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No, it’s not scheduled to happen yet, or anywhere near it, but we’re heartened by this discussion on Afrigadget and Ned forums about the possibility of holding a Maker Faire in Africa next year. The amount of clever, locally appropriate innovation that gets profiled on blogs like Afrigadget leave us continually impressed, and also frustrated that more attention isn’t paid, or more capital and distribution channels made available.

The domestic Maker Faires that have been going on in the US for the past few years have featured a combination of whimsy, hi-tech, development, and hobbyist work. An African Maker Faire though, according to the post, would focus on fabrication, asking, “What happens when you put the drivers of ingenious concepts from Mali with those from Ghana and Kenya, and add resources to the mix?

Although specifics are lacking, interest appears high, and an organizing team for the effort will be meeting next summer at Nkrumah University in Ghana as part of the International Development Design Summit. Best of luck, guys — we’re fascinated.

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I’ve been thinking for a while now how great it would be to have a Maker-Faire-type event in South Africa when Jess Hemerly from the Institute for the Study of the Future sent me a link to an AfriGadget post by Erik Hersman on the idea (original post by Emeka Okafor is here). I always wanted the iSummit to be more about really making stuff: making, building, working together on concrete, real things that you can touch, test and experiment with (Maker-Faire’s strapline encapsulates my favorite things in the world: build, craft, hack, play). I think it’s one of the best ways to learn and one of the most important ways to show how innovation can work in the digital space after the event (where there isn’t the awesome opportunity for people to get together physically).

According to AfriGadget, the organising team of the Ghana event ‘will collaborate with the organizers of the International Development Design Summit (IDDS), which will be held at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) in mid/late Summer 2009?. There are so many potential partners for an SA event, but I’m particularly interested in the intersection of music and the arts (thinking of Dean Henning’s awesome musical toys ‘basic circuit bending’ experiments at LiquidFridge in 2007).

More soon…

Pic by Nortis on Flickr CC BY NC SA