How many $100 laptops could Oprah Winfrey buy South Africa?

You may know Oprah Winfrey has opened a $40 million school for girls, south of Johannesburg. Apparently this is a greater sum than the US government spent on development in the whole of Africa last year.

ZuluZulu says many thanks Tannie Oprah. But Mhambi would wonders how many of Nicolas Negroponte’s $100 laptops she could have bought with $40 million and if it would not have been money better spent?

A quick bit of maths brings me to believe that Oprah’s money could have bought 400,000 laptops. Which is quite allot. Who would she give it to? I would suggest the poorest children in Gauteng.

The South African government has divided all school pupils into 5 categories according to how poor they are. In Gauteng, the smallest but most developed province there are 383,674 pupils in the poorest and largest category. This province would be ideal, relatively densely populated and with good roads, the wireless mesh technology built into the laptops could cast a wireless blanket.

Oprah could have given all of these poorest pupils $100 laptops, and probably could have covered of the next poorest category with what she will need to maintain the school and pay its staff. Just imagine 400,000 plus laptops creating their own wireless mesh all over the province and giving access to the poor to the Internet.

I’m no pedagogue but he reckons that if you give children the opportunity they will learn to use these instruments themselves, without too much hassle, as if by magic. (Many South African teachers have no clue how to use a computer). Imagine the creativity it could unleash?

Now if only the South African government could deal with the predatory monopoly that is Telcom and bring down internet access costs.

And if Joe Modise’s estate could repay the £500,000 and $10 million bribes for British Hawks and German subs, we would be looking at another 110,000 plus laptops, and if Shaik and Zuma…

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