• Open Data Now!

    2014 Unconference

    30th June - 1st July


How can we create an informed and active citizenry through open data?

June 2014, The Upper Eastside, Cape Town

Together with a select group of thoughtleaders and innovators to the first South African Open Data Unconference. Representatives from government, civil society, academia, funding organisations, the media, and the private sector will collaboratively set an agenda for action.

What we hope to achieve:

  • Identify a set of prioritised and shared results that can be achieved together over the next 2 years
  • Map out the current contributions and innovations that organisations are making in this area, to identify potential ways to scale these up and coordinate efforts
  • Engage other organisations and individuals who share a common interest in working together to plan, codevelop, resource and implement the environment required for open data in South Africa
  • Explore how the partnership initiative can become an envoy for the larger community of policymakers; practitioners; civil society; media; academia; funders and information hackers who love to liberate data for good causes
  • Establish a representative Open Data reference group that will take custodianship of this initiative

Funded by

Until the event begins. Please register here

About Open Data?

Why Open Data?

As a response to the restrictive policies of the Apartheid government, the right to access to information was enshrined in the South African Bill of Rights. The Promotion of Access to Information Act of 2000 outlines the process through which citizens can request information held by public and private bodies. While important, the act is challenging and often creates an adversarial relationship between requestor and requestee. The Open Data movement, worldwide, and in South Africa seeks to change the relationship between government and society with regards to data.

What is Open Data?

In recognition that data held by the state should be a public resource, we believe that it should be proactively released without complex bureaucratic barriers to access. Government data should be open by default and made available in electronic format and in bulk. It should be accessible, preferably on the Internet and it should be machine readable. Too often data is locked up in PDF or actual paper documents. This impedes large scale analysis. Instead, data should be released using accepted open formats. The Open Definition sums up open data as follows:

A piece of data or content is open if anyone is free to use, reuse, and redistribute it — subject only, at most, to the requirement to attribute and/or share-alike.

Why should we care? Why now?

An active and informed citizenry strengthens our society. Information can help us to hold our leaders to account, to make informed decisions and to learn more about our rights, it improves transparency government and fosters innovation. Information is the lifeblood of a strong democracy and should not be treated as a currency but rather as a public good. Following in the footsteps of Sir Tim Berners Lee’s call for “Raw Data Now!” and country initiatives in Kenya and Ghana as well as many other nations around the world, now is the time for us to start the conversation in South Africa. We need to put data in the hands of ordinary South Africans so that they can benefit from informed decision-making.

Provisional Schedule

Day 1

Registration and welcome. Discuss and share ideas with representatives from government, civil society, academia, funding organisations, the media, and the private sector.



Ideas marketplace




Voting for topics

Conclusion and Cocktails

Day 2

Drilling deeper into the discussions from day 1.

Coffee and networking

Drilling down


Ends and Lunch


Conference Will Be Held At

The Upper Eastside Hotel

31 Brickfield Road, Woodstock, Cape Town


Get in touch

For more information, contact: Adi Eyal at adi@code4sa.org or Kelsey Wiens at kelseywiens@gmail.com