Firsts are complicated
When Ramon Film Productions’ Who Killed Captain Alex trailer exploded onto laptop and phone screens a couple of years ago, it made a very bold claim: Uganda’s First Action Movie! And though many may have given this a side-eye, who had the receipts? Who could say for a fact that it was not the first action movie? The same can be asked of co-working spaces.
One of the first intentional environments most similar to our current idea of co-working spaces was a hub called C-Base according to MindSpace.Me, which was founded in Berlin in the 1990s. It was intended as a physical space for hackers and other computer inclined individuals to meet and share ideas, resources and collaborate. The term, however, was coined a little later than the phenomenon, as most things are.
When Bernard DeKoven, an American game designer conceived the phrase “co- working space”, he meant it more as the creation of a space in which mutually collaborative work can occur without the need for hierarchies. But words are not set in stone, and this term mutated to refer to flexible office space used by independent entities (usually individuals) with access based on a membership model, such as 42West24 his own co-working space founded in 1999. But had there really been no co- working spaces before the 90s? Are personal computers and wi-fi the hallmarks of a co- working space?
Take, for example a boda-boda stage. Some boda-boda drivers own their own boda- boda’s, while others use them under a lease of sorts. By and large, these independent business entities select a specific “outdoor office space” and pay a certain amount of money on a yearly basis to be stationed there. Is the fact that nobody uses a laptop a disqualifier? No, surely, even those who work independently but without laptops still qualify to make use of co-working spaces… as long as they pay up and follow the rules.
This is particularly important because of the perception amongst the general public that hubs such as Tribe are intended for programmers, software designers and others in the tech industry. This notion is not discouraged by the ubiquitousness of laptops as tools for desk work in our society in general, but is not true. Co-working spaces house a surprising range of disciplines, which undoubtedly enrich the communities within them and encourage collaboration by complimentation.
Whether your boda boda is a laptop, a camera, or a yellow pad, we encourage you to walk into our indoor, wi-fi enabled boda boda stage and explore Tribe Kampala.
Malcolm Bigyemano is a film maker, copy writer, graphic designer and aspiring rolex connoisseur.