Technology & Convergence In Brief:


- Communications Minister Ivy Matsepe-Casaburi is expected to give an update on the readiness of South Africa's Information and Communications Technology (ICT) infrastructure ahead of the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup and the 2010 FIFA World Cup next week.

- The South African Democratic Alliance asked the Public Protector on Monday to investigate the alleged abuse of state funds in some SABC broadcasts. This emerged from a letter - that was released to the media - from DA MP Motlatjo Thetjeng to the Protector, Lawrence Mushwana. He has been asked to examine "three possible cases of abuse of state resources involving the department of housing and the department of agriculture as well as the abuse of the website of the SA embassy in Netherlands to promote the ANC".

- Collaboration between the SABC's “Traffic Watch” team, Marketel, NGN Telecoms, Vodacom and the SABC's New Media Unit has resulted in an up-to-the-minute “News Break” traffic update service. By dialing 082 152 and choosing option 3 (traffic), users will connect to a “service within a service” that should allow them to hear a list of incidents affecting the flow of traffic on the country's roads, on a 24/7 basis. Incident information is gathered from a variety of sources including the motoring public, national, provincial and local traffic and roads authorities, emergency services, toll-road operators and road-building and maintenance contractors.

- The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) has introduced a new standard for IPTV services, Recommendation ITU-T Y.1901, which specifies high-level requirements for the support of IPTV services, including requirements concerning service offering, QoS/QoE, service and content protection, middleware, content, network and end system aspects.

- The board chairman of the Namibian Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) is "technically still chairman but not practically", according to Information and Communication Technology Minister Joel Kaapanda. Responding to media questions last week after announcing the latest Cabinet decisions, Minister Kaapanda said NBC board chairman Ponhele ya France had handed his de facto dismissal to his lawyers. "Ya France does not attend board meetings any more. This issue can take a long time," the Minister said. Ya France had to face a vote of no confidence by the NBC board after Minister Kaapanda reportedly had summoned Ya France to his office towards the end last year, informing him he was unhappy with his performance and wanted to fire him.

- The High Court trial of former Namibian Broadcasting Corporation Director General Gerry Munyama has been postponed for close to seven months because of the withdrawal of Munyama's defence counsel on Friday.

- Over 70 Golden Horns were awarded at the third South African Film and Television Awards (SAFTAs), held at the Pretoria State Theatre on Saturday, 7 February 2009. Both Cynthia Shange and Carl Fischer received Lifetime Achievement Awards.

- South African broadcasting legend Kevin Savage has been appointed GM of MPowerFM, effective 1 February 2009, the independent Mpumalanga radio station has announced. Savage replaces founding GM Bondo Ntuli, who resigned in December 2008 to reportedly pursue a private business opportunity in Mpumalanga's entertainment industry.

- Zandile Nkonyeni has been appointed to the newly created position of publicity manager for SABC2, South Africa’s mational broadcaster announced on 12 February 2009. She will also act as the official channel spokesperson.

- The director of Somalia's independent HornAfrik radio station, Said Tahlil Ahmed, has been killed in the capital. An eyewitness told the BBC a group of journalists were attacked on their way to a press conference called by the hardline Islamist militia al-Shabab. Gunmen escaped from the scene and no-one has claimed responsibility. Al-Shabab does not support the new president - Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, a moderate Islamist - recently elected by MPs as part of a peace process.


The 21st edition of the Pan-African Film & TV Festival (FESPACO) will take place from 28 February to 7 March 2009 under the theme: "African Cinema: Tourism and Cultural Heritage". The upcoming edition will coincide with the 40th anniversary of the Festival and the 20th anniversary for the African Film Library of Ouagadougou.

In 40 years, FESPACO has positioned itself as one of the major film events across the continent.

A wide range of activities to celebrate the anniversaries include itinerant exhibitions on the years of FESPACO and African cinema, film screenings, conferences on FESPACO and the FESPACO Foundation.

The 2009 edition will pay tribute to Ousmane Sembene, doyen of African film and pioneer of FESPACO, who passed away on 9 June 2007. He was one of the pioneers of African movie industry and a regular of FESPACO having attended nearly all the Festival's editions without a break from 1969 to 2005. Sembene made more than twenty films including 9 features, and always believed in and defended Africa’s cinema all over the world. Sembene the African, endeavoured to promote FESPACO and to unite filmmakers across the continent and the development of African cinema.

Every session of FESPACO includes the official competition, a highlight of this the biennial event of African cinema. The official competition is exclusively reserved for African and Diaspora Films. The competition is open for Feature films, Short films and Documentaries. The Diaspora competition is reserved for Feature films made by filmmakers from the Diaspora. Prizes for these competitions include amounts up to 2,000,000 F CFA

To celebrate its 40th anniversary properly, FESPACO has invited eminent filmmakers, academics, writers, artists and communicators from all over the world. All of the film industry trades will be represented, from fashion, to music, and even politicians will join to celebrate cinema in Africa.

FESPACO remains a major and favourite platform for meeting and networking for film industry practitioners in Africa and globally. Film and audio-visual practitioners worldwide will be participating in the various workshops and panels.

You may remember that we were in contact last year regarding the exciting programme of films we have curated as part of the Birds Eye View Film Festival. The festival celebrates women filmmakers from around the globe, March 5th-13th, at the ICA and BFI London.

Birds Eye View Film Festival, ICA, London

This year’s Birds Eye View Film Festival is 9 day festival jam-packed with over 70 events and a particular focus on films made within developing countries. It takes a trip around Nigeria’s Nollywood, the world's third largest film industry, meet an animator from Trinidad and Tobago, as well as the talented director of Goddesses - a documentary depicting ordinary women leading extra-ordinary lives in India. Other features include world-class shorts, exclusive director masterclasses and training, plus one-off live music-film events, moving image innovation, parties and much much more. The festival celebrates women filmmakers from around the globe, March 5th-13th, at the ICA and BFI London. For more details:

Talent Campus Durban 24 - 28 July 2009 at the 30th Durban International Film Festival

The 30th Durban International Film Festival (22 July - 2 August 2009) is proud to announce the 2nd edition of Talent Campus Durban from 24 - 28 July 2009, an intensive 5-day programme of workshops and seminars delivered by film professionals to enhance both theoretical and practical approaches to filmmaking. The 2nd Talent Campus Durban theme Roots and Shoots: Creating a New African Cinema will focus activities towards the development of new partnerships between African filmmakers.

Talent Campus Durban invites filmmakers from Africa to apply to participate in these workshops and seminars, which take place in Durban, South Africa, over five days. In addition to specific activities offered by the Campus, the selected talents will have the opportunity to attend films and events at the 30th Durban International Film Festival.

Deadline for application: 16 March 2009

Talent Campus Durban is produced as a cooperation between the Durban International Film Festival and the Berlinale Talent Campus, and Berlin International Film Festival and is supported by the German Embassy in South Africa, the Goethe Institute South Africa and the Department of Economic Development - KwaZulu-Natal.

The Durban International Film Festival is organised by the Centre for Creative Arts (UKZN) with principle funding and support from the National Film & Video Foundation, HIVOS, SABC, Stichting Doen, Department of Economic Development - KwaZulu-Natal, City of Durban, and the Ethekwini Municipality.

Botswana: Invitation to tender for consultancy services to undertake a broadcasting audience survey

The Botswana Telecommunications Authority (BTA or Authority) invites tenders from interested parties to provide consultancy services to undertake audience survey of the broadcasting industry in Botswana.

The BTA therefore intends to carry out a broadcasting survey on behalf of the NBB to establish the extend and nature of television and radio audiences in Botswana since the introduction of competition in the broadcasting sector in Botswana.

The bidding consultancy firms should have experience in carrying out broadcasting audience surveys especially in developing markets.

Tender documents with an outline of the scope of work can be collected from the BTA office from 17th February 2009. Bidders are required to pay a non-refundable fee of Two Thousand Pula (BWP 2 000.00) VAT inclusive or its convertible foreign currency equivalent.

The tender documents could also be obtained through e-mail upon proof of payment of the said fee to the BTA account which would be given upon request.

Bid documents should be submitted in a soft copy together with one(01) original plus five(05) copies (hard copies) enclosed in separate plain inner envelopes and marked “original” and “copies” as appropriate, sealed in one plain outer cover labeled “TENDER FOR THE BROADCASTING AUDIENCE SURVEY IN BOTSWANA” and properly addressed to the Authority at the following address:

The Chief Executive
Botswana Telecommunications Authority
Plot 206/207 Independence Avenue
Private Bag 00495

Bids should reach the BTA not later than 12:00 hours, (GMT+2) on 27 March 2009 and the bids will be opened on the same day at 12:05 hours at the BTA offices in the presence of bidders or their representatives.

Interested bidders may obtain further information from:

Mr Caiphus Moletsane
Tel: +267 395 7755
Fax: +267 395 7976