Of The Freelancers Summit 2023

Afriblocks is a pan-African freelance network, connecting the world with the best African talent for emerging technology gigs. It had its soft launch back in January 2019 and then officially launched in July 2020.  It proceeded to be a fast growing platform and in its second year running was one of the handful of African startups to be part of the Techstars‘ 2021 Seattle Cohort.


The Freelancers Summit

Afriblocks has created an annual tradition of hosting The Freelancers’ Summit which is a conference for connecting businesses and freelancers while learning about industry insights, trends and new technologies that give a competitive edge. For the third anniversary of The Freelance Summit, Afriblocks hosted a two day hybrid event with a Fully Virtual Day One and an In-Person Day Two Session to cater for not only local but regional and global attendees.

The freelancers summit

I attended a 2019 Freelancer Workshop which looks like it become a precursor of The FreeLancer Summit which has since grown into an event of note, gathering an audience from all around the world. I missed some of the in-person Summits of yesteryear because that was during peak COVID pandemic and lockdown. When I got an invitation to attend the 2023 Freelancers Summit I was excited to see for myself how Afriblocks has been transcending.

The Venue

The 2023 Freelancer summit was held at The Venue, yes that’s the name of the place in Avondale, Harare. I always chuckle when I see that name, the venue is at The Venue. A simple and sophicated name, if you can back it up and of course, The Venue can back it up, any event that is held there totally acquires an air of being trendy and super organised.

The Venue Afriblocks Summit
The Venue – The Freelancer Summit 📸 Afriblocks

Traffic was a bit crazy or rather the traffic police were a bit crazy and for those who use public transport, well that causes a lot of inconvenience. Long story short, I was about ten minutes late to the start of the programme, which had been scheduled to begin at 9:15am on a Saturday morning no less.

I was surprised to find I was still one of the early birds and people were just beginning to trickle in. The programme had to be scheduled forward by an hour and so begun at 10:15am (which should have been the starting time in the first place if you ask me ha!)

Welcome Note

Mr Mapondera gave a welcome note that served not only as a history lesson but a reminder on how in building a legacy, we have to know where we came from, to know where we are going. Mr Mapondera is great grandson to Chief Mapondera who was instrumental in the Shona people’s struggle against colonial oppression, who was later captured, arrested and his decapitated head to date is a trophy at some museum 120 years later….

Mr Mapondera delivering welcome note speech 📸 Afriblocks
Mr Mapondera delivering welcome note speech 📸 Afriblocks

Mr Mapondera left Zimbabwe in 1965 when he was 19 and returned to a pre-independent Zimbabwe as part of a crop of black executives and engineers for Union Carbide which was trying to prepare for the transition to majority black rule from the white minority.

While the company had hired black executives out of a self-serving agenda to preserve their own interests in post-independent Zimbabwe, it also gave an opportunity for black people to showcase that they were equally capable in running and handling projects.

He highlightedhow each generation has its battles, challenges and tasks. We are in the generation whose task is to adapt and adopt or otherwise be part of the technological revolution.

Throughout the day the where various keynote talks and panels around the theme of Summit which was “Freelancing Entrepreneurship and Beyond

Presentations and Panels

Afriblocks Freelancers Summit
Takunda Chingonzoh gave a keynote speech on The Future Of The Gig Economy In Africa
•The was a panel discussion on Collaborating on Tech Projects: Navigating IP Ownershio And Control In Age Of AI
• A panel on Developing financially sustainable brands for Africa’s evolving work landscape
•A panel on Breakdown Of The African StartupScene
•Co-Founder Tongayi Choto talked about the strides Afriblocks has taken such as the Afriblocks 1.0 launch, Zimbabwe and The Global Gig EconomyDr Hapanyengwi delivered a keynote on speech on Developing AI Talent and Capacity Education Training and Collaboration Between Stakeholders
•A panel on The Relationship Between Media And growth of a strong business network in Africa

Running concurrently with The Freelancers Summit was a Hackathon and we got to see the prize giving presentation.

Afriblocks  Hackathon Winners Team Zambezi and Team Nile
Hackathon Winners Team Zambezi and Team Nile

The winners were:

Team Nile which showcased an idea of using machine learning to create a platform that could be used to see the kind of jobs your CV is best suited for or could be used by recruiters to pick suitable candidates given a pool of CVs.

Team Zambezi showed how one could leverage Web3 tech such as turning stock for a boutique shop into NFTs for a more secure and transparent e-commerce solution.

My favourite for which was just two points short of winning was an AI innovation by Ishe which could be used to input all sorts of communications one had with a client and then when you needed any references you could simply ask conversationally and it would give you required information without having to scroll through emails, instant messages and conference calls to find specific information as told by a client.

As you can see it was quite a jam-packed programme, with one tiny flaw in its lack of a refreshment break. By the time we got to the end, I was basically just willing them to wrap up as my mortal form was growing weary, needing sustenance. I was running on only a cup of coffee and fumes that by 3pm when we finally had the networking lunch, the notes I had been taking copiously were fast becoming a delirous blur.

Page from my notebook Beaton
Okay fine maybe my handwriting is just terrible 😂

The Key Takeaway was inorder to stay relevant you have to keep you skillset refreshed, learn and adopt new tech.

Overally, it was a wonderfully insightful experience, networked with some wonderful folks and I am just about to update my Freelancer Profile. Shout out to new connections made, yes you and you and you… 👋🏾

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  1. This was a nicely written blog, I’ll make sure to attend the next one.

    The Venue, is such a cool be for meeting place, surprisingly we have Avondale in Lusaka too.

    Great read, thank you Uncle B.


  2. This was a nicely written blog, I’ll make sure to attend the next one.

    The Venue, is such a cool name for a meeting place, surprisingly we have Avondale in Lusaka too.

    Great read, thank you Uncle B

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Totally worth checking out.💯 Will make sure to forward you an invitation.

      You have an Avondale too? Fascinating but not too surprising we are practically the same country just different management 🤣🤣


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