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Finding new ways to design

Volunteer students who will be taking part in the Participatory Design Conference (PDC)

Volunteer students who will be taking part in the Participatory Design Conference (PDC)

The Participatory Design Conference (PDC) will be taking place for the first time in Africa, under the theme of “reflecting connectedness.” The conference takes place at Safari Conference Center, from 5 to 10 October and will be co-hosted by the Polytechnic of Namibia and University of Namibia.
It is an important platform for international discussion of the collaborative, social, and political dimensions of technology innovation and use.
Dr. Heike Winschiers-Theophilus, General Chair of the Conference said, “New techniques, technologies, research results and perspectives that underpin participatory design are shared in vibrant and critical debates, presentations, and panel sessions. An exhibition of art works, inspired by visual and digital media, performance arts, installations, communication technologies, touch, sound, industrial design and any other genre allowing for participants’ interactions, will be experienced during the conference.”
Since 1990 the conference is held every two years. In 2012 it was held in Roskilde, Denmark and in 2010 it was in Sydney, Australia.
“The conference enables collaboration between international and local researchers, industry practitioners from commercial, government and not-for-profit sectors, as well as interaction designers and artists around the topic of participation.” she stated, “ The mutual exchange of practices and knowledge will benefit the academic community as well as industry practices. Besides computer scientists, artists are engaging the audience in a novel form of art, namely interactive art installations where the audience experience it rather than just watch it.”
The highlight for this year, she mentioned, “For the first time ever, PDC 2014 introduces local Participatory Design Challenges. Together with designers from all over the world, local stakeholders will design solutions for the Participatory Design Challenges chosen for this year.

7 challenges were chosen from an open call although the challenges are very specific to Namibia, we expect that the design processes and solutions found will be applicable to other countries. A number of workshops are scheduled to tackle the challenges together with local stakeholders, looking at unemployment, improving reading culture, social activism and civic participation, as well as industry-academia relations via internships.” She added that this year the conference will also include an extensive interactive art exhibition, “Both local and international artists have contributed with impressive interactive art installations and performances, tackling social and global issues such as global warming, pollution, Gender Violence, but also reconnecting to nature and humanity.” The exhibition will be open to the public on the 10th of October from 15h00-21h00 with live performances. Conference participants are academics, industry representatives, artists, who work with any form of participatory methods. “Many participants have submitted academic papers, workshops proposals, industry case studies and art installations which went through a thorough review and editing process. Participants are from all over the world, the majority is from SA, Scandinavia and Namibia, with a total of 30 countries represented, from all continents.”

About The Author

Following reverse listing, public can now acquire shareholding in Paratus Namibia


20 February 2020, Windhoek, Namibia: Paratus Namibia Holdings (PNH) was founded as Nimbus Infrastructure Limited (“Nimbus”), Namibia’s first Capital Pool Company listed on the Namibian Stock Exchange (“NSX”).

Although targeting an initial capital raising of N$300 million, Nimbus nonetheless managed to secure funding to the value of N$98 million through its CPC listing. With a mandate to invest in ICT infrastructure in sub-Sahara Africa, it concluded management agreements with financial partner Cirrus and technology partner, Paratus Telecommunications (Pty) Ltd (“Paratus Namibia”).

Paratus Namibia Managing Director, Andrew Hall

Its first investment was placed in Paratus Namibia, a fully licensed communications operator in Namibia under regulation of the Communications Regulatory Authority of Namibia (CRAN). Nimbus has since been able to increase its capital asset base to close to N$500 million over the past two years.

In order to streamline further investment and to avoid duplicating potential ICT projects in the market between Nimbus and Paratus Namibia, it was decided to consolidate the operations.

Publishing various circulars to shareholders, Nimbus took up a 100% shareholding stake in Paratus Namibia in 2019 and proceeded to apply to have its name changed to Paratus Namibia Holdings with a consolidated board structure to ensure streamlined operations between the capital holdings and the operational arm of the business.

This transaction was approved by the Competitions Commission as well as CRAN, following all the relevant regulatory approvals as well as the necessary requirements in terms of corporate governance structures.

Paratus Namibia has evolved as a fully comprehensive communications operator in Namibia and operates as the head office of the Paratus Group in Africa. Paratus has established a pan-African footprint with operations in six African countries, being: Angola, Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zambia.

The group has achieved many successes over the years of which more recently includes the building of the Trans-Kalahari Fibre (TKF) project, which connects from the West Africa Cable System (WACS) eastward through Namibia to Botswana and onward to Johannesburg. The TKF also extends northward through Zambia to connect to Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, which made Paratus the first operator to connect the west and east coast of Africa under one Autonomous System Number (ASN).

This means that Paratus is now “exporting” internet capacity to landlocked countries such as Zambia, Botswana, the DRC with more countries to be targeted, and through its extensive African network, Paratus is well-positioned to expand the network even further into emerging ICT territories.

PNH as a fully-listed entity on the NSX, is therefore now the 100% shareholder of Paratus Namibia thereby becoming a public company. PNH is ready to invest in the future of the ICT environment in Namibia. The public is therefore invited and welcome to acquire shares in Paratus Namibia Holdings by speaking to a local stockbroker registered with the NSX. The future is bright, and the opportunities are endless.