Start main page content

Fak’ugesi Festival 2020 unveils exciting Heritage & Technology Programme

- Wits University

The 2020 Fak’ugesi African Digital Innovation Festival will run for one month from 20 October to 20 November 2020.

The 2020 edition of Fak’ugesi Festival, proudly hosted by the Tshimologong Digital Innovation Precinct and Wits School of Arts in Johannesburg has officially announced its exciting Heritage & Technology programme as part of festivities at this year’s live, virtual and online line-up.

The Heritage & Technology programme is one of three themed focus areas of Fak’ugesi 2020 and will run alongside the African Digital Art theme and the ever-popular gaming-centred Fak’ugesi Arcade. 

The special Heritage & Technology programme also partners with leading lights in the creative technology and GLAM (galleries, libraries, archives and museums) spaces. Dr. Tegan Bristow, Fak’ugesi African Digital Innovation Festival director, says that this year’s festival is aimed at digital artists, illustrators, and creatives across the continent under the theme of #POWERTOTHEPIXEL Powering Up Africa’s Resolution. “Under the Heritage & Technology theme we’ll be asking critical questions of how the digital creative industries and GLAM spaces can begin working together to build world class interactions with our extraordinary heritage.”

Programme highlights include Hack-Your-Culture virtual digital exhibition of hackathon outcomes. Hack-Your-Culture is a month-long hack-a-thon that began on Heritage Day on 24 September aimed at enabling various collaborations and interesting innovations, all while bringing African cultural heritage to the forefront of virtual experiences. Fak’ugesi Festival, long-time partner Goethe-Institut South Africa, and the South African digital startup Credipple, will co-host the Hack-Your-Culture closing ceremony and prize giving on 30 October 2020.

Commenting on the collaboration, Stefanie Kastner, Regional Head of Information at the Goethe-Institut South Africa says, “This is an opportunity for brave young minds to lead in the development of innovative solutions that will be used by some of the continent’s most reputable GLAM institutions. As we begin taking the first steps in recovering from the Covid-19 pandemic, we are all responsible for building a new normal that will shape our future.”

Fak'ugesi Festival 2020 

The Heritage & Technology programme then shifts gear with an inspiring panel discussion series aptly titled Challenging the Business of Digital Heritage – made possible by festival partners Goethe-Institut South Africa, Creddiple, CAV - Creative Economies Platform, National Film & Video Foundation, French Institute of South Africa, AnimationSA, and the Gauteng Film Commission.

This extraordinary line-up of critical panel discussions includes:

Heritage, Innovation & The Digital Scene Making for Glam – 27 October

A panel discussion exploring innovations in digital interactivity in museums and culture featuring:

  • Roei Amit, Head of Digital & Multimedia for Réunion des Musées Nationaux, Grand Palais (France)
  • Clive Kellner, Executive Director of the brand new Joburg Contemporary Art Foundation (South Africa)
  • Rick Treweek, Co- Founder and CTO of Eden a Johannesburg based mixed reality studio building content and solutions of culture and exhibitions. 
  • Kgololo Lekoma as co-founder of Credipple representing GLAM Hack-Your-Culture (South Africa)

Young Directors: Discovering the African Aesthetic through Animation – 27 October

An exciting exploration of the support and development of young animation directors in Africa. The panel will include a premier release of two short animations produced through the Tshimologong Digital Innovation Precinct’s Young Directors Programme (supported by Agence Française de Développement (AFD).

Panellists include:

  • Kgomotso Zebediela, Gauteng Film Commission (South Africa)
  • Lesego Vorster, Tshimologong Development Studio Lead (South Africa) 
  • Terence Maluleke, extraordinary South African animator (South Africa)

The New Media Business Of Heritage Stores: Hack-Your-Culture Panel  – 30 October

A look at the need for new business models to be considered in order to ensure the future sustainability of GLAMS. This panel will be led by the National Film & Video Foundation and will include insights from: 

  • Dr. Geraldine Frieslaar, South African History Archive (South Africa)
  • Chrsichene Julius, District Six Museum (South Africa)
  • Mandla Dube, Producer of Kalushi (South Africa)
  • Vincent Moloi, Filmmaker (South Africa)

Digitising Immersive African Stories – 4 November

This panel explores the mechanics of the rich oral traditions from Africa alongside immersive and interactive technologies. We will explore how traditional content can be reconstructed and how the essence of these traditions can be applied to create digital stories relevant to Africans.

An exciting collaboration with the Goethe Institutes, CAV Platform, and AnimationSA featuring:

  • Francina Ntsimane, Deputy Director: Gauteng Department of Economic Development within the Sector and Industry Development Branch (South Africa)
  • Melisa Allela, Lecturer, Technical University of Kenya; Project Lead, LESO Stories
  • Daliso Ngoma, MD, African Technopreneurs (South Africa)

Digitising Africa: Sustaining Access & Empowerment in Digitising African Archives – 4 November

A conversation with Robben Island Museum, French Institut National de l'Audiovisuel, and Kenyan African Digital Heritage on digitising African archives as well as an exploration of the conceptual and commercial models being put in place to achieve this. Panellists include: 

  • Chao Tayiana Maina, Founder of African Digital Heritage (Kenya)
  • Delphine Wibaux, INA Deputy Head of International Affairs (France)
  • Thabo Seshoka, Head of Heritage and Research at Robben Island Museum (South Africa)

Digital Transformation & Cultural Heritage in the Global South - 6 November

As an extension of the Hack-Your-Culture programme, this is a fully global South Conversation with contributors from Africa, Indonesia and Brazil. Led by the Goethe Institute this panel asks: ‘What could cultural institutions gain from the Open Data movement?’

The 2020 Fak’ugesi African Digital Innovation Festival will run for one month from 20 October to 20 November 2020. To register for access and book tickets for special events visit Fak’

Partners & Funders

Fak’ugesi Festival Online 2020 is brought to you by the Tshimologong Innovation Precinct in collaboration with the Wits School of Arts. Its offering in 2020 is supported by the AFD Agence française de développement, Pro Helvetia Johannesburg and the Swiss Agency for Cooperation and Development, Department of Sports, Arts and Culture, National Arts Council, Gauteng Film Commission, Wits School of Arts - Arts Research Africa, French Institute of South Africa.

Partners include: Goethe-Institut Johannesburg, Credipple, AnimationSA, Digital Lab Africa, WeAreVR and Games Industry Africa.

About Fak’ugesi African Digital Innovation Festival

Fak’ugesi, which means “Switch it on” or “add power” in urban Zulu, is focused on culture, technology and innovation in Africa. It is an opportunity for young adults, with or without formal education, to learn or engage with tomorrow’s technology.

According to an Impact Report commissioned by the British Council ConnectZA- Fak’ugesi is believed to be the most important digital creativity festival in Africa.

About Tshimologong Digital Innovation Precinct

The Tshimologong Precinct, founded by Wits University, is a true "Silicon Valley" in Johannesburg that aims to realise African digital innovation for global markets. Its ecosystem propels entrepreneurship and grows the skills pipeline for the digital economy through collaboration with academia, corporates, government and entrepreneurs. 

Driven by common goals, including the desire to combine technology, innovation and creative content, Tshimologong and the French Embassy in South Africa have joined forces to create a Digital Content Hub (DCH) - and integrate and sustain the existing Digital Lab Africa Programme – the first support programming for the production of digital content across sub-Saharan Africa initiated in 2016 by the French Embassy in South Africa. The DCH is the first project from cultural industries in Africa to have obtained funding from the Agence Française de Développement (AFD) since the extension of their mandate to these sectors.