Flow Communications

We were thrilled when Daily Maverick called on Flow to help present The Gathering, the media title’s annual day-long current affairs conference, for a third consecutive year.

The Gathering Twenty Twenty-Four, which took place on 14 March and focused on South Africa’s forthcoming national elections, was a hybrid event, with an audience of 1 600 at the sold-out Cape Town International Conference Centre (CTICC) and thousands more joining online.

It was for the online part of The Gathering that Daily Maverick called on Flow’s assistance, to provide a hosting platform, a livestream on the platform and on its website, plus on-the-ground technical and content support during the event.

This year, as in the two previous years, Daily Maverick used Flow’s online conferencing platform to present an interactive experience that, as much as possible, brought online attendees into the in-person event.

The Gathering2024platform
Flow’s online events platform, tailored to Daily Maverick’s needs.

This required the ability to ensure nine hours of uninterrupted livestreaming, on the platform and – for the first time – on Daily Maverick’s website.

To meet those demands, Flow’s developers ensured there was a dedicated internet line at the CTICC for the livestream. In advance, we also stress-tested the platform and the website’s capacity to accept large dataflows during the conference.

Bespoke platform

Flow first developed the platform for the Nelson Mandela Foundation when restrictions on travel and in-person gatherings due to the Covid-19 pandemic meant that its 2020 Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture had to be presented as an online-only event. Since then, the platform has been used for many events, always tailored to the client’s specific needs and desires.

In a departure from previous years, Flow’s developers this year built a dashboard into the platform’s back end that can calculate how many people log in to the event. The dashboard offers an accurate reflection of how many people attend the event because it has a “script” that checks every minute whether a user is still on the page, watching the webinar. We recorded 4 243 online attendees.

The platform’s look and feel were adapted to reflect The Gathering Twenty Twenty-Four’s branding. Its custom features included an easy-to-use public registration form and a public chat tool with back-end moderation capabilities.

Optimised to cope with high traffic volumes, the platform allowed for seamless virtual audience interaction, including chatting, asking questions and taking part in polls. The platform also enabled the publication’s journalists to provide expert running commentary on the event via a dedicated commentary wall.

The Gathering2024poll
The platform enabled seamless virtual audience interaction, including taking part in polls like the one shown above, chatting and asking questions.

A positive Gathering

One of the positives to emerge in recent years has been the realisation that we can use digital media to include more people in events such as The Gathering, which brought together South Africa’s leaders from politics, business, the Cabinet and government institutions such as the National Prosecuting Authority.

It gave those who attended – in person and virtually – deeper insight into what the politicians who are standing for election are promising, and how South African democracy is changing.

We were delighted to, once again, be part of The Gathering.

Former Public Protector of South Africa, Professor Thuli Madonsela, speaking at The Gathering.
Former Public Protector of South Africa Professor Thuli Madonsela speaking at The Gathering.
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