Zenzeleni mesh networking in the Transkei
While backpacking across the Transkei in South Africa, I stayed at Mdumbi Backpackers close to Coffee Bay, in the Mankosi Administrative Area, a rural traditional community within the Nyandeni Local Municipality in the Province of the Eastern Cape.
I had been made aware of an innovative wireless mesh network called Zenzeleni Community Telecoms by a friend in Cape Town, Michael Graaf, and took a look around. Zenzeleni translates to “Do it yourself” in isiXhosa.
Kingdom of Swaziland
Swaziland is landlocked country of a similar flavor to Lesotho, with small roads, a blanket speed limit of 80Km/hr, which is completely ignored. There are two big towns, Manzini and the capital Mbabane, both of which are much nicer than Maseru, the capital of Lesotho. The road between them is now being upgraded, but was listed in the Guiness book of records as the most accident-prone anywhere. It has the Royal residences, all the big hotels, the (tiny, but good) Mlilwane game reserve, and the Why Not disco and strip bar.
Grahamstown, Umtata, Natal.
I stopped by the home of Rhodes University - a quaint, very British town in the Eastern cape, originally founded by settlers who were bought in as a ‘buffer’ between warring factions at that time.
The University is in the town, and has a beautiful campus. I had been corresponding with a couple of people who were the original founders of Internet in South Africa. I saw the lab, and the FreeBSD machine that originally had a Fidonet connection, and then a 9600 Baud dialup connection to the States.