Solar hubs close ICT divide in Limpopo


Pupils outside the Xitlhelani Village Solar Community Hub

JOHANNESBURG, (CAJ News) – THOUSANDS of locals in the Limpopo province are poised to benefit from the launch of a solar community hub.

Dell Technologies has launched the facility – Xitlhelani Village Solar Community Hub- in partnership with Utelize Mobile, State Information Technology Agency (SITA) South Africa, Computer Aid International and Amandla Community Projects.

Solar community hubs are solar-powered internet centres that connect community members to the digital world.

Built from two refurbished shipping containers, the hub will provide ICT skill-building opportunities for students and deliver technology and internet access for the broader local community.

Powered by a Dell PowerEdge server, the Xitlhelani Village Solar Community Hub will provide access to ten computers and an additional 30 laptops.

Strategically located close to Mahuntsi Secondary School, it is the second hub to be installed in the province. The first was introduced in 2022 to support 12,000 residents in the nearby Roerfontein and Mamaila villages.

To date, Dell Technologies has deployed solar community hubs in 48 locations worldwide, reaching more than 921 000 people in remote and underrepresented communities.

There are currently 13 hubs in South Africa alone.

“Digital tools and skills are critical to accessing essential services and jobs,” Natasha Reuben, Head of Transformation at Dell Technologies South Africa, said.

She said the hubs in Limpopo were a great example of how impactful simple solutions can be when built with the needs of the community at the centre.

“We look forward to seeing the benefits that come from these hubs and we will continue to bring the solution to remote or disconnected communities around the world as we advance toward digital equity.”

In Limpopo, just 46,2 percent of residents have access to the internet – the lowest rate in the country.

This is compounded by South Africa’s high unemployment rate, particularly for job seekers between 15 and 24 years old. This rate was measured at 60,7 percent in 2023, the highest yet recorded.

Around 10 000 residents live in Xitlhelani Village and around 2 300 residents are expected to access the hub initially. In addition to students, the broader community can access technology, education and discounted internet access at the hub. Residents can also obtain data vouchers, purchase refurbished IT equipment at socially conscious prices, and access resources like the phone charging facility.

– CAJ News

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