Loose thoughts on literacy, writing culture and making Edgeryders more accessible in a South African context

Yesterday evening we held the first Edgeryders workshop in South Africa, held at Jozihub with the kind support of the Swedish Embassy in Pretoria. What follows is the first of a serious of posts containing my own personal reflections and notes from the event…

[Irma Wilson] and I had several conversations ahead of the workshop and came to the conclusion that a generative workshop would result in the following outcomes: 

  • creative concepts with solid action plans for moving forward together (done)
  • a collaboration mosaic with email addresses (in progress)
  • mapping of where appropriate kinds of resources can be found if needed (didnt get this far)

Outreach, engagement and onboarding processes:

Personally I believe it is always healthy to ask who is not in the room that could contribute a lot to the conversation and actions coming out of it. Some of the discussions brushed on related issues raising questions like what could we together do to make this way of collaborating more accessible to more people. I heard somewhere, I think it was Lindy, that there was an interest in setting up an unMonastery in South Africa, and I think that this may be a good way: engaging ourselves and others around building something together and at the same time providing the means to be able to do so. I think three things are crucial to this taking off in SA:

  • Place-makeing: creating context for engagement, asking questions and exploring themes that matter to many people in a deep way
  • Town(ship) calling: Bridging online & offline interaction. E.g. Monrovian analog blogger
  • Community Engagement Management: doing online & offline outreach & acting as hosts to the people you bring into the platform. 

Another point raised was that of the skills needed in order to be able to participate and how to help one another, and others to learn them. Here someone raised the point that part of what makes Edgeryders work is that we have developed a writing culture and that getting ourselves and others to develop writing and documentation skills is crucial. As I walked past one of the groups I overhead a discussion around education, skill development and use of skills. There were a number of examples of pedagogics and effective learning methodologies e.g. hole in the wall, the Equal Education Project, etc.

What’s an effective pedagogical method for improving reading, comperehension and writing in a relatively quick time frame? Would love to hear more about this from people who’ve done field work with analphabetism (as an extreme case)…

tech to overcome the non-writing story telling african culture


when i looked at this, i immediately thought of this ‘obstacle’ i perceive between the ER model and non-writing but rather story telling culture via mobile connectivity — and this might be a great bridge