I met Darren Gorton online and then for the first time in person over a cup of Vida coffee. Darren must have walked away from the meeting with a very interesting first impression though, because he picked the worst day in the history of my short life to touch base – not his fault of course, I was just in a horrible place. He very kindly maintained contact though and although I haven’t had a chance to make up for our first meeting yet, he has been updating me with the progress of a fascinating project he’s co-ordinated, dubbed The SA Blook, which has now come to fruition. From the introduction to the Blook on Darren’s site:
Welcome to the SA blook, a collaboration between South African bloggers with a strong belief in the future of our nation. Essentially, it is a book, originally published online and written by a diverse group of writers with strong views about our country and the reality South Africans find themselves living in.
There are countless books about South Africa’s history and how it developed, and there are bound to be many more. There is also an endless supply of daily news that reminds us about the real and difficult challenges that our country faces and has yet to overcome. While most South Africans understand and feel the pain of these challenges, we will never be able to move forward unless we lift our eyes to the horizon and step boldly forward, aiming to build a foundation for a better future for us all. This blook is about South Africa – a constructive look at our present, our future and the opportunities we have.
While this blook is admittedly an experiment in online writing, this fact should not detract from the importance of the topic at hand – something relevant to all South Africans. Every topic touched upon is intricately linked to South Africa’s present and future, and although we would not like to suggest that our present challenges are simply remedied by positive thinking, we hope to stimulate strong debate and new thinking around these topics. By doing so, the writers hope to contribute to a new perspective in this country, knowing that thinking is the precursor to action.
The contributors to Darren’s Blook read like a who’s who of top writers in the SA blogosphere. On top of that, he must be credited for conceiving of the idea, pulling together all these humans and getting them to deliver on deadline. The authors include (with links to their chapters):
1. The new South Africa – is it real? (Siyabonga Nhlumayo)
2. Is SA rich or poor? (Geoff Candy and Hilton Tarrant)
3. What the world thinks of South Africa and what our global opportunities are (Grant Brewer)
4. The importance of each individual’s contribution collectively (Nic Haralambous)
5. SA Inc and the business of doing business in SA (Paul Jacobson)
6. The beauty and grandeur that surrounds us (Kerry-Anne Gilowey)
7. The importance of technology in SA’s global emergence (Justin Hartman)
8. Building brand South Africa (Melissa Attree)
9. Making the most of SA’s creative talents and abilities (Eve Dmochowska)
10. Innovate for a better South Africa (Duncan Drennan)
11. The role of the younger generation in SA, and what we need to do to support them (Saul Kropman)
12. Connecting South Africa – Communities that transcend technology (Andy Hadfield)
13. We are African – the role of collaboration in South Africa’s growth (Mandy de Waal)
This is a spectacular and much-needed positive initiativefrom Darren and the SA blogosphere. Well done to all!