Premier Zille Visits Khayelitsha I-Can Digital Gaming Hub
Today, Premier Helen Zille visited the I-CAN Digital Gaming Hub, hosted at the Khayelitsha Bandwidth Barn. The I-Can Hub is an initiative of the Western Cape Government, in partnership with Lenovo and VS Gaming. The gaming hub is operated by the Cape Innovation and Technology Initiative (CITI).
It is a critical project under our Alcohol Harms Reduction Game Changer, which is focused on reducing alcohol related harms in three target areas namely, Khayelitsha Town 2, Gunya and Paarl East. One of the key focus areas under the game changer is providing recreational and economic alternatives that will encourage our youth to spend more time on non-alcohol related recreational activities.
Premier Zille took a tour around the gaming hub where learners – on holiday – participated in the various programmes on offer.
I-CAN Play aims to establish entrepreneurial driven digital gaming hubs in disadvantaged communities. The business model is to provide alternative social and recreational opportunities to youth. The project also aims to increase the adoption of technology, internet usage and improve digital skills of citizens using gaming as the stimulus.
Today the Western Cape Government’s Department of Economic Develop Development in association with VS Gaming also announced the “VS Gaming I-CAN Play Community League”.
The VSG I-CAN Play Community League will be a sub-league on VS Gaming’s popular online league system and will enable I-CAN Play members to practice and compete against each other. This will offer members of I-CAN Play the opportunity to join and improve their ranking on the VS Gaming platform. Participation in official online individual and team matches offers the I-CAN Play members the opportunity to qualify for major VSG tournaments and prize pools.
At I-CAN Play, the focus is on the positive impact that games can have. Gaming is a fun, engaging activity that encourages young people to improve their digital skills. It’s also a social activity. It creates communities of young people who cheer each other on, share gaming strategies and build teams that work together.
I-CAN Play aims to establish a community gaming league which will encourage the uptake of opportunities in the eSports industry. This will encourage the formation of teams and competitive events which can attract a new gaming viewership in future.
“For years our government has been determined to provide alternative activities that may be inaccessible for many of our young people. The I-CAN Play project is a crucial initiative under our Alcohol Harms Reduction Game Changer,” said Premier Zille.
Premier Zille said: “This project offers an attractive and beneficial activity for young people to participate in, away from the harm and violence caused by alcohol abuse”.
“We have also strategically chosen gaming because of the value it can add to young people and their interest in the ICT sector,” Premier Zille said.
“By making young people curious and comfortable with technology, gaming also opens up a pathway to better digital skills and careers in game development and the traditional IT sector”.
“Through games, young people learn to take on new challenges as gaming also inspires creativity and develops a problem-solving attitude. Economically, it is encouraging to see that this is a growing sector and has the potential to develop into something bigger than we may realise,” said Premier Zille.
The South African video game market is performing well and revenue is forecast to grow at a healthy CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 5.6% to reach R3.7 billion in 2020, up from R2.8 billion in 2015.
Internationally, eSports will soon be a 1-billion-dollar business with a global audience of over 300 million fans.
“I encourage every young person who has not been here yet, to make use of this facility.” Premier Zille said.
I-CAN Play at the Khayelitsha Bandwidth Barn is situated at Lookout Hill, Corner of Spine Rd and Mew Way, Khayelitsha. The hub is open to its members and the public from Monday to Saturday 10:00-18:00.