A letter to the Python community in Africa

So far, we’re up to 4000 employees learning basic to intermediate Python.

How Dimension Data launched a #LearnToCode initiative for 31,000 employeesBack in September 2016, I was interviewed for an episode of “Developer on Fire” and shared that I was changing roles…medium.

comGoing to Eastern Africa…“Eastern Africa” has many countries, like Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and South Sudan.

Uganda hosts over 1,000,000 refugees and Python is being used as a way to reeducate people in dire need of opportunity.

This presentation by Linus Wamanya, Kato Joshua, and Buwembo Murshid speak to some of the ways Python is being used in Eastern Africa.

It’s hard not to be moved by this talk,Kenya, on the East Coast of Africa with a coastline on the Indian Ocean, is known for Safari tours.

Kenya’s 2 major cities, Nairobi and Mombasa are host to communities of Python developers.

Kenya’s capital, Nairobi has a regular Python meetup with over 1300 members where people can learn about complex Python technologies like Concurrency and Gevent.

Kenya’s PyCon “PyCon-KE” was sponsored by International tech companies like Microsoft and Google, as well as innovative African FinTech Jumo.

The tracks at PyCon-KE 2018 focused on IoT, AI, Data Science and Web Development.

It’s easy to see how with African tech startup and local innovators, these companies can thrive.

Data Science featured heavily at the PyCon in Nairobi, even getting the local youth involved with “Data Science for Kids” talk by a local high school student.

2017’s PyCon KE hosted programmes for the local youth too, like this music-oriented concept using Sonic Pi.

PyConKeTunapanda Institute had the opportunity to carry out a three hour workshop in which the participants learned how to…medium.

comI could share 100’s of stories from Kenya, but we have another 40+ countries to explore…Tanzania’s capital, Dar es Salaam is hiring Python developers to be part of Africa-wide data journalism and civic technologies fund, “Code for Africa”Tanzania Calling: help us kickstart data journalism and civic tech in Dar es SalaamWe’re expanding Code for Africa into Tanzania, and are looking for local media innovators and digital pioneers to help…medium.

comCfA’s projects include “Drone Journalism” initiatives to give citizens ‘actionable information’ on issues such as air and water pollution.

Rwanda is host to a thriving developer community.

It’s a small country with 12 million but that doesn’t stop them from innovating in the fields of data science and AI.

Local DjangoGirls team, “Django Girls Kigali” host workshops in the countries capital to teach them about software development, Internet tech and web development.

There are also social startups in Kigali, like Nyaruka, who use Django and other open-source technology to build software for local companies and NGO’s.

Artificial Intelligence again is being researched and taught in Rwanda, with a local group “AI Saturdays”, a social club for AI developers and researchers.

Central and West AfricaCentral Africa has huge swathes of lush rainforest, the rainforest in the Congo is the 2nd largest in the world after the Amazon.

Population density is low in the center due to the environment, so if you go further West and work up and around the coast, you’ll find Pythonista’s-a-plenty.

Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa, with over 15% of the people in the continent living there.

Lagos, the nation’s capital has a large and rapidly growing Python community.

Aisha Bello, another inspiring person in the African Python scene co-organizes PyCon-NG, PyLadies and Django Girls.

PyCon-NG, the PyCon hosted in Lagos was host to some of the best tech talent in Africa.

It was also one of the most diverse PyCon’s in the worldPYCON NIGERIA 2018 REPORT“Python: Building the Universe We Love” was the theme for the 2018 edition of the Python Conference Nigeria.

It was yet…medium.

comFor a quick glimpse of what you missed (apparently, some really hot chili sauce) check out this video.

All of the PyCon NG talks are available on YouTube.

Another large city in Nigeria is Abuja, host to some growing Python communities.

One of those communities is Django Girls Abuja.

DG Abuja is run by a team of volunteer coaches, like Akoh James and Adeshola Funmilayo.

It could be easy to sit back and look at all this success and think it “just happens”, but it can’t without the dedication and hard work of all these inspiring people.

Togo, to the west of Benin is new on the Python scene and is joining forces with Python Ghana and Python CI.

The 3 countries are bordering and sit on the south western coast of Africa.

There’s an upcoming GDG event in the Lomé with AI on the agenda (I think, it’s written in Français).

Ghana, next door is host to the first PyCon Africa in 2019.

After reading all these stories, I’d decided I cannot miss out so I’ve marked it in my calendar and I’ll see everyone in Accra.

PyCon Ghana 2018 was the first PyCon in Ghana, but it looked like a huge successPyLadies Ghana is up and running thanks to people like Mimi Darteh and Abigail Dogbe.

There are workshops in Wa, to the North, Ho to the east and the major cities Accra and Kumasi.

The PyLadies in Ghana went on a recent field trip to Esoko, a company that uses technology and mobile applications to help farmers in remote communities.

Cotê d’Ivoire next door to Ghana (Ivory Coast) has a Python community too, partnering with Ghana and Togo.

There’s a Django Girls chapter set up in the capital Abidjan and you’ll see many of the community in PyCon Africa this year.

Northern Africais sadly a different story than the other regions, with major humanitarian crises in Libya, and Sudan.

Morocco is host to a new Pydata meetup in Casablanca, which covers data science in Python talks from local researchers and developersEgypt’s capital Cairo has a PyData chapter also with some interesting talks and researchConclusionThe story of Python Africa continues to expand and evolve.

This is a story of surprises, opportunity, and passion.

Without the numerous volunteers, advocates, teachers, and mentors (only a fraction of which were mentioned), none of this would be possible.

Also, a special mention to the Python Software Foundation and the Django Software Foundation, for their generous grants to sponsor some of these meetups and groups.

I can’t wait to see how this story unfolds, I will be there at PyCon Africa 2019, I hope to see you there too……and I hope you will be taking notes.

Yours Sincerely,Anthony ShawFollow me on Twitter, GitHub or LinkedIn and contact me if you have any other stories you want to share on this article.


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