Itumeleng Garebatshabe, a developer and registered BlackBerry vendor, was invited to attend a BlackBerry Jam session held in Cape Town, South Africa last year.
While attending the session Garebatshabe was chosen as one of the 7500 developers worldwide to be loaned a limited edition BlackBerry10 Dev Alpha.
The device was loaned to the 7500 developers so they could test any apps they designed for the yet to enter the market BlackBerry10. While at the BlackBerry Jam Session, or hackathon, Garebatshabe worked with a non-computing participant to design and code a Blackberry10 application for his website, Cape Town Music Scene.
From the 7500 developers that submitted apps, Garebatshabe’s total points for the BlackBerry® 10 Dev Alpha C program qualified him to be awarded one of the 1,500 BlackBerry 10 Dev Alpha C devices.
“That a Motswana is recognised by a leading global communications company shows the massive potential that Botswana and Batswana have,” said Garebatshabe, before continuing, “We have also started an initiative called Project 120. The initiative intendsto open doors for Botswana in order for them to take note of the importance and relevance of application development.”
Garebatshabe was also awarded a BlackBerry Z10 limited edition device, an award given to developers that significantly contributed to the BlackBerry10 application development. He has in effect earned worldwide respect and recognition from the BlackBerry community.
Through his extensive involvement in Developer forums, Garebatshabe envisioned a project that would generate Botswana developed applications and content for the BlackBerry platform.
This Motswana Developer-cum-entrepreneur sought and received approval from Research In Motion (RIM) to use their BlackBerry Developer Group concept as the launch pad for Project 120.
The Project will see Garebatshabe pair developers with non-developers in a bid to create and market practical apps and content that would be made available for BlackBerry devices.
Before Project 120 there were only four listed African developer groups in Cairo, Egypt; Lagos, Nigeria; Nairobi, Kenya; and Johannesburg and Cape Town, South Africa.
With the addition of Project 120 in Gaborone as a Developer group, the total of African countries hosting Blackberry Developer groups has risen to 5.
Through Garebatshabe’s constant communication, sharing ideas and networking with other developers from Africa and the rest of the world, fellow Botswana Developers have been put on the map.
“By having Botswana content available on the BlackBerry10 World opens up opportunities for young Batswana that are interested in application development,” said Garebatshabe about the significance of BlackBerry content developed locally.
“The Developer industry is important because literally the world is your market place, all accessible through BlackBerry World, the Blackberry market place for apps and content,” he concluded.
The efforts of Garebatshabe have led to his recognition by BlackBerry Incorporated top management, who are actively supporting his initiative to establish Project 120.
BlackBerry Developer Groups are local, community-led groups which provide developers an opportunity to share ideas and interests, network with other developers and receive on-going support from other members as well as BlackBerry.
Groups receive regular platform and program updates from BlackBerry and have access to exclusive programs and select BlackBerry developer events and conferences.
BlackBerry Developer Group was launched on the 26th of January 2013 at Botho College and was attended by interested participants, students from other institutions and media houses.
Garebatshabe Introduced BlackBerry Developer Botswana; what it means for Botswana and Batswana; how the students can start developing apps for BlackBerry; and that Developers would be provided with development resources.
The BlackBerry Developer Francistown launch was held on the 28th of February 2013 and BlackBerry Developer Maun launch was on the 13th March 2013.