It just so happened that I was in Cape Town for some open source related business (Freedom Toasters for Northern Cape) and decided to spend a weekend in town. I was dining at Kloof Street on Friday evening when Monique phones me asking if I would not like to visit RLabs the following day and join the Mom3.0 session. Well, of course I would. And what an amazing group of women it was!
RLabs is situated in Bridgetown under the shadows of the Athlone power station cooling towers “salt and pepper”. As I was turning off from N2, driving past a fancy looking mall through side streets and asking people for directions I was excited. I had heard about the work in the Reconstructed Living Lab, read about it and met Marlon Parker in quite a few events but never actually visited the centre. There is a few potential buildings on the street and it takes one U-turn to find the brown brick building with Youth Centre sign one can hardly read from a distance.
In front of the centre a legion of boys and young men greet me in the most polite way, giving directions and wanting to have a chat. I found it hard to believe that this is a community plagued with violence, drugs and gangsterism. Can’t quite put my finger on it but definitely something positive is cooking. First time in the community like this I felt a sense of pride. Or hope. Or future perhaps.
After the session there was no question about it. I want to be part of this! Yes, I will gladly spend a day in Athlone. There is no other place in the world I want to be right now but to watch community soccer and hear the old men shouting at the referee (some things don’t change no matter where in the world you are). Sun is shining, mountains surround the field and people are out.
And the moms? Mom3.0 Cafe Session is a social media gettogether for women. Twitter, blogging, Facebook and Gmail is shared every second Saturday by Monique Theron and Rene Parker. The class will last almost a year and after that ladies will be social media fundis. Monique herself is a graduate of the reconstructed class 2008 and blogging at She’s the Geek. At this session we concentrated on Twitter. Some where used to it, others signing up for the first time. Vibe at the session was fantastic to say the least. I had forgotten the special magic in all women technology groups. You can meet The Moms and feel the vibe on Twitter.
RLabs is “reconstructing communities through innovation”. Just check out their amazing projects and results. I surely was humbled and awed. It is rare one meets so many genuinly good people that inspire you to work better, smarter and get involved. I believe we found a perfect venue to launch our trail in January.