Ubuntu in Zimbabwe

Neil Coetzer nit006.5 at gmail.com
Thu Nov 20 14:55:23 GMT 2008

It was with great pride and enthusiasm that we celebrated the first ever
Ubuntu Release Party in Zimbabwe, on 1st November 2008. To the best of
our knowledge, aside from South Africa, Zimbabwe was the only other
country in Africa to advertise a release party. The party was held in
the capital, Harare, and kicked off at 2.00pm with lots of socialising,
snacks and a few drinks. Attendance was not quite as high as we had
hoped, but we still had a good turn-out for our first attempt. Among
those who attended were representatives from the Computer Society of
Zimbabwe and a couple of young ladies from Linux Chix, who travelled all
the way from Mutare (on the Eastern border, over 300Km away) for the
event. Also in attendance was the IT Manager for the Parliament of
Zimbabwe, who is one of our team members. Since this was primarily a
social event, there was no fixed agenda. Following the introductions and
a bit of mingling, a short demonstration was given, providing an
overview of Ubuntu and a bit of showing off with desktop effects and
animations, which got a lot of “oohs” and “aahs” from those who had
never seen it before. This was followed by a brief question and answer
session and more general conversation about Ubuntu and open source
software. The event was enjoyed by all present and a number of the
attendees stayed on for a braai (known elsewhere as a barbecue) in the

The party was held at the premises of WebDev, who are also the kind
sponsors and host of our newly launched Web site (www.ubuntu.org.zw).
They also allowed us the use of their projector for the demonstrations.
Logical Solutions provided us with a number of demo laptops which were
loaded with the new release before the event kicked off and Harvest
International also kindly donated the snacks. 

The month of November left us with a great sense of achievement and
satisfaction. In light of the political tension, violence and collapsed
economy in our country, it was refreshing to see that Zimbabweans still
have an active interest in Ubuntu and open source in general. In a
country where daily survival can be daunting on its own, people still
found the time to attend our release party. Our sincere thanks to
WebDev, Logical Solutions and Harvest International for helping to make
the event a success.

Photographs of the release party can be found here:

Aside from the Release Party, November has also been a memorable month
because we have finally been able to launch our local Web site, which
will allow Zimbabwean users to download Ubuntu from local servers,
without needing to utilize international bandwidth which is rather
expensive here. The Web site also provides information on our local
repository (launched in August 2008) as well as links to our forum,
mailing list and team wiki site.

It is our hope that not only will Ubuntu become wide-spread in our
country, but also that Zimbabwe will help pave the way to an open source
frame of mind throughout the African region.

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