MXit Drug Counselling at 27Dinner in Port Elizabeth

Marlon Parker, Brent Williams and Ramon Thomas at Highway Africa, Rhodes University in GrahamstownMarlon Parker will be visiting Port Elizabeth this week to present an inspirational talk at the regular 27Dinner event this Thursday in Port Elizabeth. The 27Dinner events are free events where geeks and non-geeks get together and discuss technology. The purpose of the 27Dinner events is to create awareness about how technology can be used to change in society and also for entrepreneurship and income generation. And the events happen on the 27th of the month in Cape Town, Johannesburg, Pretoria and Durban. This will be the 3rd 27Dinner event in the Nelson Mandela Bay area.

A big part of the motivation for bringing Marlon Parker to Port Elizabeth is to kick start the DAS@MXit in Nelson Mandela Bay area. Over the last three years MXit has grown to over 10 million registered users. This platform, the most widely used instant messaging platform among people 12-25 years old is the most practical method of providing online counselling. In North America and other parts of the world Internet-based online counselling has been available for years now. However, due to the cost of bandwidth in South Africa, cellphone-based online counselling is more practical alternative.

The other guest speakers will be confirmed today and their information posted on where you have to register and add your name to the particular event you would like to attend, in the city of your own choice. Stormhoek wines have sponsored free bottles of wine in Cape Town and Johannesburg. I have yet to persuade them to send some wine to Port Elizabeth for our enjoyment.

This is also the final function for the year that the NETucation team will be organising because we are shifing our focus inwards until 1 March 2009. Planning my 2009 schedule is going to be one of the key success factors to grow the audience to this blog as well as to my other online efforts.


PR 2.0 Blogging Workshop with Marlon Parker's Team

Tomorrow, I am training a team of loyal drug counsellors from Impact Direct Ministries on how to use blogging to get themselves onto television, radio, newspapers or magazines – all things I have done because of my blogging. They are learning fast and furiously about technology from Marlon Parker, senior lecturer at Cape Peninsula University of Technology. Marlon is a Ph.D candidate who is doing his thesis on how technology can be used for social change and conflict management.

Marlon Parker personally trains recovered and reformed drug addicts from the Cape Flats on how to use technology like MXit to do a form of peer-counselling using South Africa’s #1 cellphone-based IM and social network. After meeting Brent Williams, one of the drug counsellors, who came to 3rd annual Digital Citizen Indaba and Highway Africa this year, I resolved to use all the resource to assist them.

Marlon Parker’s work is ground breaking in a global sense. However, the facts speak for themselves because he is doing this with ZERO budget! Yes, he is doing this with sheer willpower and determinations and no corporate or government funding! He is doing what the MXit (Pty) Ltd even with allmighty Naspers Ltd behind it, has not been able to deliver after two years of promises. This MXit/Facebook/cellphone-based online counselling project is helping hundreds of children from the Western Cape to find their way on their own personal hero’s journey.

With your assistance we can reach half of the approximately 9 million users by 2010. The more children we help, the more families we assist, the stronger the communities become in self reliance and mutual aid across South Africa.