My story

Dear Reader,

I want to talk about ancient times. It was a time when some of us discovered the Internet for the first time at a conference overseas. There was a time when a dialup connection was very fast, the mail and web servers for an entire country ran Slackware Linux on an i386, and mails collected using UUCP. There was a time when ISPs provided access to the Internet using Livingston Portmasters, Cisco Access Servers, and Cards in a Linux server, Hayes, and US Robotics modems.  At that time, understanding a modem’s handshake noise, commands, and data modes was as important as knowing the Morse code. There was a time when a team of African Engineers aligned a 2.4m vsat antenna on a satellite for Internet connectivity using a spherical pebble attached to the end of a rope, a compass, and a clinometer.  There was a time when Governments were asking if opening the country to the Internet would allow bad actors to perform attacks and coups d’Etats. These times were not long ago, in 1990.

Over the years, as many people interviewed me about the Internet in Africa, I understood that the Elders and some of us were so busy to make things happen and had less time to write things down in a consolidated portal. The root may also lie in the preferred mode of communication. Amid the dotAfrica saga in 2012, I felt the need to share my personal experience with the community and my testimony with references. I spoke about the real story of a group of African leaders involved in technology who have fought to build the Internet Community and the Internet we have today in Africa. The website started in 2014. I plan to make it dynamic and collaborative.

As we do back home, I invite you under the palaver tree to share stories from old times.  Please share your stories and contribution with us.

I am grateful.

Jean-Robert Hountomey

Our aim is to tell you the real story of the Internet in Africa and to bring you regular updates on the evolution of technology in Africa.


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