-loads more tech-savvy by Monday.