By Chief K.Masimba Biriwasha
Harare, Zimbabwe – Zimbabwe’s inaugural BarCamp event will be held on August 3 at the at the Keg & Maiden at Harare Sports Club.
The theme of the event is “Technology and Entrepreneurship: We Are Stronger Together” and is aimed at promoting the need for converged thinking and collaboration among individual start-ups, developers and others.
According to the technology blog site, TechZim.co.zw, the event is targeted at tech startups, geeks, entrepreneurs and generally the whole tech community in Zimbabwe.
“The conclusive aim of a BarCamp is to get likeminded people interacting and mapping a way forward. Zimbabwe’s BarCamp is historic as it is the first startup focused event to happen in the nation,” reads a statement on the BarCamp Zimbabwe website.
“BarCamp Zimbabwe is a FREE event for anyone who is interested in using their skills, talent, and resources to benefit Zimbabwe and Africa as a whole.”
Zimbabwe Online (ZOL), which is the main sponsor of the event, will award successful startups will with US $25,000 in cash and internet services.
A BarCamp is an international network of user-generated conferences (or unconferences). They are open, participatory workshop-events, the content of which is provided by participants.
The first BarCamps focused on early-stage web applications, and were related to open source technologies, social protocols, and open data formats. The format has also been used for a variety of other topics, including public transit, health care, and political organizing.
The name BarCamp is a playful allusion to the event’s origins, with reference to the programmer slang term, foobar: BarCamp arose as an open-to-the-public alternative to Foo Camp, which is an annual invitation-only (for Friends of O’Reilly) participant-driven conference hosted by Tim O’Reilly.
The first BarCamp was held in Palo Alto, California, from August 19–21, 2005, in the offices of Socialtext. It was organized in less than one week, from concept to event, with 200 attendees. Since then, BarCamps have been held in over 350 cities around the world, in North America, South America, Africa, Europe, the Middle East, Australasia and Asia. To mark the first anniversary of BarCamp, BarCampEarth was held in multiple locations world wide on August 25–27, 2006. The second anniversary of BarCamp, BarCampBlock, was held in Palo Alto at the original location, but also over a three block radius on August 18–19, 2007, and was attended by over 800 people. The largest recorded BarCamp happened in February 2011 with over 4700 confirmed registered attendees in Yangon, Myanmar (Burma). The previous year (January 2010) BarCamp Yangon attracted over 2700 attendees (confirmed with registration forms) Barcamp Yangon in Global Voices.