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The City of Johannesburg in partnership with Joburg-based digital media agency - Digisense, will host the Social Media Week to inspire change, encourage new ideas and celebrate innovation, from 22 to 26 September.

The Social Media Week will align the most relevant content in fields such as business, technology, entertainment, media and education to benefit the community of Johannesburg.

The leading multi-faceted annual conference, founded in New York in 2009, welcomed Lagos into its fold last year as the first African city to host the event in February 2013.

This year, Johannesburg grabs the baton and secures its place at the table. The City’s sophisticated media and communications infrastructure, the expanding start-up scene and the capability to host world-class events makes Johannesburg a natural choice for a conference of this calibre.

Social Media Week’s mission is to capture, curate and share meaningful ideas, trends and best practices about the social media’s impact on business, society and culture. The theme for this year’s one week-long gathering of thought leaders and change agents is, “The Future of Now: Always on, Always Connected.”

Social Media Week Johannesburg is also part of the official programme of the Johannesburg Centre of Software Engineering (JCSE)’s Fak’ugesi Festival, a month-long event celebrating technology innovation in Braamfontein.

Speaking at the launch of Fak’ugesi Festival, the Executive Mayor, Clr Parks Tau said, “As the City of Johannesburg, we are bridging the digital divide whilst ensuring service delivery and bringing about a Smart City to which we are committed. For example, working closely with the Wits University, we have invested R7 million in setting up the Tshimolong Digital Technology Precinct. This project seeks to develop a creative space for the development of ICT software and skills, as well as innovation and job creation”.

“In partnership with the Gauteng Provincial government, we have invested R20 million in the establishment of Techno Hubs throughout the City. These are multipurpose community centres where citizens interact with technology, access free Wi-Fi connection and internet services. The City has further invested R16 million in the establishment of free Wi-Fi hotspots in areas that include the BRT network”, said Tau.

During the conference, a combination of crowd-sourced and curated events will take place in selected venues across the City in a variety of formats including: keynote addresses, panel discussions, networking mixers, virtual hangouts, installations, master classes and exhibitions.

By programming participation from other parts of Africa, Social Media Week Johannesburg will also provide a much-needed nucleus for engagement with the rest of the African continent - exchanges which will flow meaningfully in both directions.