Open Source Festival 2023: Sustainability for Growth

Open Source Festival 2023: Sustainability for Growth

Over the past five years of Open Source Community Africa existence, we have made exceptional strides in introducing open source to Africans through advocacy, awareness, local chapters, and our annual flagship event, the Open Source Festival. Building upon the success of the previous editions since 2020, our team has delved into the profound discussion of how to collectively sustain the contributions of African open source contributors to foster meaningful impact. And what better way to continue this discourse than by bringing together open-source technologists from across Africa and beyond for the highly anticipated third edition of the Open Source Festival?

Open Source Festival 2023, themed Sustainability for Growth, took place at Landmark Event Centre, Lagos, Nigeria from June 15th to 17th. A grand event with a total of 88 sessions from 81 speakers across the globe, the festival saw a remarkable attendance of over 2000 people from 19 countries. This remarkable gathering of open-source enthusiasts and professionals showcased the vibrant open-source community in Africa and the world. Here is a summary video of how the Open Source Festival 2023 went:

Sustain Africa: Thursday, 15th June, 2023

Sustain Africa is an exclusive event dedicated to fostering sustainability in open-source development, particularly within the African open-source ecosystem. The event brings together a select group of experts and stakeholders to delve into strategies and initiatives that can ensure the long-term viability and impact of open-source projects in Africa.

To gain insights into the discussions and outcomes of Sustain Africa 2023, you can refer to the community report using the link below.

Day 1: Friday, 16th June, 2023

The festival kicked off with the registration session, after which we launched into a series of workshops and talk sessions. The sessions were held simultaneously across multiple halls, ensuring that participants could choose the topics that resonated most with them. Here are highlights from the keynote sessions:

The first keynote speaker, Regina Nkenchor talked about the common challenges women face in the open source ecosystem and how to overcome them through her session on "Overcoming Obstacles as a Woman Contributor to Open Source Projects". She highlighted the importance of having a mental shift as a woman, which has to do with releasing limiting thoughts and embracing empowering open-minded perspectives.

Jan C Borchardt, in his keynote session "Open Source Design Strategies for Building a Sustainable Community" discussed some challenges designers face in open source, how structures can improve your organization and the essence of collaboration between the team. He also spoke on how designers can work on project issues with the help of design tags.

We had other workshops and talks with topics ranging from e-commerce, operating systems, IoT, data science, in-app notifications, data structures, Kubernetes, MLOps, APIs, SRE, Observability, and so much more. You can take a look at the event schedule (Friday, June 16) to see all the talks/read their synopsis or watch all the video recordings.

Day 2: Saturday, 17th June, 2023

Day 2 proved as engaging and captivating as the first, featuring a captivating lineup of keynotes and talks across various fields. We started the day with a Women in Open Source breakfast featuring a fantastic panel session from amazing women in open source sharing their experience leading in the space. After the breakfast session, we kicked off the other sessions. Here are highlights from some keynote sessions:

Samson Goddy and Ada Nduka Oyom gave a co-founders keynote, where they talked about how open source is already a driving force globally, empowering individuals and organizations. They also made us understand that open source isn't just about the project, but the community also.

A keynote session from Brian Douglas on "The Secret Sauce is Open Source", talked about the Internet being a powerful tool that connects us with like-minded individuals. He also made us understand that there are lots of opportunities in open source when we dedicate our time and effort.

Angie Jones took us through how Web5 plays a crucial role in decentralized platforms in her Keynote session "Refactoring the Web." She analyzed the 3 pillars of web5 and they are all open standards. Developers will be able to build decentralized applications on the Web5 platform, because of the little to no complexity in building them.

We had other talks with topics ranging from design prototyping, engineering for wellness, cloud engineering, security, systems design, protocol engineering, job hunting, and so much more. You can take a look at the event schedule (Saturday, June 17) to see all the talks/read their synopsis or watch all the video recordings.

Community and Partnerships

To extend our reach and impact, and enable access to the event, we partnered with some communities like She Code Africa, Google Developer Student Community (GDSC) Lagos, Web3Ladies, CHAOSS Africa, and People in Product, offering discounted tickets to their community members.

We are also grateful to TalentQL for offering us their space to host the Sustain Africa event. TalentQL is building world-class engineering teams with vetted software developers. They also offer engineering and product certification training via AltSchool Africa.

Event Feedback

This year, we had attendees, speakers, and sponsors share inspiring stories of networking, diversity, and career connections through our official hashtag, #OSCAFEST23.


To see images, video highlights, and recorded sessions, you can check out the event gallery and our YouTube channel.

Special Thanks

This remarkable event wouldn't have come to reality without the tireless dedication of our exceptional core team, organizing committee, multitude of sponsors, and incredible event volunteers. A heartfelt thank you goes to our sponsors for their invaluable contributions that played a pivotal role in the event's success.

What's Next for Us?

In the next year, we plan to continue our mission of empowering Africans with open source technology through our chapters, creating sustainable programs, and connecting them to more opportunities and projects. To stay updated, connect with us on Discord and all social media.