Harare, Zimbabwe will be hosting its second WordCamp on November 4, 2017, at Hellenic Academy. The city was one of three selected to be part of the WordCamp Incubator Program in 2016. Harare’s first WordCamp was successful in connecting the local WordPress community and inspiring local leaders to carry on with organizing future events.
Last year the Harare WordPress Meetup had 82 members and the group has nearly doubled in size with 142 members today. Members meet every month and communicate outside of meetings via an active WhatsApp group. The current venue they use was donated by Moto Republik, thanks to one of the members Munya Bloggo, who works there.
“It was always the goal of the WordCamp Incubator program to organize an easily-reproducible event that we could organize independently in the years to come,” 2017 lead organizer Thabo Tswana said. “We expected it of ourselves. Some attendees and organizers actually approached me about the next WordCamp during WordCamp Harare 2016.”
Tswana said the turnout at last year’s event was larger than he expected, because very few attendees booked tickets online. The majority ended up buying tickets at the door on the day of the event, a fairly uncommon scenario for most WordCamps that makes it somewhat difficult to estimate total attendees.
“One of the biggest impacts that WordCamp had was introducing us to the WordPress Community,” Tswana said. “There are so many WordPress users in Zimbabwe (bloggers, designers, developers) but hardly anyone knew about the WordPress Community or how to contribute to WordPress. We now have a growing meetup group and the local community is starting to become more aware of what WordPress has to offer.”
The local community consists primarily of developers and advanced WordPress users and Tswana said he would like see more of them getting involved with contributing. As the majority of meetup members are new to the larger WordPress community, they are still learning about the many ways users can contribute back to the project.
Two Harare WordPress Meetup members, Kudakwashe Zafevere and Rima Trew, arranged for Hellenic Academy to donate a venue for WordCamp Harare 2017. The facilities are well-suited to hosting a tech event with wifi available.
“This year, some local companies and organizations expressed interest in helping us out,” Tswana said. “We definitely expect more attendees due to the buzz that was created by last year’s WordCamp. To sum it all up, more people and organizations are getting involved this year.”