From 6 to 16 September, the Fak’ugesi African Digital Innovation Festival will once again transform Johannesburg into a celebration of technology, creativity, collaboration and innovation from across the African continent.
With its theme of ‘brave tech hearts beat as one’ the 2017 festival is centred on pioneering uniquely African technology and creativity in an electrifying ten-day programme to showcase the power of innovative collaboration.
The Tshimologong Precinct located at 47 Juta Street in Braamfontein will be at the heart of festivities to include opportunities for attendees to meet, play and share at a variety of seminars, talks, exhibitions, workshops, hack-a-thons, music, films, artists, games, innovation riots and much more.
Now in its fourth successful year, Fak’ugesi was originally founded by Prof Christo Doherty and Tegan Bristow from Wits Digital Arts, together with Prof Barry Dwolatzky from the Joburg Centre for Software Engineering (JCSE). From the isiZulu term meaning “add power” or “put on the electricity”, Fak’ugesi acts as a platform that brings together diverse digital and technology sectors to collaborate and share skills in digital media and technology innovation.
In the spirit of exploring the importance of technology across sectors, from engineering, to gaming, to music, to public life and social development, the primary sponsors for Fak’ugesi 2017 are the Tshimologong Precinct, Ericsson, IBM Research | Africa and Red Bull. Secondary sponsors include UN Habitat, City of Johannesburg and Maxum Digital (Innovation Hub). They are joined by the festival’s cultural partners Pro Helvetia & ANT Fund, British Council ConnectZA, French Institute, Canada 150, University of Dundee, Wits School of the Arts, NEoN Festival and Weheartbeat.
2017 Festival Director, Tegan Bristow, says this year’s Fak’ugesi Festival promises to deliver an exceptional line up geared towards bringing tech innovation to people in a fun, accessible and playful way. “Some incredible highlights at this year’s festival will include the Fak’ugesi Conference, the hugely popular Making Weekend, as well as our annual Market Hack event at the Nieghbourgoods Market in Braamfontein. We’re also thrilled to announce an exciting new curatorial partnership titled Fak’ugesi Beats, a beats, music and technology focus curated by We Heart Beat, who will go on to lead festival finale Beats Bloc Party as part of their larger program.”
Just some of the key events in this year’s ‘brave tech hearts beat as one’ Fak’ugesi Festival include:
8 September: Digital Africa Exhibition Opening & Festival Launch
8 to 10 September: Making Weekend, a free workshop programme to promote and celebrate skills development and skills exchange in the digital and technological space, catering to a variety of ages and experience levels. This will include a special focus on community driven urban design via Mixed Reality and Minecraft with Ericsson, UN Habitat and the City of Johannesburg.
11 to 13 September: Daring Curating, International Forum for Art and Technology in Africa, drawing the festival’s theme of bravery and collaboration, this forum brings together practitioners at all levels of professional experience to debate issues around curating Art and Technology in Africa.
13 to 16 September: A MAZE, welcomes African and international game developers, digital artists, forward thinkers, entrepreneurs, and digital activists to South Africa to exchange tools, skills, and ideas in the fields of independent games and playful media.
14 September: Fak’ugesi Conference, this unmissable one-day event will highlight the important conversations on the role of collaboration and interdisciplinary practice for creativity, technology and innovation in Africa.
16 September: Fak’ugesi Beats Bloc Party, curated by We Heart Beat and featuring ColabNowNow by British Council ConnectZA together with Canada 150.
YouTube Music announces Smart Downloads, SA playlists
The service has introduced Smart Downloads which takes allowing users to store and play hundreds of tunes offline, automatically.
The latest updates from YouTube Music, for subscribers of its Music Premium and Premium services, include a new feature that allows users to switch seamlessly between a song and its music video for an uninterrupted experience.
It has also introduced Smart Downloads which takes the work out of downloading music, allowing users to store and play hundreds of tunes offline, automatically. YouTube Music has also announced new playlists for South Africa.
The updates all reflect features that are popular on the global leader in music streaming, Spotify, and that have been key to its growth.
YouTube said in a statement on Friday: “Imagine listening to a new track by your favourite artist in the YouTube Music app and having the ability to seamlessly switch over to watch the music video – no pauses, no interruptions, just a simple tap that keeps the music flowing. This standout new feature from YouTube Music allows YouTube Premium and YouTube Music Premium subscribers to make a seamless transition between a song and its music video for uninterrupted listening and/or watching. Whether you’re in the mood for listening or watching (or a little of both)… it’s all here – no app switching required.”
With Smart Downloads, YouTube Music automatically saves music at night, when connected to Wi-Fi, helping subscribers to use less mobile data, enjoy a smoother updating experience and save up to 500 songs offline using Liked Songs playlist as well as other playlists and albums.
Previously, music lovers could use the Offline Mixtape feature to download up to 100 songs, specifically chosen for them based on what they listened to most on the platform. Now, with Smart Downloads, they select the number of songs they would like automatically downloaded by toggling their YouTube Music Settings. This means YouTube Music Premium subscribers with Smart Downloads enabled on their mobile devices can now access hundreds of tracks regardless of connectivity.
This feature is currently available on Android, with plans to bring it to iOS in the future.
Click here to read more about YouTube Music playlists, and find out what is inside them.
Make cars, not waste
Jaguar Land Rover is trialling an innovative recycling process which converts plastic waste into a new premium grade material that could feature on future vehicles.
It’s estimated that the amount of waste plastic is predicted to exceed 12 million tonnes globally by 2050*. Today, not all of this plastic can be recycled for use in automotive applications – especially in vehicle parts that are required to meet the most exacting safety and quality standards.
Working in conjunction with chemical company, BASF, Jaguar Land Rover is part of a pilot project called ChemCycling that upcycles domestic waste plastic, otherwise destined for landfill or incinerators, into a new high-quality material.
The waste plastic is transformed to pyrolysis oil using a thermochemical process. This secondary raw material is then fed into BASF’s production chain as a replacement for fossil resources; ultimately producing a new premium grade that replicates the high quality and performance of ‘virgin’ plastics. Importantly, it can be tempered and coloured making it the ideal sustainable solution for designing the next-generation dashboards and exterior-surfaces in Jaguar and Land Rover models.
Jaguar Land Rover and BASF are currently testing the pilot phase material in a Jaguar I-PACE prototype front-end carrier overmoulding to verify it meets the same stringent safety requirements of the existing original part.
Pending the outcome of the trials and progression in taking chemical recycling to market readiness, adoption of the new premium material would mean Jaguar Land Rover could use domestically derived recycled plastic content throughout its cars without any compromise to quality or safety performance**.
Chris Brown, Senior Sustainability Manager at Jaguar Land Rover, said: “Plastics are vital to car manufacturing and have proven benefits during their use phase, however, plastic waste remains a major global challenge. Solving this issue requires innovation and joined-up thinking between regulators, manufacturers and suppliers.
“At Jaguar Land Rover, we are proactively increasing recycled content in our products, removing single-use plastics across our operations and reducing excess waste across the product lifecycle. The collaboration with BASF is just one way in which we are advancing our commitment to operating in a circular economy.”
This is the latest example of Jaguar Land Rover’s commitment to addressing the challenge of waste plastic. The company has collaborated with Kvadrat to offer customers alternative seat options that are both luxurious and sustainable. The high-quality material, available initially on the Range Rover Velar and Range Rover Evoque, combines a durable wool blend with a technical suedecloth that is made from 53 recycled plastic bottles per vehicle.
Jaguar Land Rover has already met its 2020 target for Zero Waste to Landfill for UK operations. This includes the removal of 1.3 million m2 – equal to 187 football pitches – of plastic from its manufacturing lineside and replacing 14 million single use plastic items in business operations.
Together, these efforts are driving towards Jaguar Land Rover’s vision for Destination Zero; an ambition to make societies safer and healthier, and the environment cleaner. Delivered through relentless innovation to adapt its products and services to the rapidly-changing world, the company’s focus is on achieving a future of zero emissions, zero accidents and zero congestion.
** All Jaguar and Land Rover vehicles tested have achieved a Euro NCAP 5* rating.