Information on Southern African Networking

Information on Southern African Networking

Information on Southern African Networking 1994/08/23 ------------------------------------------ DISCLAIMER: this not an "official" document in any sense - it represents what one individual knows about connectivity and networking in the sub-continent. Any omissions or mistakes are due to ignorance, not malice. Please send email to with comments, additions or corrections. An up to date version of this document is available by anonymous FTP, gopher, and WWW from: gopher:// [this is a slightly different, and possibly out of date version] South African academic and research network ------------------------------------------- Academic and Research networking in South Africa is co-ordinated by the Foundation for Research Development (FRD), who administer a regional TCP/IP network commonly known as "Uninet-ZA". Membership of Uninet-ZA is institutional, and networking costs are recovered by means of an annual subscription. In essence, this means that users (staff and students) do not pay for network access. Uninet-ZA is linked to the Internet by a 128kb digital line running over fibre (i.e. not satellite) that connects Rhodes University in Grahamstown to ICMnet-Atlantic in Washington D.C. This link has been in place since February 18th 1994. Prior to that, the link was 64kb through satellite. Internally, the major networking centres - Cape Town, Grahamstown, Durban, Johannesburg, Pretoria - are redundantly connected by 64kb digital links. The smaller, or outlying, centres connect to the regional hubs over dedicated 9600bd analogue lines or 64kb digital links. These links are under review, and may be upgraded in the near future. There are several dialup uucp gateways to commercial sites in South Africa, as well as to FidoNet and to sites in neighbouring Southern African countries. The Uninet office at the Foundation for Research Development has an active commitment to Southern African networking, and is prepared to assist with connections in the sub-continent and further afield. The contact at FRD is Mike Lawrie, who may be reached by e-mail at the following address: UNINET-ZA site information -------------------------- This list is intended to give some ideas as to where to start looking for contacts at South African universities, technikons, libraries or research institutes. In most cases, the "postmaster" at each site will be able to assist with information on local users or facilities. If for some reason the "postmaster" isn't answering mail, please correspond with: and complain. These sites are all connected via TCP/IP:

Albany Museum, Grahamstown -
Cape Technikon, Cape Town -
Computing Centre for Water Research, Pm'burg -
Council for Scientific and Industrial Research -
Elsenburg Agricultural Research Inst, Stel. -
Foundation for Research Development, Pretoria -
Hartebeesthoek Radio Astronomy Observatory -
Hermanus Magnetic Observatory -
Human Sciences Research Council, Pretoria -
Institute for Commercial Forestry Research -
Institute for Fruit Technology, Stell. -
Institute for Maritime Technology, C.T. -
Medical Research Council, Bellville, Cape -
Medical University of South Africa, Pretoria  -
MinTek, Randburg -
Natal Technikon, Durban -
National Accelerator Center, Faure, Cape -
National Botanical Institute, Pretoria -
Onderstepoort Veterinary Research Institute -
Peninsula Technikon, Cape - 
Potchefstroom University -
Port Elizabeth Technikon -
Randse Afrikaanse Universiteit, Johannesburg -
[*] Rhodes University, East London Campus -
Rhodes University, Grahamstown -
[*] SABINET, Pretoria -
[*] St Andrews College, Grahamstown -
Sea Fisheries Research Institute, Cape Town -
South African Astronomical Observatory, C.T.  -
South African Library, Cape Town -
Stellenbosch University -
Technikon OVS/OFS, Bloemfontein -
Technikon Pretoria -
Technikon RSA, Johannesburg -
Technikon Witwatersrand, Johannesburg -
University of Cape Town -
University of Durban Westville, Durban -
University of Fort Hare, Alice, Ciskei -
University of Natal, Durban -
University of Natal, Pietermaritzburg -
University of Port Elizabeth -
University of Pretoria -
University of South Africa, Pretoria -
University of the Orange Free State, Bloem.  -
University of the Western Cape, Bellville, Cape -
University of the Witwatersrand  -
University of Transkei, Umtata, Transkei -
University of Zululand, Empangeni -


The East London division of Rhodes University comprises a satellite campus, mainly concentrating on the commerce faculties.

SABINET is the subscription based South African Bibliographic Network. Most subscribers to this service are institutional libraries.

St Andrews is a private high school with a Novell LAN that has TCP/IP and email links to the Internet via Rhodes University.

Future connections

Soon to be linked up to the Uninet-ZA TCP/IP network are:

University of the North, Vaal Triangle Technikon, Vista University, SANGONET.

Negotiations are in progress between Uninet-ZA and:

University of Bophuthatswana, ML Sultan Technikon, Kwazulu Epidemiology and Health Information Services, Dept of National Education, Mangosuthu Technikon, Dept of National Health and Population Development, Dept of Environment Affairs, University of Swaziland.

Thinking about it:

University of Venda, Northern Transvaal Technikon, Transkei Technikon, Border Technikon.

Commercial sites and networks

While there are large numbers of purely commercial sites in South Africa using TCP/IP, very few of them are directly connected to Uninet because of somewhat esoteric Telkom regulations about third party traffic as it relates to common interest groups. The exceptions are the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, and Sabinet, which are part of Uninet-ZA.

There are dialup or X.25 based uucp links, and some dedicated TCP/IP links between Uninet-ZA and some commercial sites, which collectively form a loose network known as Sanet. Sketchy details of their connectivity are available in the "u.zaf.1" section of the uucp mapping project - available in irregular postings to the Usenet newsgroup "comp.mail.maps". For further information, contact Mark Elkins at Olivetti Africa ( or Aris Stathakis (

The following information was recently posted to a local Usenet newsgroup:

>Newsgroups: uninet.config,sanet.config
>From: (Chris Pinkham)
>Subject: New Internet link in place
>Date: Mon, 1 Nov 1993 18:26:51 GMT
>Organization: Aztec Information Management & Guest logins

The Internetworking Company of Southern Africa (Ticsa) is pleased to announce that its 64K link to The Internet is up and running. Ticsa's Cape Town hub is connected to Alternet in Falls Church VA.

Ticsa is a new company whose goal is to extend Internet services in the region to those who have previously not had access, such as commercial organisations and other non-academic bodies, as well as those in neighbouring countries. It operates with a voluntary, not-for-profit philosophy, based on the founders' desire to make these services available for as low a cost as possible.

As of tonight (Monday, 1 November), four companies have access to the Internet via Ticsa, with another six connections scheduled for the coming week. A connection between Uninet-ZA and Ticsa is planned, linking all the local IP nets. Currently, communication between Ticsa and Uninet sites crosses the Atlantic (twice :-).

For more information about Ticsa, contact us on (021) 419-2768, or send us email at

From  Mon May 30 09:05:44 1994
Date: Mon, 30 May 94 09:05:23 GMT
From: (Andras Salamon)
Message-Id: <>
Subject: Info for SA Internet FAQ

Here is information about TIS for inclusion in your informal FAQ on Southern African networking.

The Internet Solution is based in the PWV and has been providing Internet services to South African companies country-wide since November 1, 1993. TIS concentrates on customer service and superior infrastructure. The entire operation is run on high-end Wellfleet and Cisco routers and an array of Sun workstations.

South Africa's largest corporations connect their 64 kbps link to SprintLink in the USA via the SAT-2 undersea fiber optic cable.

TIS goes beyond basic IP connectivity. We ensure that all the intricacies of being part of the Internet community are taken care of, efficiently and correctly. We specialise in system configuration and network security. DNS configuration and email setup are only a small part of the services offered to TIS customers.

TIS has strategic alliances with South Africa's premier computing organisations which has lead to a range of connectivity skills for a vast number of computer platforms, including Sun, SCO, Windows-NT, and AIX.

We offer a full range of connect options, from dedicated corporate IP links to access for individuals.

Best wishes
Andras Salamon


The following list of organisations gleaned from the uucp maps, DNS zone files, postings to Usenet, and other sources is most likely incomplete, and possibly incorrect. However, it isn't easily available elsewhere. Feedback on misleading or incorrect entries is welcomed. Many of these are now on the Internet (marked with an "*").

Note that some of these organisations offer public or commercial access to mail/news in the relevant urban area.

Africa Interconnect, C.T. (mail+news)
Argus Group, Jbg (Newspaper publishers)
Aztec Information Managenent, C.T.	      *
Bloemfontein Padworks (Pty), Bloem 
BTR Dunlop, Dbn (Industrial holdings)
C Users Group, Pta
Cape Town City Council                
Catalyst BBS, P.E. (mail+news)
Communica (Electronic component suppliers)
Compustat, C.T. (commercial email)            *
Cyberaccess cc, C.T. (commercial IP access provider)
Dimension Data, Jbg (networking)
Duxbury Transmision Eqpt, Cape, (EE manf)
Electronic Media Networks (Subscription TV)
Eskom, Jbg (Electricity supply utility)       *
Europe Assistance Emergency Travel Insurance  *
Executive Communications, Pta (Radio paging)  *
First National Batteries, Benoni (Manf)
Free Range Comp Systems, Pta (comms services) *
GommaGomma, Pta (Furniture manufacturers)
Hi-Performance Systems, Jbg (HP agents)       *
Infoplan, Cape
Intnl Seismic Surveys Inc, Welkom (consult.)
Internet Solution, Jbg (IP+Dialup connections)*
Internetworking Cape, C.T. (IP+Dialup access) *
Investec Property Group, Jbg
IO Systems, Jbg (Unix education/consulting) *
Lasernet, Jbg (SCO support)
LinkData, Claremont                   
MacLove Computer Systems, Jbg (MCBA agents)
Malachite Electronic Systems, CT
Megabyte Digital Comms, Jbg (Comms consulting)
Micro & Peripheral Distributors, Jbg          *
Netsys International, Pta
Olivetti Africa, Jbg
Paradigm Systems Technology, Pta
Perseus Computer Systems, Jbg (Data General)
Plessey-Tellumat, CT (Electronics)
Posix, Pta (commercial mail/news)
Rascal Systems
Realtime (Progress Distributors)              *
Standard Merchant Bank, Jbg (Standard Bank)
Stellar Systems, Harare, Zimbabwe     
Synergy Computing, C.T. (PowerHouse agent)
Telkom, Jbg (National PTT)
The Star, Jbg (Daily newspaper)       
Tradenet, Jbg
Transvaal Pressed Nuts & Bolts, Alberton (manf)
Uniforum SA, Jbg                      
Unique Technology, Midrand (SCO support)
Unix Information Systems, C.T.
Van Zyl Eng Bureau, C.T. (EE consulting)
Vector Computers, Jbg (Sun agents)            *
Wearcheck, Pinetown (Oil analysis lab)
Worknet Information Assocn, Jbg (NGO support)
Zeus Software, Pta

Details of these sites are unknown, but they are Internet connected:


Details of these domains are unknown, but they are registered and accept email:

One of the commercial customers of Compustat is:

Cape Bar (Assocn of lawyers in Cape Town)

NGO's and other organisations

Non governmental organisations (NGO's) such as Worknet and some other organisations that are neither "academic" or "commercial" are housed in the "" zone. Contact for more information. Some of these are uucp or FidoNet dialup sites associated with APC.

The zone is also intended to cater for private individuals, or hobbyists not involved with FidoNet.


There is an extensive Fido network in South Africa, addressable from the Internet as * Contact Henk Wolsink ( for more details. Henk is the Z5 zone (Africa) co-ordinator. Be aware, though, that Worknet (an affiliate of APC, the association for progressive computing) also make use of FidoNet nodes that do not appear in the standard node lists.

On the academic front, there are FidoNet links to:

University of Malawi, Blantyre         -
University of Mauritius, Port Louis    -
University of Zambia, Lusaka	       -

Neighbouring countries

Rhodes University runs a uucp dialup gateway (i.e. email only) with links to the following academic sites:

National University of Lesotho, Roma -
University of Botswana, Gaberone -
Universidade Eduardo Mondlane, Maputo, Mozambique -
University of Namibia, Windhoek -
University of Swaziland, Mbabane -
University of Zimbabwe, Harare -

The National University of Lesotho are upgrading their email system from the current DOS based PC, to a 386bsd multi-user unix system. When this system is commissioned, the primary contact address will change.

The University of Zambia are experimenting with a uucp link, and are masquerading as "" - mail to may elicit a response. Currently, the preferred method of contact is via the Fidonet link.

Note that these are all dialup links, usually 2400 baud, and the phone calls are, in most cases, being paid for by the remote site. Vast volumes of trivial email could cause financial woe to the recipents.


A source of some confusion is the X.25 packet switching network run by Telkom and known as Saponet. This is a carrier - not a network. However, an X.28 interface to Saponet is accessible in quite small centers via a local telephone call. It also provides a dialin-dialout service similar to PC-pursuit, access to Beltel (a teletext system similar to the French Minitel), and access to an X.400 service as well as other facilities.

Telkom will rent subscribers Minitel terminals, and also sell PC compatible communications and emulation software.


Telkom are running a commercial X.400 mail service, known as Telkom400. It has access to other international X.400 systems, and email from the Internet can be sent to Telkom400 subscribers and vice versa.

Compu$erve Africa

A subscription based gateway to CompuServe in the U.S.A. is available through the CSIR. It is expensive, and, probably, for Internet based citizens, of theoretical interest. Non-Internet citizens can make enquiries to the (South African) toll free number 0800 112252.


A full Usenet newsfeed - currently in excess of 2500 newsgroups - is imported into South Africa and is freely available to Uninet-ZA sites, as well as to the FidoNet community and to other commercial and private organisations. Internal re-distribution is by nntp and uucp.

In addition to the standard hierarchies, the full "aus", "bionet", "bit" (a comprehensive selection of gatewayed LISTSERV mailing lists), "eunet", "info" (a selection of Internet based mailing lists), "gnu", "k12", and "vmsnet" hierarchies are imported. A conscious decision was made to obtain as full a feed as possible so as to minimize administrative hassle and end-user backchat about censorship.

The regional news hierarchy is "za", and it contains several newsgroups devoted to Southern African issues. In addition, some institutions have their own local news hierarchies. "za" is distributed outside South Africa, and interested persons may be able to arrange a newsfeed by contacting Randy Bush -

Issues relating to networking connectivity (or otherwise), policy arguments, and general queries are currently discussed in the newsgroup "". Other newsgroups are:		Looking for a job?/Offering a job?		Want a lift from Bulawayo to Cape Town via Durbs?		For sale/to swap/wanted to buy
  za.archives		Who's got what, where... and how...
  za.culture.xhosa	Ingxoxo ngolwini, amasiko nezithete zakwaXhosa.
* za.culture.xhosa	For discussions of Xhosa language and culture.           Discussions on the use of computers in education
  za.environment	Environmental issues in Southern Africa		Conferences, events and happenings nationally
  za.flame		A cool imitation of the real thing
  za.humour		Humour/jokes/fun
  za.misc		General chat, comments, announcements etc		Local UUCP maps [] (Moderated)		Miscellaneous ramblings on networking in ZA		Statistics on network usage, automated postings etc		Announcements and feedback from the Uninet-ZA office
  za.politics		Politics in Southern Africa
  za.schools		Issues affecting primary and secondary education		Finer points of jukskei or the Comrades marathon
  za.test		Testing of news links and configurations
  za.unix.misc		General discussion, questions and chat about Unix in ZA

Entries marked with an "*" provide alternative descriptors for the systems "newsgroups" file.

The following major news hubs are reportedly carrying the "za.*" hierarchy. If you want to receive the newsgroups, get your news administrator to ask one of these hub sites where to get a feed.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------		San Franciso hub			Washington DC area hub		Washington DC area hub			major hub in Taiwan			Boston/New England hub			major hub in the UK			SouthEastern US hub		new site (the guy that used to run			hub in HongKong		New Jersey			major hub in germany		the Usenet-to-Bitnet gateway site		NY City hub			major hub, national influence			Toronto Canada hub				Los Angeles hub		Illinois		St. Louis
------------------------------------------------------------------------------			On-line Communications Services, San Jose		Eugene, Oregon                    UUnet, Virginia                   Whole Earth 'Lectronic Link, San Francisco

  F.F. Jacot Guillarmod     PO  Box 94     \        |
  Computing Centre       Grahamstown 6140   \      /      Fax: +27 461 25049
  Rhodes University        South Africa      ;___*/     Phone: +27 461 318284
   The views expressed above are not necessarily those of Rhodes University

From: (F. Jacot Guillarmod)
Subject: Re: Access in South Africa?
Date: 30 Aug 1994 22:18:42 +0200
Organization: Rhodes University Computing Services

Editor: Ali B. Ali-Dinar
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