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Festival offers free coding workshops

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Africa Code Week will be coming at the Cape Town Science Centre from 15 to 23 October with a wide variety of free coding workshops and other related activities for all ages.

As part of the week’s activities, the Science Centre based in Observatory just in front of the Groote Schuur Hospital will host two free-entry Festival of Code days on the Saturdays 15 and 22 October.  In addition, free after-school coding workshops will be held every afternoon from 17 to 21 October.

“We know that coding is a critical 21sts Century skill that is easily learnt and loads of fun,” says Julie Cleverdon, director of the Cape Town Science Centre and global coordinator of ACW. “The motto of Africa Code Week is: ‘Coding is a new language. Every child deserves to be fluent.’ That’s why the Cape Town Science Centre is endeavouring to make as many relevant activities in this week accessible to everyone. We are grateful for the support from both Woolworths Financial Services and SAP for making this possible at our centre.”

Activities include coding, data story-telling and robotic workshops; talks from some of the most talented and inspiring young coders in Cape Town and a host of other activities in addition to the opportunity to interact with the many hands-on exhibits in the Cape Town Science Centre.  Even if you’ve never written a line of code in your life, the workshops on offer will get participants started one step at a time. They are styled to help encourage today’s young digital consumers to become tomorrow’s digital creators. Based around Scratch, a popular system adopted by millions of young learners worldwide as it fosters youthful curiosity, promotes creativity, and provides a basis for lifelong programming learning.

In addition to the Cape Town Science Centre’s efforts, other Cape Town organisations have embraced the initiative and are set to create a coding buzz by organising a host of coding activities across the city. Those interested in attending these activities can visit the Africa Code Week live map http://africacodeweek.org/activities/live-events/, which itemises the events taking place in Cape Town, and indeed across Africa.

Africa Code Week (www.africacodeweek.org.), first run in 2015, is a spearheaded by the software company SAP in association with the Galway Education Centre in Ireland and the Cape Town Science Centre. The first year of Africa Code Week sparked the interest of more than 89,000 children across 17 African countries to write their first lines of code. Of the 89 000 youth engaged continent-wide in 2016, almost 4,000 were from Cape Town and the Western Cape. This year the goal is to engage 150 000 children and youth in 30 African countries. Teachers and others in Cape Town can once again work towards achieving the goal for Africa Code Week in 2016 and empowering our youth.

To learn more about the activities for the Festival of Code taking place on the 15th and 22nd of October at the Cape Town Science Centre, visit (http://ctsc.org.za/festival-of-code-africa-code-week-free-entry/) or contact the Cape Town Science Centre on (021) 300-3200.

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Load-shedding leads
local searches

South Africans are searching in the dark, according to the latest Google Search trends.

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With more 1 million search queries generated in the space of 76 hours, load-shedding was by far the top trending search on Google South Africa this week.

Valentine’s Day came a distant second.

After news emerged last Sunday of the impending stage 3 load shedding, South Africans had generated more than 1-million load-shedding search queries by the time Tuesday came around:

  • “Loadshedding schedule” – generated more than 100k searches on Sunday
  • “Load shedding schedule” – generated more than 100k searches on Sunday
  • “Eskom load shedding” – generated more than 100k searches on Sunday
  • “Load shedding Cape Town” – generated more than 50k searches on Sunday
  • “Load shedding schedule” – generated more than 400k on Monday
  • “Load shedding Johannesburg” – generated more than 20k searches on Monday
  • Load shedding schedule” generated more than 200k search queries on Tuesday

Leading up to Valentine’s Day, South Africans generated close to 300k search queries related to the romantic festival, including searches for quotes and gift ideas:

  • “Valentines Day” generated more than 100k search queries on Thursday
  • “Happy Valentines Day Images” and “Valentines Day Images” generated more than 10k search queries each on Thursday, with “Happy Valentines Day 2019” generating more than 20k search queries on Wednesday
  • “Valentines Day Specials 2019” generated more than 5k search queries on Thursday
  • “Love quotes” generated more than 5k search queries on Thursday
  • “Valentines Day quotes” generated more than 100k search queries and “Valentine messages” generated more than 50 000 search queries on Wednesday

Search trends information is gleaned from data collated by Google based on what South Africans have been searching for and asking Google. Google processes more than 40 000 search queries every second. This translates to more than a billion searches per day and 1.2 trillion searches per year worldwide. Live Google search trends data is available at https://www.google.co.za/trends/hottrends#pn=p40

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Showmax invites
student films

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Thanks to the growing popularity of video-on-demand services, there’s a new opportunity to help kickstart the careers of local filmmakers.

Numerous Hollywood blockbusters (District 9Tomb Raider 2018, and The Avengers: Age of Ultron to name a few) have featured substantial shoots in Johannesburg and Cape Town. While providing great opportunities for SA’s production talent, aspiring writers and directors don’t get the same benefit.

So where can local creatives showcase their work? Broadcast TV isn’t a natural home for unknown short films, and while self-publishing platforms are readily available hosting options, it’s tough to get noticed and get traffic when competing with videos from across the planet.

But with the emergence of video-on-demand services into the mainstream, there’s now a solution. The African film school AFDA has teamed up with the streaming service Showmax to give local talent a much larger platform than ever before. From 18 February, eighteen of the best recent short films made by AFDA students from their Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban and Port Elizabeth campuses will be live on Showmax. Drama, documentary, fantasy, and animation are all represented, in pieces running from under eight minutes to almost half-an-hour long. The full list of movies is included below.

Teresa Passchier, CEO of AFDA, said: “AFDA, Africa’s number-one school for the Creative Economy, is proud to kickstart this exciting and meaningful journey with Showmax and AFDA students, ensuring emerging young African filmmakers’ voices are heard and given a platform. It’s ground-breaking to share young, local, culturally relevant content on the same platform as Hollywood blockbusters. I am certain that this unique initiative will serve to boost and develop the African film industry and the careers of many young South African and African students alike.”

Included in the short films coming to Showmax are the award winners Junior and O-PunchaJunior, directed by Bert Dijkstra, picked up the Audience Award in the Made in South Africa Competition at the shnit Worldwide Shortfilmfestival Awards 2017. O-Puncha, directed by Adam Hansen, won two awards at the 5th annual Eldorado Film Festival: Best Student Made Short, and Best Editing – Alexander La Cock.

Another celebrated film is Sicela Amanzi directed by Mlu Godola, which talks to the subject of water shortage. The film’s heroine Zoleka is a mild-mannered young woman forced to go to extreme lengths when a small community’s only source of water unexpectedly collapses. The power of films like this is they shine a light on critical topical issues in new ways.

Speaking about working with the film school, Candice Fangueiro, Head of Content for Showmax, said: “There’s immense depth of filmmaking talent in Africa and it’s a privilege to be able to give that talent a home and a platform. Showmax is becoming part of the fabric of film and TV production in Africa, and importantly we’re doing this as a partner rather than just as a consumer. This is a key competitive advantage of being local and something we aim to continue to work on.”

AFDA is an Academy Award-winning institution, founded in 1994, and the first and only African film school to win an Oscar – for the Best Foreign Student film in 2006, the postgraduate film Elalini, directed by Tristan Holmes.

The full list of AFDA short films coming to Showmax is as follows:

Film titleDirectorGenre
Lullaby from the CryptKeenan Lott & Raven DavidsAnimation
Ko Ga CherenyaneSibonokuhle MyatazaDocumentary
IzilwaneKyllian RouxDrama
MallemeuleJaco Van BoschDrama
Canal StreetBrodie MuirheadDrama
On the FenceWarrick BewsDrama
The Righteous FewLindo LangaDrama
Hlogoma PeakLuke AhrensDrama
Frozen FlameCameron HeathmanAnimation
WolfBrett van DortFantasy
The Walk HomeSisanda DyantyiDrama
BearWesley RoodtDrama
JuniorBert DijkstraDrama
O-PunchaAdam HansenDrama
UmngenoSiphosethu NdungeDrama
DoreenLuvuyo Equiano NyawoseDrama
ForeverLindo LangaMusical
Sicela AmanziMlu GodolaDrama

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