Field Notes: CMS Africa Summit 2016

Six Automatticians recently traveled to Kampala, Uganda, to attend the CMS Africa Summit. Happiness Engineer Marjorie R. Asturias reports back from this memorable event.

Automatticians, the people who build, participate in events and projects around the world every day. Periodically, they report back on the exciting things they do when not in front of a computer.

Today I share my experiences meeting and getting to know some of the most active members of the open source community in East Africa during the CMS Africa Summit, held in Kampala, Uganda, earlier this month. I was joined by my colleagues Job Thomas, Konstantin Obenland, Matty Cohen, Deborah Beckett, and Gareth Allison

CMS Africa Summit, where Automattic was a title sponsor, celebrates not only WordPress but open source software in general. The two-day event featured a jam-packed agenda of workshops, breakout sessions, keynotes, and even a hackathon, all targeting the fast-growing community of developers, business owners, startup founders, and bloggers in East Africa. Speakers from around the continent (and beyond) shared their expertise on building a business based on open source software and contributing to the community, to name just two topics.

My colleagues and I offered workshops on launching an eCommerce site and using Jetpack to expand WordPress’ functionality. Job, Konstantin, and Gareth gave a joint keynote presentation on contributing to the WordPress project, while I offered tips on marketing a business both offline and online, based on my personal experiences running a successful startup for several years.

It was the most fun conference I’ve ever attended. How many tech events have you ever been to that included a giant “cash box,” a tattoo competition, or, inexplicably, an enormous, glowing white orb dotted with the iconic W logo? My favorite part of the entire event was running into a young attendee in the women’s bathroom — she was applying what appeared to be a couple dozen of the temporary WordPress tattoos we’d brought along as swag giveaways. None of us were surprised when we learned that she ultimately won the competition. Clearly, the love for WordPress (and WordPress swag) runs deep here.

What we took away from the event, however, were the astounding energy, drive, talent, and intelligence that we witnessed during those remarkable two days, and the thirst we observed for open source software and what it can do to transform communities. Africa’s technology sector is booming, and we’re excited to have met many of its most passionate and inspiring pioneers.

Missing out on the latest developments? Enter your email below to receive future announcements direct to your inbox. An email confirmation will be sent before you will start receiving notifications—please check your spam folder if you don't receive this.

Join 103.6M other subscribers


Comments are closed.

  1. Cafenined Words

    Commendable !

    Liked by 18 people

  2. heavenhappens

    Superb. Many years ago before I retired in UK I helped with conferences in Kenya and Russia. They were so wildly different but huge fun. Africa has got to be one of the most exciting places to be on the planet ~ and the people I met were just fabulous in their humour and resourcefulness. So glad you went to spread the Word about WordPress. My daughter is just starting her own business in Spain and yes she is using WordPress for her website! I’ve converted her.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. Tamara Kulish

    Wow! What an incredible trip! How wonderful to work for a company where you help people in such powerful ways and help people who need helping the most! Kudos!


    Liked by 4 people

  4. Stretch Your Rubber Band

    Awesome! Thanks for sharing the story.

    Liked by 4 people

  5. nvsubbaraman

    Great experience. Thanks for sharing. Congrats.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. JohnAmes

    Well done to all concerned!

    Liked by 4 people

  7. Photobooth Journal

    Very interesting. I learned a lot about WP and Uganda in this small piece.

    Liked by 4 people

  8. David Wampamba (@dwampamba)

    Open-source has done wonders for me. Starting with Joomla now enjoying all the benefits of WordPress and the event proved more than expected. Showed a lot of potential especially for Africa. I don’t know how it will feel when I develop an open market place, using WordPress, I don’t know how it will feel when we start WordPress day in Uganda and all the tools we will build for the community. Thanks for inspiring everyone at and you guys rock.

    Liked by 5 people

    • Marjorie

      It was so wonderful meeting you at the Summit, David! Thank you for welcoming me and my colleagues so warmly and enthusiastically. We look forward to hearing more from you as you grow your business!

      Liked by 5 people

  9. thesciencegeek

    It looks like you had an amazing time

    Liked by 3 people

  10. loveyourself260

    This marks another remarkable milestone for wordpress. #keepAiming

    Liked by 4 people

  11. ...the Island Girl!

    Wow! That’s awesome….Great pics of the event! I almost felt like I was there!

    Liked by 4 people

  12. mirror8192

    Thank you for sharing such a wonderful story !

    Liked by 4 people

  13. quranscientist

    I wish I could attend such an event 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

  14. earlygetter

    Keep us in mind plus informed of the next Africa meetup. Great to have you here!

    Liked by 4 people

  15. saniali68

    My appreciation to WordPress and the Automattic team for visiting my lovely father-continent Africa.
    It’s really good to hear from you that ?
    AFRICA’S technology sectors is booming ! And ? YOU’RE excited to have met many of its most passionate and inspiring pioneers ?
    This really sounds good for me as African who always dreams for tomorrows’ Africa.
    AFRICA !!! The TOMORROW of the FUTURE.
    Thanks .

    Liked by 5 people

  16. ellecoco

    This is exciting and inspiring! 🙂 I have to say WordPress is my favourite blogging site out of all the ones I’ve tried. So intuitive, and I love the work you to to inspire and educate others about the wonders of technology and the internet!

    Liked by 3 people

  17. Hope Mwijuka

    Thank you for the good work.

    Liked by 3 people

  18. stevelabours428

    I aspire to do what you guys are doing! There’s nothing like empowering people with open source projects!

    Liked by 4 people

  19. Elizabeth Korasare

    Interesting reading great networking. When are you coming to Ghana. This will really be welcomed in our country and make great impact here.

    Liked by 3 people

  20. pioneerfs

    Good work thanks for that.

    Liked by 2 people

Create your new blog or website for free

Get Started