On a beautiful evening in 2011, gathered around a fire in a Londolozi boma, a conservationist, a teacher and a CEO took stock of some of the major challenges facing South Africa. The conversation was heated. Political. Sometimes somber. Sometimes jubilant. Often complex.

The conservationist argued that if we protect the land, then we protect the people. He dreamt of rural social enterprises that existed to unite communities around one of South Africa’s most important assets: its wilderness. He agreed that an abundant digital future was on the horizon, but he was interested in how that future could empower rural people and wildlife.

The CEO – a regional leader of a major ICT conglomerate – argued that South Africa’s digital marketplace was developing at an exponential rate. South Africa needed to equip young people with the skills that would enable them to benefit from that marketplace. “The cloud will expand,” she said. “Is rural Africa ready for the opportunity?”

The teacher argued that we cannot wait another ten years, losing yet another generation of young people to an irrelevant education system. We must reimagine learning that is nimbler. We must build a system that can use tech to democratise access to education so that a rural eight-year-old can program robots in her village, opening a world of possibilities for her future.

Less than one year later, a social enterprise was born.

The “collaborators” – together with the leaders of Shabalala village and Hosanna Church and Community Projects – established the Hazyview Digital Learning Campus (HDLC) in Mpumalanga province, a semi-rural future-learning facility that would provide three progressive stages of education and training.

Today (almost five years later) we can announce that the enterprise isn’t just allowing children to program robots or preparing young rural school-leavers for life in the cloud, it’s also home to South Africa’s first truly world-class rural IT service desk, an enterprise that is proving that “rural is the new off-shore.”

The T-Systems South Africa service desk team at work at Hazyview Digital Learning Campus. Paris Moeng (bottom), unemployed and unskilled, started as a student at Hazyview Digital Learning Campus when he was just 17-years-old. He is now a qualified Technical Support Engineer.

The Collaborators, from left to right: Dave Varty (the “conservationist”), Mardia Niehaus (current Chairperson and former “CEO” of T-Systems South Africa) and Kate Groch (“teacher” for life and CEO of GWF).

You can read more about this social enterprise, led by the Good Work Foundation, by clicking here. The article describes GWF’s nonprofit and for-profit integrated platform and its strategic collaboration with T-Systems South Africa, a subsidiary of Deutsche Telekom.

To all of our guests and visitors who have been part of the Good Work Foundation journey, this social enterprise is the vision that we have always been passionate about: digital economies in rural areas, unconstrained by the past and inspired by the future.

We invite our guests to travel to see Hazyview Digital Learning Campus – and its smaller satellite campuses – when they visit Londolozi. Upon arrival, chat to your camp manager about setting up a visit.

In 2016 Good Work Foundation (GWF), Londolozi’s nonprofit partner, was runner-up in the Wharton Business School Reimagine Education Awards in the category ‘Hybrid Learning’. In the same year the GWF Hazyview Digital Learning Campus won the Pricewaterhousecoopers Gender Diversity Award in the category ‘Empowerment of Women in the Community.’ The organisation is now leading a model of social enterprise, piloted in Mpumalanga province, that has the potential to transform the way that we look at learning and working in rural South Africa. To donate to the mission online, click here, or alternatively, contact info@goodworkfoundation.org

Filed under 2020 Vision GWF

5 Comments

on A Conservationist, an IT CEO and a Teacher Gathered Around a Londolozi Fire. What Happened Next?
    Colin Porteous says:

    That is a great story. My fiance, through the KPMG climate change and sustainability division, worked with GWF and T-Systems, and I believe it is a fantastic model for future development. Well done.

    Reanne Paterson. says:

    Wonderful. Glad to hear Dave is still involved with Londolozi.

    Jill Larone says:

    Congratulations to the GWF for their wonderful work and accomplishments and well-deserved awards! I’m so looking forward to being there with you in August!

    Ryan James says:

    Hi Jill. Finally 🙂 So looking forward to it!

    Ryan James says:

    Thanks Colin. We loved having the KPMG team here! Please stay up-to-date on the project by following our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/goodworkfoundation.

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