JWild 2020

Open Spaces Conference in Wilderness, South Africa,

Unfortunately postponed to 2021, but keep your eyes open for news about online experimental version of it to come asap.

What is it?

JWild is an Open Spaces conference (or “unconference”) that focus on two main themes: Software Design & Architecture, and Java. Since this is an unconference, the actual topics will be determined day to day by the attendees. More on the themes in the Why? section.

It should have taken place over 3 days in October 2020 (with an optional #hackergarten on 31 October), with sessions in the mornings, and social activities in the afternoons and evenings. Given the location in the Garden Route, South Africa, it is also ideal to bring family along.


There is a need for some open conversation around software design; an event that is not as structured as a normal conference. 

The well-known JCrete unconference showed how well an Open Spaces format combined with social activities in the afternoon works, and has inspired a few spin-off unconferences, like JAlba, JSpirit, JOnsen, and now JWild. These spin-offs, like JCrete, are focussed on Java as a theme, but normally ends up touching on a big number of topics that does not have anything to do with Java specifically. 

For JWild we do want to make enough room for Java specific topics, but we also want to create an opportunity to discuss Software Design and Architecture related topics. It feels like software design is becoming a rushed step at best, or in some cases even a forgotten craft, and at JWild we would like to give it decent attention. A chance to talk about why we design, how we design, practices, tips, principles, modern trends, cloud and distributed architectures, design in an agile world, and many other interesting and controversial conversations.

Being an Open Spaces conference, it means that multiple sessions (tracks) will happen in parallel, and we shape these (by voting) so that there is a good spread between various themes, according to the needs of the attendees. There is a good description about applied Open Spaces at JCrete.org.Come along ready to propose topics that you want to dig into.

Mostly we want to create a learning opportunity, with a lot of fun added.

When and Where

JWild was planned to happen from from 28 to 30 October, at the Fairy Knowe hotel in Wilderness, South Africa, but is currently postponed.

Fairy Knowe Hotel, Wilderness

Wilderness is in the heart of the Garden route and only 20 minutes from the George Airport. It is a place of natural beauty nestled in between the sea, the Touw River and the indegenous forest.  It is a paradise for bird lovers, hikers, surfers and everyone who loves nature. It is only 40 minutes away from Knysna and an hour from Oudshoorn and Plettenberg Bay. 


This is not a profit-driven conference, but a community event. The basic conference fee of R1000 covers the costs of the conference facilities, snacks, and lunch.

You pay for your own accommodation and the extra activities and dinners of your choice.  (We will create a spreadsheet to coordinate activities and dinners.)

Cost of conference

R1000 for three days (price includes snacks, coffee and lunch at Fairy Knowe Hotel)

Attendance of the #hackergarten event on the Saturday is free if you attended JWild.


You are welcome to book your own alternative accommodation. There are numerous guest houses, hotels and Airbnb options available in the area. 

If you wish to stay at the Fairy Knowe Hotel the costs are:

  • R 540.00 per night per person (not sharing), which includes breakfast 
  • R 330.00 per night per person sharing, including breakfast. 

(family rooms are also available)

Please book directly with the Fairy Knowe Hotel, using the JWild booking form for Fairy Knowe.


Wilderness is about 20 minutes drive from the George Airport, which has numerous connecting flights from Johannesburg, Cape Town and other South African airports.

It is also an easy 5 hours drive along the N2 from Cape Town area, along part of the Garden Route.

If there is enough interest, we can arrange a shuttle from the airport. Please indicate this when you contact us.


A wide range of activities will be available to choose from.  These can include:

Or you could just relax on the beach or have a stroll around the village.  

We will create a spreadsheet to coordinate activities and dinners.

If you bring your family/friends along, they are welcome to attend the activities, outings and dinners. Also feel free to contact us with ideas.


The sessions will typically be in the morning from 8:30 until lunch time around 13:00. There will be parallel tracks, and you can easily move (and are encouraged to move) between tracks.

The afternoons and evenings will be used for activities, outings, dinners and networking. Enough time for dreaming up great software while on the beach. 

On the last day we will have a typical braai (barbecue) with time for sharing war stories around the fire. 

You are of course welcome to stay on for the long weekend that follows (Monday 27th of April is a public holiday in South Africa), or explore Garden Route a bit.

Day 1 : 

  • 8:30 to 13:00 – Morning sessions
  • 13:00 to 14:00 – Lunch
  • Activities
  • Dinner

Day 2:

  • 8:30 to 13:00 – Morning sessions
  • 13:00 to 14:00 – Lunch
  • Activities
  • “Braai” evening with Storytelling

Day 3:

  • 8:30 to 13:00 – Morning sessions
  • 13:00 to 14:00 – Lunch
  • Activities
  • Dinner

Day 4 (Optional):

Register for JWild

JWild 2020 is currently postponed.

You are welcome to contact the disorganisers if you have any questions or ideas, or if you are interested in an online experimental unconference format version.

Follow us on Twitter: @JWildUnconf

The Disorganisers

The following people are currently involved in helping to arrange JWild. We are hoping some more join the ranks ;-).