10 Years of WordCamp Cape Town

The very first WordCamp was organized in San Francisco by Matt Mullenweg in 2006, since then, local communities around the world have organized hundreds of others.

WordCamp Cape Town is on its 10th annual event. 

The first WordCamp in South Africa was held in 2008 and was attended by Matt Mullenweg himself. Following that LightSpeed CEO Ashley Shaw, whose passion for the open-source community led him to organize WordCamp Cape Town 2011 and to get involved in organizing Meetup events, as well as driving him to attend WordCamp on three different continents.

“The very first WordCamp in 2008 was quite spectacular. This first event introduced me to the start of my WordPress network and gave me a taste of what knowledge the community could share,” recalls Ashley.

He adds that looking back on WordCamp Cape Town it has evolved from a basic event with no frills, to a professional conference. Today, the events have a clear framework for organizing WordCamps and the WordPress foundation do a fantastic job to support the various events around the world.

“I think one of the most important parts of WordCamp is the Code of Conduct; the level of inclusion irrespective of gender, race, sexual preference or programming language makes it truly open to everyone. WordCamps are genuinely a safe space for everyone to learn and grow without fear of criticism.”

Following Ashley’s three-year commitment, Automattic Community Manager for WordPress Hugh Lashbrooke took over the organizing reigns.

WordCamp has come a long way since it’s original inception. “WordCamp Cape Town has evolved from a single day, single-track event to a two-day event with multiple workshop tracks, that’s a lot of growth in terms of programming and how the event is organised, which has been really beneficial to the WordPress community as a whole,” Hugh explains.

The number of volunteers and the organizing team has grown year-on-year, and each event has evolved based on the experience of the various community volunteers and what they are able to bring to the table.

How can you benefit from WordCamp?

Ashley’s advice to make the best out of the event is to attend sessions and take notes on topics that grab you, but even more importantly; action the notes that you take.

“I always try to action key new learnings after WordCamp as these new learnings can lead to marginal and even radical improvements within your company. It all depends on your own motivation and drive to grow from attending these events.”

Advice for first-time and returning attendees?

Hugh’s advice for first-time and returning attendees to make the best out of the event is to make a point of meeting new people, there are always new people at WordCamp to get to know. The talks and workshops are great, but meeting people in what is often referred to as the “hallway track”, is not only great fun but a great way to grow your personal network and to learn more directly from others.

Other organizers of WordCamp Cape Town include Web and Software Developer Matt Royal, Web Developer Jonathan Bossenger and current lead organizer Startup Grind’s Global Systems and Senior Community Manager Bruce Lunnis.

What you can expect at WordCamp Cape Town 2019

Every year, the WordCamp Cape Town organizing committee aims to make WordCamp better than the last! Some of the features at this year’s WordCamp include;

  • Dedicated creche space with child-minders for our WordPress Parents. View more in our practical info pages.
  • After the success of last year’s Youth Camp, we are hosting this track for the second time in a row – absolutely free!
  • We have some amazing speakers lined up to share awesome, actionable WordPress knowledge for agencies, freelancers, business owners, and industry professionals.
  • In conjunction with the Lagoon Beach Hotel, we have arranged for discounts on accommodation.
  • In conjunction with Cape Town Shuttle, we have arranged for discounts on shuttle services.
  • As always our organizing team has arranged some awesome swag!

Find out more about WordCamp Cape Town 2019 taking place on 26 and 27 September at the Lagoon Beach Hotel!