The Cape Digital Foundation’s purpose is to connect the unconnected – with a focus on local townships and informal settlements that do not currently have affordable access to the Internet. CDF believes that townships are South Africa’s Smart Cities of the future. This has shaped our mission to mobilise the provision of infrastructure and digital know-how that will enable township citizens to become Smart Citizens living in Smart Townships.
Smart Townships are built on local content
Smart Townships are built on five pillars: Digital infrastructure, affordable connectivity, digital skills, local content and data collection. On the back of working to precipitate ground-up Smart Township infrastructure and digital skills training initiatives in Imizamo Yethu in Hout Bay, CDF has launched IYtv, an online news portal that will feature hyper local content that is relevant, informative and valuable to local IY residents. IYtv is the first hyper local news portal of its kind in the Western Cape. As such, it is not a television station or in competition with local broadcast channels.
IYtv brings local content, by the people, for the people
IYtv passes CDF’s For You, By You “eFUBU” Test. The portal’s content will be generated in IY – by the people, for the people. An increasing number of trained citizen-journalists will be contributing to daily content across a growing range of categories, which include local news and issues, sport, jobs and entertainment. Presently, citizen- journalist Owen Xubuzane is fast becoming a well-known news hound around IY. For IY residents who use data supplied by TooMuchWifi, surfing IYtv is zero rated.
Hyper-local content is big news
According to World Economic Forum the barriers to Internet adoption vary across countries. “The barriers to greater internet use fall into four categories: infrastructure; affordability; skills, awareness and cultural acceptance; and local adoption and use – the lack of which is often down to the lack of local content.”
In South Africa, although the deficiency in affordable infrastructure is considered to be a major barrier, a lack of local, relevant digital content is equally significant. Ensuring a sustainable supply of local, relevant digital content is critical in creating the foundation upon which Internet users see the personal relevance of going online. In this way content is key to driving Internet adoption. In addition, local content gives Internet users an incentive to improve their digital skills. In turn, an increase in digital skills helps to drive both the demand and supply of local content, which serves to build a robust digital ecosystem. It is ecosystems such as these that have the power to boost township economies.
CDF is excited at the role that IYtv’s local content will play in Imizamo Yethu in stimulating uptake and daily use of the Internet among local citizens– and to seeing the part local content will play in the development of a robust digital economy in this Smart Township of the future.