My South Africans friends here in the US and I are deeply concern about that situation too. I just wanted to add that thanks to economic growth and social reforms, Brazil is now a moving target on what concern wealth concentration index. Brazilian business, factories and agriculture are investing now in Africa. I hope that Word Cup, tourism, conferences and other business could bring more opportunities to South African of all ethnicity and that will result in peace and prosperity.


Gavin Fleming wrote:
Hi all and thanks for bringing it up Paolo

Yes we are sadly going through a spate of unrest and criminal violence in poverty-stricken neighbourhoods in South Africa, mainly against foreigners from other parts of Africa. 'xenophobic attacks' as they are labelled. Believe me, we have to and will get things right - while FOSS4G is a small community, the whole world is gearing up for the 2010 World Cup in SA. It has not affected tourists and visitors although some are obviously scared to come at the moment, and it is abating. Of course this situation and the complexities giving rise to it are experienced in other countries, developed and developing, and are not unique to South Africa. Many of the conference topics indeed attempt to address the root causes of situations like this. South Africa recently overtook Brazil as the country with the highest Gini coefficient, which is nothing to be proud of. This disparity in wealth distribution despite high levels of so-called economic 'growth' is one of the root causes of dissatisfaction leading to the current situation here. We also have by some estimates between 5 and 10 million immigrants, labourers and refugees, mainly from Zimbabwe recently but really from all over Africa on top of a local population of about 45 million. These things coupled with our apartheid history and recent transformation are what make South Africa a fascinating destination and subject of research for people from all over the world. So we hope people will come for some of these reasons and to have a say in solving some of these challenges.
As it affects potential FOSS4G 2008 delegates, I suggest be aware of the 
situation but don't let it put you off. Our tourism numbers are increasing at 
about 9% per year and last year was another record in terms of numbers of 
overseas visitors. South Africa is a top international big conference venue. 
Cape Town is a tourist mecca rivalling Paris, Sydney, Vancouver etc. The City 
of Cape Town, the conference centre and environs are safe. Whatever appeals to 
you as a tourist, travelling far and wide in South Africa and even neighbouring 
countries, be it our fantastic wildlife and scenery, backpacking, local 
culture, immersing yourself in township life, shark-cage diving, 
whale-watching, whatever, you are bound to have a great conference and 
memorable travels in South Africa.

Gavin FOSS4G 2008 conference chair

-----Original Message-----
From: [EMAIL PROTECTED] [mailto:[EMAIL PROTECTED] On Behalf Of Paolo Cavallini
Sent: 30 May 2008 09:27 AM
To: OSGeo Discussions
Subject: [OSGeo-Discuss] South African safety situation

Hi all.
I'm informed, both from the newspapers and from South African friends, that there are serious concerns about safety in South Africa. Of course this will not affect FOSS4G directly, but I'm sure many of us are planning to have some holidays before or after the conference, so not being able to tour around freely will detract much from the appeal of the conference. This could result in less participation, thus in turn in lower general interest. Any news or indications from local organizers? I think this is a problem that should be dealt with, for the best success of the meeting.
All the best.
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