Where Africa and Technology Collide!

Mapping Xenophobic Attacks in South Africa

The Ushahidi engine (version 1) is being used to map reports of the current xenophobic attacks happening in South Africa on a site called UnitedforAfrica.co.za. The attacks are a product of foreigners moving across the borders, especially Zimbabwean, and encroaching on the lives of South Africans. I suggest reading this BBC article for more information.

United for Africa: Mapping reports of xenophobia in South Africa

Quirk, a web marketing agency in Cape Town is leading this charge, with Tim Shier, Rafiq and David Kobia all pulling VERY late nights last night to make this come together. Quirk will act as administrators on this build, and the Ushahidi team will step away from it as soon as the build is done.

The most important part of this type of campaign is to get the word out. SMS, email, call your friends and family all over South Africa and get them to tell their friends so that more reports come in. The more that come in, the better the tool.

A couple resources for this crisis in South Africa:

So, what’s up with this “Ushahidi engine”?
As you might/might not be aware, we’ve worked up a plan for a new version of Ushahidi (v2) that would replace what we’ve done as a free and open source tool for crowdsourcing crisis information and then visualizing that on a map. We’ll be presenting that idea next week at the NetSquared challenge in California, and are already building the basic architecture for that. This collaboration with the guys in South Africa ends up being a perfect example of the need for a rapid deployment tool like Ushahidi.

What we could use is more developers from around the world to help us. We already have a good dozen who have committed to helping in some way or other, ranging from the Bay area in California to Kenya to South Africa and Malawi. If you’d like to take part, please get in touch!


  1. Great work; I’m still interested in helping with interface design or user research.

  2. Thanks for the resources, you kinda bombarded me with them but at least i know that they are there for my use.

  3. As always on point with resources during a crisis, let me link back to this article now.

  4. Hi,

    Thanks for the post – I meant to reply earlier but this weekend has been ridiculous.

    There is now a donation feature on the site and we have teamed up with TAC and Cell-life in getting ground level responses which will be integrated live from tomorrow.

    Please spread the word,

    Ps: one of my digsmates has spent the weekend setting up clinics – unfortunately, they didn’t get the UCT concession (to stay away from lectures) if you or a friend can assist in staffing please contact TAC, SHAWCO or me (www.unitedforafrica.co.za) – many thanks.

  5. This is sick whats happening in South Africa. These are human beings we are talking about and not animals

  6. To think that South Africa was once a country were you could live happily with your family,

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