Python in Africa¶
The African Python movement is one of the most exciting things I have ever encountered.
In 2015 I helped organise PyCon Namibia.
It was the first African PyCon outside South Africa. We spent four days in talks and workshops, and it was a wholly new experience for everyone concerned. I haven’t missed a PyCon Namibia since then.
Of all the events in the open-source software calendar, it’s the one closest to my heart.
More African PyCons¶
PyCon Namibia was back the following year, and this time the attendees included visitors from other African countries.
Anna Makarudze and Humphrey Butau travelled from Harare (a gruelling 33-hour minibus ride in each direction). Aisha Bello represented the Nigerian Python community. In 2018, Noah Alorwu travelled from Accra.
In each case, it proved to be the springboard for a new PyCon, and further community-building.
Anna and Humphrey helped organise the first PyCon Zimbabwe, Anna did the same for PyCon Nigeria, and Noah for PyCon Ghana (I got to attend that event, in 2018).
As well as building their own software communities, these individuals and their colleagues have been noticed further afield for their contributions, as speakers at international events and participants in distributed projects such as Django (Anna for example has served on the board of the Django Software Foundation for several years, and now its President).
Holding these African software events has also drawn in many visitors from beyond Africa, making a huge difference to the profile of African software development, and building valuable connections.
There are not many initiatives that - year-after-year - bring together international speakers and authors with African high-school pupils, and have them attend each other’s talks and workshops and sit at the same table for lunch.
Not least of the outcomes of all this effort and activity is the sense of kinship and connections across African open-source software communities that has been fostered, leading up to PyCon Africa.
This was the first-ever pan-African PyCon, and took place in Accra in August 2019 - 323 attendees from 26 countries, for a five-day event.
COVID-19 took a lot of the wind out of the sails of African Python events. PyCon Africa 2020 was held online, and then the event was paused.
The first African DjangoCon should have taken place in October 2020, but has had to wait until 2023: DjangoCon Africa, Zanzibar.
And more will follow!