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Connecting with Zimbabwe techies problematic, says expert

The organiser of the forthcoming Zimbabwe Hack event says connecting with contacts in Zimbabwe from the United Kingdom has been difficult given the lack of ecosystem in the country.

Joeli Brearly, Director at Cultural Code, told HumanIPO she had to rely on partnerships with local tech groups and social media to connect with cultural professionals, designers and technologists for a Zimbabwe Hack on February 21, 22.

“There isn’t easily a group or community to tap into. It is harder to find those interesting people to an extent,” Brearly told HumanIPO.

Fortunately gaining partnership with local groups TechZim and Jumpstart has helped significantly, while Twitter was used to track other contacts.

“There are different places that they hang out online and TechZim of course has been an incredibly useful partner to have as we are based in the UK of course,” she said.

She said the previous experience of the British Council, which has teamed with Culture Shift to hold the event, in other African countries, had taught them cooperation from both sides are necessary.

“This is the second round, they have asked the tech artists who are working at it to work on processes to make the whole event work,” she said.

Apart from finding locals to collaborate, the language barrier has also been an obstacle in establishing joint efforts, as the locally spoken language also has different dialects.

Terminology, for example the word ‘technologist’, is not widely known but ‘geek’ is used instead – which is also known in Britain. On tech grounds, Brearly believes that the same rather than contrasting trails are to be encountered in both sides of the world.

“The challenges are very similar from the UK and in Zimbabwe as we talk about digital technology in both countries,” she said. “It’s just that the infrastructure is different.”

The Culture Shift Zimbabwe hack entries are currently open until February 18.

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