Tarryn Booysen is Administrative Assistant at the Association for Progressive Communications, South Africa. She is a South African Bachelor of Arts graduate with majors in Psychology and Sociology who currently works on APC’s End Violence: Women’s rights and safety online project and is a part of the Women’s Rights Programme. Tarryn is also responsible for the weekly section of GenderIT.org, DJ’s Choice.


The beginning and lessons learned

I embarked on my journey to the second African School on Internet Governance with a few readings done and the Wikimedia definition of internet governance memorized. Eager to learn and to contribute the bit I’ve learned over the past few months, little did I know what awaited me. Being confronted with sentences like “our RIR, in the NRO and ASO, spoke IPv4, IPv6, RPKI, NAT, DNS and how CRISP is dealing with ICANN’s IANA.” (is that even a sentence?!). I felt in over my head. The sessions were intense, with every sentence holding vital information that needed to be processed, questioned and noted. At times it felt like there was not enough space in my brain to hold all the knowledge that was being explored.

Internet governance is a dynamic field and you’ve got to be revolutionary! Innovation requires no permission. Things can always be changed for the better. The process may be slow but it is happening. The AfriSIG made me realize this and motivated me to want to do more. There is no single body that governs the internet. We often use the lack of funding as an excuse to get things going, but an excuse is all it is. There are other ways to make change happen. A debate that seems to be misunderstood by many intermediaries is that of ownership vs. accountability. The internet is an enabler of human rights. Therefore one would assume that owners of these intermediaries should make sure that their users are protected and that there is a form of transparency. I never fully understood what a privilege it was to have access, it was always a resource I’ve taken for granted. But I see now how having access has challenged the notion that wisdom belongs to the old.

In the future, internet governance will be a clash of cultures.

  • Governments’ vs. Communities
  • Hierarchies’ vs. Networks
  • Laws vs. Code
  • Top down vs. Bottom up

Are we ready?

Missing: Gender in IG: After the sessions I used the #AfriSIG2014 hashtag to reflect on the day’s discussions. I came across an interesting tweet which made me question myself and my silence: “With so many feminists in the room, why no specific mention of women’s participation in IG in Africa? Were you blocked?”

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