The Cape Digital Foundation’s (CDF) purpose is to connect the unconnected – with a focus on local townships and informal settlements that do not currently have easy, affordable access to the Internet. The Foundation believes that townships are South Africa’s Smart Cities of the future. This informs our mission to provide the means for township citizens to become Smart Citizens. How? By helping to initiate and facilitate township initiatives, from the ground up, that are designed to provide affordable Internet access as well as relevant local content that informs people and stimulates everyday use of the Internet.
Imizamo Yethu – a Smart Township in the making
The Foundation’s first Smart Township initiative, currently underway in Imizamo Yethu (IY) in Hout Bay, incorporates all of the core five pillars inherent in Smart Townships, namely Digital Infrastructure, Affordable Connectivity, Digital Skills, Local Content and Data Collection. The geographical confines of this township make framing and measuring the impact of this Smart Initiative possible, with a view to scaling and replicating it.
Strategic partner TooMuchWifi
A number of strategic partnerships make the Imizamo Yethu Smart Township initiative possible and CDF has chosen TooMuchWifi (TMW) as the first of their infrastructure and connectivity partners, bringing easily accessible digital infrastructure and affordable connectivity to IY. More than sharing CDF’s vision to connect the unconnected, TooMuchWifi shares the Foundation’s belief in Smart Initiatives that are mobilised from the ground up. CDF Executive Director, Emma Kaye, says, “Our organisations have in common that we believe in community involvement and projects that promote digital uptake which are driven by the people, for the people.”
TooMuchWifi is a low-cost, high performance internet service provider (ISP) that operates in some of the poorest and most logistically challenging communities in the country. The success of the company is attributable to the fact that it is employee-owned and made up of executives, customer service and technical teams that come directly from the communities it serves.
The importance of local content
In turn, TooMuchWifi’s IY Community Leader, Sarah Chitanda, says of their partnership with Cape Digital Foundation, “TMW provides robust infrastructure and low cost connectivity. We appreciate the benefit of partnering with CDF who then facilitates bringing digital skills training and local content to Imizamo Yethu. TMW believes in the fundamental importance of local content in growing Internet literacy. Also, critical thinking such as ‘scam awareness’ and the ability to establish the truth in the face of fake news develops through local awareness which grows through having access to local content.”
IYtv launching soon
Before the end of 2018 the Foundation will launch IYtv, an online news portal where IY will have access, and the opportunity to contribute, to local news coverage with no data charge.