The Joomla! Community Magazine™

Getting Down in Cape Town: Joomla!Day South Africa

Written by | Thursday, 01 September 2011 00:00 | Published in 2011 September
On the 19th and 20th of August, the Joomla! community in South Africa (including guests from seven countries) came together in Cape Town, to share their experience, and to learn from each other.

The venue for the event was conveniently located at the Pavilion Conference Centre, at the edge of the V&A Waterfront. One of the important factors in deciding on a venue, was the safe environment, and close proximity to a number of “watering holes”. (Joomla!Day attendees are known to get very thirsty!)

The Penguin keeping an eye on proceedings at JoomlaDay Cape South AfricaMatthew Philogene was the main organizer, and did a great job in managing everything before, and during the event. I’m privileged to also have been able to assist with the organizing of this event. This did mean sleeping only three hours a night, but it was well worth it!

Many have said, what makes Joomla! great, is not only the software (or lately the Platform), but also the International community that contribute freely at all levels and various ways, for the benefit of all.

I most definitely experienced this again with Joomla!Day South Africa - Cape Town!

Volunteers at JoomlaDay Cape TownExamples include volunteers stepping forward to help with registrations, to present sessions, to promote the event, or to give a hand where needed.

Amanda, who helped with the registrations, shared her experience of the event:

The best thing about this event for me, was the realisation that the Joomla! Community is so supportive. Whatever you need to know, there is someone out there that is completely willing to assist you for no other reason than to help. The open-source philosophy extends right throughout the network and that is very reassuring. I am a ‘newbie’ to website development, but I feel like I could ask anything, without it seeming like I am wasting anyone’s time.

Our generous sponsors also made it possible for us to have a first-class venue, and to invite a number of International Joomla! experts and evangelists.

Another example of the great spirit of the Joomla community, is how we managed to get the popular extensions developer, Peter van Westen (NoNumber!) from The Netherlands, to present sessions at our Joomla!Day.

Peter was hooked on the idea of coming to Cape Town, after I planted the seed (subsequent to meeting him in person at Jandbeyond). He took the initiative to launch a campaign to Help Get Peter to Africa! (and back again!).

Very soon, the community raised the needed funds to get him here (and back!), and he rewarded us with his knowledge and characteristic dry humor.

Peter van Westen enjoying coffee with Joomla community in Cape Town
After the event, Peter wrote:

The Joomla Day South Africa was a very welcoming and encouraging experience. The South African people are open, honest and very kind. The country is beautiful - even in the winter time. I would very much want to go back asap to meet up with my new friends again!

The Joomla! leadership was also represented here by Louis Landry (who recently stepped down as a Production Leadership Team member, but who remains one of the lead developers of the Joomla! Platform project), and Ryan Ozimek (President of the board of Open Source Matters, and worldwide Joomla! and Open Source evangelist), who traveled the long hours from the USA.

Louis led an informal Questions and Answers session, where he shared the vision and exciting new possibilities that the Joomla! Platform project provides us with.

Ryan almost did not get here, due to unexpected travel problems, but arrived full of energy, and ready to lead the attendees in shouts of, “Joomla! Rocks!”.

Ryan Ozimek delivers the keynote at JoomlaDay South Africa
Another Joomla! evangelist who joined us from the UK, was Brian Teeman (one of the Joomla co-founders). His sessions were both informative and humorous. Brian also had on his best pants!

Phehello Mofokeng, who traveled from from Johannesburg, Gauteng, (and shared how governments use Open Source software) had to following to say about this event:

JDay was an feast of knowledge, wisdom, tech know-how, connections / networking and just a mindblowing experience. Meeting J! Leadership was amazing and having an idea on the J! roadmap was informative and important. Lets do it again!

Cape Point

All too soon, Joomla!Day Cape Town was at an end, we were packed up and heading our own ways. We did however have the opportunity to share Cape Town’s natural beauty (even in winter!) with our International visitors, before they also had to depart.

A Joomla!Day event is without doubt one of the best places to learn about the software and to experience the Joomla! community! Hope to meet you at the next one.

Find out about a Joomla!Day event near you at: http://community.joomla.org/events.html

More photos of Joomla!Day Cape Town http://www.flickr.com/search/?q=jd11za

All the sessions of the event were recorded. The videos are currently being edited, and will be shared. Keep and eye on joomladay.co.za for details.

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Jacques Rentzke

Jacques Rentzke

I specialize in building and supporting web sites on the Joomla! CMS. I'm the owner of New Web Consulting, and Vice-President of the board of Open Source Matters, Inc. I also am co-organizer of the Joomla! User Group - Cape Town (JUGCT) and JoomlaDay South Africa. You can connect with me on Google