In March of 2015 Alfred Mahlangu, of AfricanLII, stayed with us for a month to create LII in a Box. He was “here to get ideas”, and he felt it was a great opportunity to work with the LII team as a whole. We wrote about Alfred’s visit here, but it’s been awhile, so thought we would reach out and see how it’s been going and what else he might be working on.
Tell us about what brought you to the LII originally
The aim of the trip was to learn about how things are handled technically and have more direct interaction with the technical team at LII given that LII has been around for sometime and were best suited to offer advise on how to go about technical side of things and the experience has been very valuable for me to date.
Can you remind us what LII in a Box is?
LII in a Box is a Drupal packaged distribution that powers up standards-based free and open access legal information websites
What was the hardest part of getting LII in a box off the ground? Is that still a challenge?
Since I was new to Drupal for me it was learning about Drupal standards on how to structure modules but it got better with time.
What was the hardest court or country? – what were its challenges?
We tested with Afghanistan and translation into the Arabic was a bit of a challenge
Did anything surprise you in the way it’s being used (or anything else surprising or interesting)?
How many are using it now?
We have about 13 websites that are using it
What modifications have you made from the prototype as it’s evolved?
The big modification made was of including enabling legislation to be directly consumed from a platform called Indigo and be presented on the LII-in-a-box site as well as the use of ApacheSOLR as a search engine to give users more alternatives in terms of how they want to filter the search results.
Tell us about the work you do
You work for AfricanLII – what is your job with them?
I am the IT Coordinator for AfricanLII and my main duties include Software Development and System Administration, Project Management and Leadership
What should we know about South Africa and it’s Free Law movement?
Free Access to Law movement is good for a country like South Africa as it ensures accountability and access to justice for ordinary citizens.
What is AfricanLII’s future look like, goals, challenges, successes)?
AfricanLII’s main goal is to promote Free Access to Law and Open Justice in Africa.
Are you working on any new projects?
We have Pocket Law project that enables users who have internet connectivity challeges to still be able to access legal information as well as mobile apps
Tell us about yourself
We see you also work with South African National Parks, what are the challenges of improving the awareness and reputation of SANParks?
South African National Parks is an organization I worked for prior to joining AfricanLII
What are your favorite parks or sites – what should we see if we visit?
My favourite park is Kruger National Park, seeing the big 5 animals
What do you like to do in your free time?
I read books on Economics,Philosophy and Politics
I keep seeing pictures of you in headphones spinning records – what’s that all about? What types of music do you play?
🙂 every now and then I get invited to be a DJ at functions and that’s why the earphones, with regards to the music type, I would say anything that has Good Tone, Rhythm and Vibration.
Are you ever coming back to Ithaca (or the states)?
In the near future yes