Gaming hub opens

2018-07-12 06:00
Premier Helen Zille along with Olivia Dyers and Jo-Anne Johnston (seated) visited the I-Can Hub in Khayelitsha.PHOTO: SIMAMKELE MBANGA

Premier Helen Zille along with Olivia Dyers and Jo-Anne Johnston (seated) visited the I-Can Hub in Khayelitsha.PHOTO: SIMAMKELE MBANGA

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Premier Helen Zille attended the official launch of the I-CAN Digital Gaming Hub at the Khayelitsha Badwidth Barn on Tuesday.

The I-Can Hub is an initiative of the Western Cape Government, in partnership with Lenovo and VS Gaming, while the gaming hub is operated by the Cape innovation and Technology Initiative (Citi).

According to Zille, the project is critical to the province’s ‘Alcohol Harms Reduction Game Changer’, which is focused on reducing alcohol related injuries in target areas including, Khayelitsha, Town 2, Gugulethu and Nyanga and Paarl East.

“This project is dedicated to driving digital innovation amongst the youth so that they are better prepared for the fourth industrial revolution,” said Fezeka Mavuso, Khayelitsha Barn Manager.

Jo-Anne Johnston of the Department of Economic Development and Tourism (DEDAT) pointed out that one of the key focus areas under the game changer is providing recreational and economic alternatives that will encourage our youth to spend more time on non-alcohol related recreational activities­.

“I-Can Play aims to establish entrepreneurial driven digital gaming hubs in disadvantaged communities where business models are activated in order to support the provision of alternative social and recreational opportunities to youth. The project also aims to increase the adoption of technology, internet usage and improve digital skills of citizens using gaming as stimulus,” said Johnston.

Johnston also added that the South African game market is doing very well with a compound annual growth rate of 5.6% to reach R3.7 bn in 2020, up from R2.8 bn in 2015.

Toto Raba, a parent said: “My 16-year-old son comes here every day after school and this is a great initiative for him because he gets to learn more about programing and it stimulates his mind.”

Ayanda Siboto, Marketing Manager at Citi, told City Vision that I-Can Play aims to establish a community gaming league which will encourage the uptake of opportunities in the eSports industry and Information and Communication Technology sector.

She said it would encourage the formation of competitive events which can attract a new gaming viewership.

“We do so much more, like expose the kids to careers in the IT industry by hosting career expos. We also create a platform where the kids and parents can engage with us and other entrepreneurs. We target schools around Khayelitsha just to educate them about the benefits of the I-can Hub,” she said.

With only 12 computers so far, Siboto added that they are still trying to prove that this works as a commercial project and once they get more support and revenue then they will expand.

“Through games, young people learn to take on new challenges as gaming also inspires creativity and develops a problem-solving attitude.

“Economically, it is encouraging to see that this is a growing sector and has the potential to develop into something bigger than we may realise. I encourage every young person who has not been here yet, to make use of this facility,” Zille said.

The hub is situated at Lookout Hill, on the corner of Spine Road and Mew Way, Khayelitsha. Its open from Monday to Saturday.

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