Goethe-Institut Johannesburg an organization originally from Germany with branches in over 100 countries held a gaming workshop at Mabopane Skills Center (eKasiLabs) over the past weekend on the 27-28 August under the theme #every gamer counts. The purpose of the event was to introducing games development (design) and commercialization to marginalized areas and people especially women and disabled people.
The organization with its headquarters in Johannesburg has three departments the Gamebox, the Hub and the Library which serve different purposes. Through the gaming workshops which have been running over two weeks have been held in Soweto, Alexandre and Mabopane. According to Vulane Mthembu the Gamebox & Innovation officer two groups showed up to the event in Mabopane namely those with limited information about games design and those who had no prior experience or knowledge.
“Our biggest challenge with this project was that it was the first time we went out of our circles and directly to the various communities.” Mthembu said. According to Nesa Froehlech the head of information services the highlight of the event was seeing how the participants received the project and sharing their experience, including meeting with other games and realizing that this could be a commercial venture and opportunity.
The organizers said they have partnered with stakeholders from the communities they had the workshops in to ensure there’s continuation and participants will also be granted access to their headquarters to gain access to more resources to assist in their gaming endeavor. Tsa Pitori also spoke to Kim who’s the project coordinator responsible for facilitating everyone in the project was happy with how the project turned out.
“Mabopane had the highest basic computer literacy in terms of participants compared to other communities we had the workshops in.” Kim said. He added and said the downside to the event held in Mabopane was the turnout of female participants as the one only one female he showed up over the past two days of the workshops.
Tsa Pitori also spoke to the only female participant in the workshop by the name of Linda Letlape from Soshanguve who’s a grade 12 learner. She said she found out about the project through a teacher at her school who made the announcement and she was the only one who showed interest. “My brother is an IT specialist and I’m also an artist and I used to do drawings for games and also like playing video games, that’s what sparked my interest in participating.” She said.
If you’re interested in learning more about gaming visit Goethe.de/Johannesburg or follow them on all social media platforms for more information about their projects and other endeavors.
By: Dave Balo