2008: Highway Africa had another great conference during 2008 - details at its new site.
The theme for 2009 is "Digital media meets sports" - as a prelude to the 2010 Fifa World Cup that will be held in South Africa that year.
In 2006, it was now more than a decade for this conference which I stewarded for several years and continue to support. The 2007 occasion looked at 11 years of media and new media in Africa. See the website for this event, directed with ever-growing success by my colleague Chris Kabwato over the past four years. I remain proud to be associated with what is now Africa's biggest annual journalistic get together, and which has evolved into a movement complete with research (see Project page contents) and training activities, plus a newsagency.
The tenth conference in 2006 was themed "Celebrations, Reflections and Future Directions", and was the biggest yet - plus with numerous add-on events taking place around it, including the Digital Citizens Indaba (about blogging) and a seminar on African media and the digital public sphere. My remarks at the award ceremony periodised African media history since Ghana's independence 50 years ago. The 9th Highway Africa was in September 2005, themed "Reinforcing journalism in the Information Society". See report.
Our 8th annual conference was held on 15-18 September 2004. The theme was Media Making the Information Society. I made some remarks at the award ceremony.
The 7th of these annual conferences is set for 8-10 September 2003. Themed "Mainstreaming media in the information society", I did its concept document. Highway Africa is something I have very much been part of since 1996. The point of the event is to popularise and promote the use of new technologies in African media - both on the input side as in Computer-Assisted Research, and on the output side of web and cellphone publishing. The conference is unique in bringing together media people from across the continent with an interest in this area. The event is further special in that it goes beyond pure conferencing and includes hands-on training in a variety of practical and strategic new media skills. It also issues an award for Innovative Use of New Media, and operates a "newsroom of the future" which covers the whole event for as many platforms as possible. Find details of the 2001 Highway Africa at http://www.highwayafrica.ru.za
In July 2002, we experimented with Highway Africa taking the form of a regional thinktank linked to a major news event. This entailed bringing some 15 regional web-editors to Durban ahead of the launch of the African Union, successor to the OAU. We peer-reviewed each other's sites and brainstormed coverage ideas for participants' home platforms (web, print and broadcast). The result was the site: http://au.ru.ac.za
August 2002 saw the 6th Highway Africa conference. This took place in Johannesburg and dovetailed with the World Summit on Sustainable Development. HA2002 succeeded in winning recognition by the UN as an official Parallel Event to the WSSD, and a Legacy Project by the Johannesburg World Summit Company which arranged the whole summit. The theme of HA2002 was "Wiring journalism for development". Delegates combined discussions with training in areas relevant to sustainable development. There was also a briefing during HA dedicated specifically to covering the WSSD. Among the highlights of the conference was the continent-wide televised annual Award for Innovative Use of New Media in Africa. In addition, the three days finally culminated in the adoption of a Charter on the Digital Divide. This document was taken forward into WSSD deliberations by Civil Society, and it is being publicized towards the World Summit on the Information Society to be held in Geneva in December 2004. After the conference, I secured sponsorship for 14 journalists to stay on and report on the WSSD for their media back home. Copies of the stories filed by the journalists are online at the HA website (http://www.highwayafrica.ru.ac.za). I also oversaw 36 final year students coming up to Johannesburg for both Highway Africa and the World Summit. They did extensive coverage of the events for a range of media.