You are here:

Mobile FABLABS: Local and Rural Innovation in South Africa

, , North-West University, South Africa ; , CSIR, South Africa

EdMedia + Innovate Learning, in Denver, Colorado, USA ISBN 978-1-880094-95-2 Publisher: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE), Waynesville, NC


Mobile Fabrication Laboratories, or FabLabs, have the potential to act as centers to promote creativity and innovation, and to bring about long-term social innovation in disadvantaged and rural communities across South Africa. In essence, Mobile FabLabs can become the delivery vehicles for a range of national policies designed to redress inequalities and for the benefit of developing countries. The findings in this report are based on a case study where a Mobile FabLab was deployed in the impoverished Eastern Cape region for five months during 2011. The focus of this was to review the physical design issues and to consider the impact of this intervention on the broader community. Initial conclusions regarding the pilot study are presented.


Beyers, R.N., Blignaut, A.S. & Mophuti, L. (2012). Mobile FABLABS: Local and Rural Innovation in South Africa. In T. Amiel & B. Wilson (Eds.), Proceedings of EdMedia 2012--World Conference on Educational Media and Technology (pp. 112-122). Denver, Colorado, USA: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE). Retrieved February 18, 2019 from .

View References & Citations Map


  1. Almirall, E. (2008). Living Labs and Open Innovation: Roles and Applicability. The Electronic Journal for Virtual Organizations and Networks, Special Issue on Living Labs (August 2008), 22-46.
  2. Beyers, R.N., Blignaut, A.S., & Herselman, M. (2010). The young engineers and scientists of Africa: Initiating the SET pipeline from Grade 1. Paper presented at the INORMS. Retrieved 11 December 2011, from Cape Town Tourism. (2011). Mobile library education project in Khayelitsha – A Cape Town Tourism photo essay. Retrieved 11 December, 2011, from
  3. Department of Basic Education. (2010). Education Statistics in South Africa 2009. Retrieved 11 December, 2011, from Department of Education. (2002). National Curriculum Statements Grades R-9. Retrieved 11 December, 2011, from
  4. Department of Education. (2004). White Paper on e-Education: Transforming learning and teaching through information and communication technologies. Retrieved 11 December, 2011, from Department of Science and Technology. (2011a). Innovation for Youth Initiative. DST.
  5. Department of Statistics. (2011). StatsOnLine. Retrieved 28 November, 2011, from Department of the Presidency: South Africa. (2009). StatsOnLine. Retrieved 28 November, 2011, from
  6. Engelbrecht, L. (2008). Govt pushes space science and tech Retrieved 1 December, 2011, from & View=article & Id=3301 & Tmpl=component & Print=
  7. 1Fab Central. (2008). Fab Central. Retrieved 25 August, 2008, from FabLab South Africa. (2011a). FabLab South Africa. Retrieved 28 November, 2011, from
  8. Gershenfeld, N. (2005). FAB: The coming revolution on your desktop-from personal computers to personal fabrication. New York: Basic Books.
  9. Glewwe, P., & Kremer, M. (2006). Schools, Teachers, and Education Outcomes in Developing Countries. In E.A. Hanushek, S. Machin & L. Woessmann (Eds.), Handbook of the Economics of Education (Vol. 2, pp. 9451017
  10. Hermann, D., & Joubert, P. (2011). Prospects bleak for underskilled matrics. Retrieved 24 November, 2011, from & Sn=Detail & Pid=7
  11. Leadbeater, C. (2009). We Think Mass innovation not mass production. London: Profile Books Ltd.
  12. Mangena, M. (2007). Keynote address by Minister Mosibudi Mangena at the launch of the youth into science strategy. Retrieved 11 December, 2011, from
  13. Moskvitch, K. (2011). Artificial blood vessels created on a 3D printer Retrieved 29 November, 2011, from Mulgan, G. (2006). Social SIlicon Valleys: A Manifesto for Social Innovation. London: The Young Foundation.
  14. Rothwell, W.J., & Kazanas, H.C. (2003). The strategic development of talent. A framework for using talent to support your organizational strategy. Amherst, MA: HRD Press Inc.
  15. The Guardian. (2011). Is the mobile library dead? Retrieved 11 December, 2011, from Upper Marray Regional Library. (2010). Mobule Library. Retrieved 11 December, 2011, from

These references have been extracted automatically and may have some errors. If you see a mistake in the references above, please contact