I want to share with you an important moment in the life of Code for South Africa. We are changing our name. “Code for South Africa” has served us well, but it does not do justice to what we do: use data and technology to promote more informed decision making that drives social change. We need something that is less code and more us.
Yes, we code, but we don’t code for a living. It is not our core offering, it is simply one of the tools we use to achieve our goals. Change is never easy, or comfortable. I have worried about this for the past 8 months, trying to convince myself that it isn’t needed. But of course it is. We believe that we can contribute our skills and experience to promoting an active citizenry. Not only through civic technology, but also open government, data journalism and open data.
We put a call out to our friends asking for suggestions for a new name. The most colourful response was CodyMcCodeface. Fortunately, as with Boaty McBoatface, the people’s choice for the British Natural Environment Research Council’s “Name Our Ship” campaign, it didn’t make the cut.
After much internal voting, counting and re-counting, complaints about irregularities at the polls and going back to the drawing board we settled on our new name:
Open is a powerful word, it refers to the Open Movement and its related submovements: open data, open source, open access, open government and others. OpenUp is not so much about kicking down doors than it is about a vision for a new way of doing things. We hope that this name will take us into the future and ensure that we keep moving in the right direction.