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As a protest against the lack of accessibility and affordability of the internet in South Africa, ZA-FREE took the net to the streets in form of a #bitswap event.

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The team of the #bitswap event – from left to right:
Spinsista Mitzi, Julia Ranzani, David Robert Lewis, Stanley Edwards

 

As a protest against the lack of accessibility and affordability of the internet in South Africa, file sharing took to the streets in form of a #bitswap event.

ZA-FREE took the net to the streets at Open Streets Cape Town, which aims to engage everyone in re-designing and re-working the use of public streets.

The bitswap event was one of the interventions of 100 in 1 day, a civil action day where people take ownership of their city and create a better place to live.

While the rest of the world’s economy is thriving on uploading and downloading content from the cloud, South Africa is so behind with its broadband infrastructure that accessing the cloud is not affordable for a large group of people.

The ZA-FREE initiative encourages a DIY approach to file-sharing:

“We are promoting radical alternatives to costly Internet services. South Africans can home-bake the Internet, we can do it for ourselves, in our own backyard. No more expensive downloads, we urge users to embrace free file sharing and swapping of bits and bytes via wifi hotspots, mesh networks, bluetooth and USB.” states David Robert Lewis from Ubuntuponics.

At the bitswap event computer facilities and an open wifi network were set up right on the street to invite passers-by to swap content.

Security measures were implemented to prevent illegal file sharing:

“There’s enough free content out there, plus the focus is on local content. We have so much talent in South Africa. Budding creatives and entrepreneurs are in need of spreading their content to create awareness and thus give some of it away for free.” explains Julia Ranzani from Creative Communications.

A free content library was set up on the day in collaboration with Ogle and Spinsista Mitzi.

Ogle is operating educational and entertainment content kiosks in an effort to close the last mile gap of content delivery: http://oglemedia.co.za/our-solution

Spinsista Mitzi is a well-established Capetonian DJ who generously donated some funky tunes in form of podcasts: https://soundcloud.com/spinsista

Interest about content swapping and internet accessibility was high and the team spent most of the day providing information. The photos show how much fun it was: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.523796234377372

For more information and to be part of the next bitswap event join ZA-FREE: https://www.facebook.com/groups/58254549200

The bitswap event was kindly sponsored by Gandalf’s who offered access to their facilities and Dial a Nerd who donated the computer equipment for the day.

 

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