An intern’s experience at WordCamp 2018
What made this event super cool was that our first day was jammed with socialising, networking and WordPress talks that involved testing new developments (like Gutenberg) and then being able to give our feedback (all while having Truth coffee delivered to us). The second day moved on to talks about the WP community and what it’s done for people around the globe, and more specifically in Africa.
The camp isn’t just about learning a whole bunch of techy stuff, but everything that’s actually involved in the process of building a successful website, the local community, and stories from successful small businesses.
The power of open-source CMSs in Africa
On the last day, there was a speaker named Oduor Jagero (Oduor means midnight, and it’s totally the coolest name I’ve ever heard). He’s the founder and lead of CMS Africa and CMS Africa Summit, which is kind of a big deal. His talk was definitely the highlight of the camp for me, purely because his philosophy of life extends into his involvement with WordPress.
The power of content management systems, like WordPress, is that they give a voice to those who otherwise might not be heard. Open source has created the opportunity for people to establish themselves and their own business online, and remain in the same playing field as people who tend to be more technologically capable. Through open source, knowledge is shared and the entire community benefits from the collective innovation.
It was really great to see a traditional African philosophy put out into the workspace. So often we adopt this western view of working – for example, a lot of companies expect you to separate your personal identity from your working identity. And Odour expressed how backward this thinking is and that by using open sources and WordPress, we can advance our own growth as individuals and as a community.
Growing a local WP community
I think it’s something to be proud of when you put yourself in a position where you can implement your core values within your workplace. Thabo Tswana spoke about how cool creating a WP community can be, and what it’s done for communities that had no knowledge of open serves or the power of WP. Thabo started the first WP in Harare, Zimbabwe, and since then, Harare was selected to host a WordCamp Incubator.
How you can start a local WP community (or any community for that matter)
– Use the MeetUp app, you’ll be able to find people anywhere in the world with the same interests as you. If you’re using MeetUp, you can host your own event or organise a meetup to target the people who are interested in WP development. These meetups usually happen in exciting bars around the city, so it’s not like it’s going to be some lame business meetup.
– Share events with your friends and family. If you’re spreading awareness about WP communities, people can join them more easily and it’ll actually spark some interest.
– It’s just as important for underprivileged communities to have access to this information. Growing a community online means more opportunities to succeed online. Thabo spoke about how he offered to do a WP talk at a local school and it developed into so much more. He started hosting these talks annually, and the school even offered their premises for local WP events and conferences.