Developers in South Africa get down for a 48-hour hack

This weekend in Cape Town, South Africa a team of hackers will compete for R25,000 ($3,500) in the first-ever Code4Democracy Hackathon.

Justin Arenstein, an African-based media strategist and entrepreneur, said Africa’s developers can use their talent to change South Africa while calling for digital activists, designers, developers and data journalists to take part in South Africa’s first open data movement .

Winners will take home R25,000 ($3,500) from their Web and software applications. The developers have to come up with apps to help make the government more accountable and transparent as well as empower citizens and make public service delivery efficient.

According to Arenstein in his post,participants will be granted access to previously difficult to find government databases, including the national and Cape Town budgets, salary scales for politicians, health data, and contact information for constituency representatives to use as ‘feedstock’ for their hackathon ideas.

Project teams are also welcome to bring or source their own datasets, or to instead build digital projects that don’t use data and instead use crowdsourcing or other civic engagement strategies.

Code4Democracy wants to help make governments accountable to their citizens. The Hackathon begins today at 6pm on Friday 3 and continues till August 5. The hackathon will be held in Ndifuna Ukwazi office room 203, 47 on Strand, Cape Town.

The Code4Democracy event is the first public gathering hosted by the new ODADI (Open Data & Democracy Initiative) coalition, and will offer R25,000 ($3,500) in cash prizes and tech support for ideas that have the potential to empower ordinary citizens, make government more transparent, or make public services more efficient and open.

HacksHackers Cape Town is a founding member of ODADI and a lead organiser of the Code4Democracy hackathon.

Launched in June 2012, the Open Data and Democracy Initiative (ODADI) is an open, non-partisan community of citizens, activists, technologists, journalists, and entrepreneurs dedicated to developing and applying practical open technologies and promoting open data as a means to efficient governance, increased transparency, improved service delivery and the empowerment of South African citizens.

Gustav Praekelt a mobile evangelist and social entrepreneur will deliver the keynote address at the 48-hour Code4Democracy hackathon in Cape Town on August 4 and 5. Praekelt is engaged in several projects which are said to have impacted over 50 million people across 15 African countries.

According to a release, South Africa’s first civic hackathon is organised by Code4Democracy and HacksHackers Cape Town.

The Code4Democracy hackathon has been made possible via a seed grant from the AfricanMediaInitiative’s prototype fund for civic engagement, as well as through logistic support from the Open Society Foundation’s Money & PoliticsProject (MaPP) and venue and material support from Cape Town’s NdifunaUkwazi center for active citizenship.

Other ODADI coalition members assisting with the Code4Democracy hackathon include HacksHackersCapeTown, the OpenDemocracyAdviceCenter, the ParliamentaryMonitoringGroup, the Right2Know campaign, and the SiliconCape initiative.

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