Scott Hanselman

South Africa 2008

December 05, 2008 Comment on this post [29] Posted in Africa
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Mount KilimanjaroWe try to go to Africa every year if we can. We went there to get married and negotiate lobola. We took our first son there to meet his Grandmother, and now we head back to introduce Son #2 to Gogo.

We're all packed and the house is safe in the hands of the house-sitter. We've got about 25 hours of travel ahead of us with a 1 year old and a 3 year old in tow.

If I'm connected at all on this trip, it'll be to blog about our travels, so temporarily, this blog will turn into an Africa Travel Blog, as it has every year (or every other year) in December, so be warned. If you're not interested (as Jeff is not) in such gripping topics as Black Hair, "Waiting for Death's Sweet Release" or Finding a Fundi, then I'll see you in January. If I get a chance, we'll podcast from the other side of the world as well.

One other thing, I'll be stopping by two User Groups while ekhaya, first on the 8th at 6:30pm in Gauteng in Johannesburg, South Africa:

When: 8th December 2008 18:30 - 20:30
Venue: Microsoft Auditorium 2, Bryanston (
Topic: Probably MVC and very open Q&A - Vote here.
RSVP: Please RSVP including your full name as Microsoft security now requires this upfront.

Then in Cape Town on the 17th at 1:00pm in Mowbray:

When: 17th December 2008 13:00 (sharp) (yes, that's 1pm)
Venue: Microsoft Cape Town -  Golf Park 3, Engen House, Raapenberg Road, Mowbray

Topic: "Building a Real Website with ASP.NET MVC: Suffering and Pain and Joy" and (very) open Q&A

RSVP: Please RSVP including your full name as Microsoft security now requires this upfront, at hilton at or at

Please feel free to spread the word if you're in RSA, but remember that RSVP'ing is needed. See you there!

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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December 05, 2008 5:31
Have a safe trip. I look forward to reading your blog in the new year. And just for the record the Henselman blog is now my MVB. :) Keep up the good work.
December 05, 2008 5:43
If you have your recording gear with you I'd love to hear some chats with "real people" over there, not just geeks. Maybe it's not suitable for your main podcast but hearing more about the culture would be great.
December 05, 2008 5:47
Barry - Totally, I'm thinking some "man on the street" interviews would be cool.
December 05, 2008 8:12
Have a good/safe trip. Looking forward to some interesting Africa stories!
December 05, 2008 9:38
Take care! Be safe.
December 05, 2008 10:04
My kids also call their grandmother Gogo. :)

We should be in SA again in the first half of next year. Hope you have a good trip. Stay away from Zim.
December 05, 2008 10:24
Welcome to SA man! Can't wait to see you in action on Monday night, its gonna be HUGE! Keep well and Keep safe!
December 05, 2008 12:01
Have a good (and safe) trip.

Delighted you could make it to Cape Town, we're really looking forward to it...
December 05, 2008 12:12
whats all this 'take care' and 'be safe' yap? its not the wild west out here.
December 05, 2008 12:41
Agreed with Matt - once you get past the lions on the runway at the airport it's not so bad...
December 05, 2008 12:56
Finally your back in SA! Looking forward to meeting you on the 17th Dec 2008.
December 05, 2008 13:41
when i said safe, I was referring to customs at the american airports :p
December 05, 2008 13:51
Hi Scott, enjoy Africa.

I found your blog because we're looking at how well Silverlight can suit us (Would love it to be the .Net equivilent of Adobe AIR already with similar features and deployment options). Since 2003 we've been developing a virtual worlds platform,, that we've been developing as a light weight multiuser visualization platform and it's totally written in .Net. So we would love Silverlight to be a bit further along as a platform. Fingers crossed for 2009 announcements.

Anyway, loved your blog (Great info) and found Babysmash (Just what I was needing!). I've got a 6 month old. She's mixed race. I'm Australian caucasian and my partner is African (Uganda/Sudan). So it was absolutely lovely to read through your site and discover your story. Wishing you and the family the best.

By the way, my girl absolutely loves pressing buttons (or in fact tearing buttons off keyboards), but this weekend i'm planning to intro her to Babysmash and her own keyboard.

Best wishes.
Bruce Joy
December 05, 2008 14:45

I would like to hear about how the people in the poor areas are connected to the net (if at all), how they use their computers and whether the One Laptop Per Child goal materialized and to what extent.

Have a safe trip.
December 05, 2008 16:15

Totally jealous - Cape Town - haven't been there since we did the 17 hour drive from Pretoria the year after we were married. And haven't been back to South Africa since 1989, better not let my wife see me reading you blog for the next few weeks as she is really wants to visit again (and introduce our kids to Africa)

Have fun.
December 05, 2008 20:04
Have fun. I spent 6 weeks in South Africa and Zimbabwe when i was a kid. Visiting Kruger National Park, Hwange Safari Park, Victoria Falls and Lake Kariba. I can honestly say it was the best 6 weeks of my life and i'm hoping to go again in 2010 ready for the football (soccer to the American people) world cup :).
December 05, 2008 20:47
Please enjoy your trip! I love reading about your travels to Africa.

Of course, every time you blog about it, I get this song stuck in my head for hours.

It's gonna take a lot to drag me away from you
There's nothing that a hundred men or more could ever do
I bless the rains down in Africa
Gonna take some time to do the things we never had

Please, somebody, MAKE IT STOP!
December 05, 2008 20:50
Hey Scott, just wanted to let you know that the first link in your post is broken. Looks like you've got an extra apostrophe in there.
December 05, 2008 20:57
Okay, now you've done it, Scott. You made me spend nine bucks. $19 if you count the "Journey's Greatest Hits" album that in my recommendations after I bought it. :)
December 05, 2008 21:05
Johannesburg! Man, you're gangster. One of the worlds most dangerous cities. (Source:
Good luck, have fun and be safe.
December 05, 2008 22:12
It is always fun to get away from the tech life for a little bit and spend a little time with the family.

I have 3 kids of my own and trying to balance my neverending desire to be on the computer while still keeping the family happy can sometimes be challenging. However, I find that the older I get I tend to take more pride in my non-technical achievements. Perhaps that why people get away from the real "techy" stuff later in thier career and become managers.

Anyway, enjoy the trip and I look forward to reading the details on your blog.
December 05, 2008 22:55
Have a great trip, Scott (& family)!
Mowbray - now that's the hospital where I was born, Mowbray Maternity hospital.
December 06, 2008 1:08
25 hours with a 3 and 1 year old is going to be a nightmare, I just came back from a 7 hour trip to mexico with a 5,2,0.6 and still wake up at night screaming. Good luck, take nightquilt on the airplane pre mesured.
December 07, 2008 13:25
Woohoo. I'm also heading back to SA to visit family over Christmas. There's going to be more sunshine than I know what to do with!
December 07, 2008 23:39
Hey Scott,

Hope you have an awesome time here in South Africa.

Wish I could have been in Bryanston tomorrow night, but wont be able to make it due to other commitments :(

- Matt Geri
December 09, 2008 0:47
I was just at the JHB dev meeting and it was AWESOME! As much as this might sound bad - it was amazing to have a microsoft person talk in a "real voice" - not the "marketing speak" that's usually heard. Basically instead of "wow" demo's that nobody can use in real life, we got real life demo's with frank and truthful experiences both good and bad. It was super cool.

I'd better stop writing before I start sounding like too much of a "fanboy". It was great. Someone at Microsoft must make a note to send him back here ... OFTEN. :-)
December 11, 2008 4:47
I will definetly enjoy this blog. I miss Africa so much, all of it. When you said "Gogo" i remember I used to call my zimbabwean's friend grandma like that. Be safe with the family and enjoy!
December 11, 2008 13:50
Sigh, I've had my stand up arguments with SA passport control, incoming and outgoing and without exception I always lose my rag. I psych myself up beforehand , I try to mentally prepare for being submissive and accepting that the young lady is "only doing her job" but after 6 very unpleasant experiences I can say that SA passport control is the rudest in the world and Australian customs is the friendliest I have come across and the most courteous. It's virtually impossible not to react to their rudeness and illogical manner and you did an admirable job, I don;t see why one has to be obsequious when you are visiting the country bringing in tourist dollars. South Africa will host the World Cup in 2010 and they had better clean up their welcome mat, Johannesburg is a shocking mess and passport control compounds the feeling of alienation.

It stems from the fact that the Home Affairs department who administer this area is one of the most inept , chronically underfunded and mismanaged in SA. With the odd exception , getting one's fingernails removed with pliers is preferable to interacting with a Home Affairs employee. By Far.

I apologise on behalf of my erstwhile country and I hope it didn't leave a permanently bad taste - Home Affairs rude and sullen attitude should not be taken as representative of the people.
December 12, 2008 16:39
Just wanted to say thanks to giving up your time to share the MVC stuff with us!

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in any way.