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Move to unify SA esports

While a few highly professional local events and tournaments have paved the way for a bigger esports environment in SA, we’re not quite there yet, so at this year’s rAge will Bravado Gaming and NAG will step up ready to pitch their ideas on unifying this phenomenon.

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Esports in South Africa sometimes appears to be an under-explored arena, with a general lack of education and understanding as to what it actually is, even though it’s grown prodigiously in other parts of the world. A good example is the rise of Dota 2’s The International, which is now vying to be one of the most lucrative sporting competitions across any code on the planet.

Although there are myriad reasons for this, some of the major issues stem from simple miscommunication, a lack of infrastructure, and a basic misunderstanding of what exactly esports is. The somewhat stunted growth of this market locally has done little to inspire confidence in investors. While a few highly professional local events and tournaments have paved the way for a bigger esports environment in SA, we’re not quite there yet.

Enter Bravado Gaming and NAG

This year’s rAge will see Bravado Gaming and NAG stepping up to the proverbial plate, ready to pitch their ideas on unifying this phenomenon for South Africans, so that a central point of communication and awareness may one day be achieved.

In a joint collaboration, NAG and Bravado Gaming will be running an esports activation at rAge, with three days of scheduled talks that’ll be open to anyone and everyone to attend.

“As an individual who has worked with some of the best esports athletes, brands and businesses on this continent, I’m happy that we’ll be working side-by-side with NAG to establish and perform a three-day activation that will be aimed at creating awareness in a variety of gaming and ecosystem topics. We want to ensure that we can push out different messages from different angles in order to answer a lot of unanswered questions. We want to build an interactive environment that will allow people not to just see, but to listen and experience,” comments CEO of Bravado Gaming, Andreas Hadjipaschali.

“I’m very happy to announce the NAG partnership with Bravado. We’ve seen these guys and girls grow from participating in the very first Counter-Strike tournament that was hosted at rAge by Arena 77 many, many years ago, to become one of the top teams in South Africa and beyond. Who better to guide and teach a new generation of esports professionals? I’m excited to see what comes of this initiative,” says Michael James, Senior Project Manager, rAge expo.

The fun starts here

The format of these activities will be from an educational and informative aspect, and will include 20-minute talks on different subjects like the business behind running an esports team, the benefits of becoming a pro-gamer, team dynamics, accessing sponsors, and more.

During the breaks, visitors will have the chance to jump on the Alienware PCs and monitors (and if you know anything about Alienware hardware, this should turn your legs to jelly), as well as pick the brains of the pros to take their first steps toward bringing their bravado.

“Bringing Your Bravado” is about more than the simple whittling away of hours behind a screen. It’s about learning a new culture and adapting to its rules. It’s about educating people about a platform that the modern world is fast embracing. It’s about being the best you can be in a new world.

Hadjipaschali adds: “I believe that general social and competitive gaming is understated in our country. The problem isn’t the market, it’s the collectivity of the market and the way this information is portrayed. Together with NAG, we’re going to work on this initiative in which social and competitive gamers, semi-professionals, esports athletes and tech enthusiasts will understand the message in clear light on how to further whatever bravado they want to achieve.”

 

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Get your passwords in shape

New Year’s resolutions should extend to getting password protection sorted out, writes Carey van Vlaanderen, CEO at ESET Southern Africa.

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Many of us have entered the new year with a boat load of New Year’s resolutions.  Doing more exercise, fixing unhealthy eating habits and saving more money are all highly respectable goals, but could it be that they don’t go far enough in an era with countless apps and sites that scream for letting them help you reach your personal goals.

Now, you may want to add a few weightier and yet effortless habits on top of those well-worn choices. Here are a handful of tips for ‘exercises’ that will go good for your cyber-fitness.

I won’t pass up on stubborn passwords

Passwords have a bad rap, and deservedly so: they suffer from weaknesses, both in terms of security and convenience, that make them a less-than-ideal method of authentication.  However, much of what the internet offers is independent on your singing up for this or that online service, and the available form of authentication almost universally happens to the username/password combination.

As the keys that open online accounts (not to speak of many devices), passwords are often rightly thought of as the first – alas, often only – line of defence that protects your virtual and real assets from intruders. However, passwords don’t offer much in the way of protection unless, in the first place, they’re strong and unique to each device and account.

But what constitutes a strong password?  A passphrase! Done right, typical passphrases are generally both more secure and more user-friendly than typical passwords. The longer the passphrase and the more words it packs the better, with seven words providing for a solid start. With each extra character (not to mention words), the number of possible combinations rises exponentially, which makes simple brute-force password-cracking attacks far less likely to succeed, if not well-nigh impossible (assuming, of course, that the service in question does not impose limitations on password input length – something that is, sadly, far too common).

Click here to read about making secure passwords by not using dictionary words, using two-factor authentication, and how biometrics are coming to web browsers.

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Code Week prepares 2.3m young Africans for future

By SUNIL GENESS, Director Government Relations & CSR, Global Digital Government, at SAP Africa.

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On January 6th, 2019, news broke of South African President Cyril Ramaphosa’s plans to announce a new approach to education in his second State of the Nation address, including:

  • A universal roll-out of tablets for all pupils in the country’s 23 700 primary and secondary schools
  • Computer coding and robotics classes for the foundation-phase pupils from grade 1-3 and the
  • Digitisation of the entire curriculum, , including textbooks, workbooks and all teacher support material.

With this, the President has shown South Africa’s response to a global challenge: equipping our youth with the skills they’ll need to survive and thrive in the 21st century digital economy.

Africa’s working-age population will increase to 600 million in 2030 from a base of 370 million in 2010.

In South Africa, unemployment stands at 26.7 percent, but is much more pronounced among youths: 52.2 percent of the country’s 15-24-year-olds are looking for work.

As an organisation deeply invested in South Africa and its future, SAP has developed and implemented a range of initiatives aimed at fostering digital skills development among the country’s youth, including:

AFRICA CODE WEEK

Since its launch in 2015, Africa Code Week has introduced more than 4 million African youth to basic coding.

In 2018, more than 2.3 million youth across 37 countries took part in Africa Code Week.

The digital skills development initiative’s focus on building local capacity for sustainable learning resulted in close to 23 000 teachers being trained in the run-up to the October 2018 events.

Vital to the success of Africa Code Week is the close support it receives from a broad spectrum of public and private sector institutions, including UNESCO YouthMobile, Google, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the Cape Town Science Centre, the Camden Education Trust, 28 African governments, over 130 implementing partners and 120 ambassadors across the continent.

SAP’s efforts to drive digital skills development on the African continent forms part of a broader organisational commitment to the UN Sustainable Development Goals, specifically Goal 4 (“Ensure quality and inclusive education for all”)

A core component of Africa Code Week is to encourage female participation in STEM-related skills development activities: in 2018, more than 46% of all Africa Code Week participants were female.

According to Africa Code Week Global Coordinator Sunil Geness, female representation in STEM-related fields among African businesses currently stands at 30%, “requiring powerful public-private partnerships to start turning the tide and creating more equitable opportunities for African youth to contribute to the continent’s economic development and success”.

Click here to read more about the Skills for Africa graduate training programme, and about the LEGO League.

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