The Story of Reserve B (in conjunction with loveLife)

The summary of my recent experiences in Reserve B is available here. This is the journey, as catalogued in tweets, instagrams and pictures. Should make for interesting reading... Thank you to everyone who took part, especially those who sent HELLO emails to welcome Phindo (a Reserve B resident) to the world of email! It was an incredible experience, watching the joy on her face as she connected to the world outside of Bergville and the immediate surroundings...

Visit the site we setup, read the story. It's an important story, of which there are many in this country that remain untold.

Oh, and in case you're wondering, I AM the Foursquare Mayor of Reserve B. But that means nothing. In reality I was humbled and delighted by its residents.

The journey starts...

So I'm off at 5am tomorrow to a rural township in Bergville to see if technology can actually empower people... I'll cover it, as always :)

Laptop. Check. iPhone. Check. Suncream (ginger genes). Check. Off to Bergville with Lovelife to finish this documentary...

Off to Bergville for the LoveLife documentary. Director: Mickey. Rad dude.

Heavy debates in the LoveLife van. What does everyone think about the "vaccines cause autism" argument?

Autism links RT @tara_lawson Been struck off the register: Found guilty of misleading conduct:

1 hour away from Bergville. Will do a tour of the youth reserve before settling down to see if there's anything we can do to help...

Some thoughts/ideas from you, dear readers: How can tech/Internet/mobile empower rural communities? Provide income? Fight apathy? #lovelife

The Drakensberg area is so beautiful. Majestic. I'm Instagram'ing this journey, feel free to follow/comment

What concerns me: I arrive on the youth reserve, no reception, no feature phones, no money for airtime. Reality check time. #lovelife

Vista, from a roadworks stop... 3rd world zen #lovelife

On the way to the reserve. Have set up - to try use email to tell these kids' stories. #lovelife

Imali yeqolo - the free money you get from government for lying on your back (ie teen pregnancy). Yikes. #lovelife #Bergville

Just arrived to some banging kwaito. Sitting on 3 bars MTN. Outlook good for storytelling mission... (@ Reserve B)

Middle of rural Africa and the DJ equipment is still awesome! #lovelife #Bergville

I already have a local nickname: Whiteberry. #lovelife #Bergville

Meeting everyone. Going to try use email2posterous to tell this villages story. Have GPRS will blog! #lovelife

I've found 2 Internet capable cellphones in Reserve B. That's enough to start! Got chatting to the guys now. #lovelife

Hearing stories of how useless/disrespectful local ANC gov is in Bergville. Sad. Promises made around elections never followed up #loveLife

Day 2 of the loveLife documentary. Follow us on (@ Reserve B)

Sershen and William at the village watersource... #loveLife

Thando Mazebuko from Reserve B. Dream: become a lawyer.

Thando (future lawyer) and Simphiwe (future lawyer), Reserve B

Simnikiwe Ximba (future police) #loveLife

Doing my first interview / story with Phindo Khumalo #loveLife @ Reserve B

I have been struggling for 2 hours now, trying to get gmail setup on an old Nokia. Utter tech fail! #loveLife #Bergville

Did it. Kinda! The first gMail enabled cellphone in Reserve B... #loveLife

Yes! Sent our first rural email! Huge favour: won't you send phindokhumalo at gmail dot com a short, text email saying hello and welcome! #loveLife

Phindo with her first gMail enabled cellphone. Thank you to everyone who sent welcome emails! #loveLife

Life has its moments. Rural Africa. A tent. A roofless building & no jokes, they just broke out the Trance beats

The value proposition. Who wouldn't shop here?

Abortion realities in small town South Africa... #loveLife

Shit. We have a problem. This is the only road into the village #loveLife

Road washed away, waited for hours, no better. Had to turn back home. Amazing how a community can be cut off so easily. #loveLife

Heart melted. Just received an email from Phindo in the village. Yesterday, nothing. Today, connected.

Evolution of storytelling: Spoken, Written
Published in Print, Broadcast on Air, Published on the Internet, SMS'ed, Blogged, Tweet’ed, ?


  1. Andy this is so humbling. Thank you for sharing the journey the way you did. These little things (cell phones) in our pockets are changing lives

  2. Thanks Mark, much appreciated... It was an amazing story, hopefully one that isn't over yet. The mobile phone is a game changing little thing, isn't it. But the gap is still wide. Haven't heard from Phindo in a couple of weeks - hoping the old nokia hasn't filled up and can't fit the inbox or something. Little things like that will still be stumbling blocks with old tech in africa.

    Like any good story, the only thing you can really do... is spread it!

  3. Andy, people have mentioned your name in various conversations I've had lately. I am interested in the work you do, and I think you may want to hear about what I do too. I am based in Johannesburg where I do Anthropology applied to understanding offline and online behaviours. You can email me:
    I don't know how else to contact you. I look forward to hearing from you. Marcela Ospina

  4. @Marcela That's very kind :) Have dropped you an email, always interested to chat...


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