Microsoft celebrated the launch of the much talked about, eagerly anticipated Windows 8 operating system with a series of launches around the world last week. The product was showcased to South Africa at a launch in Johannesburg this past Thursday, where we were treated to a stylish African-themed event sheltered under the branches of a large Baobab tree, with the calls of the bush ringing in our ears as the hues of the sunset faded into a starry sky.
While sipping cocktails with the number ‘8’ bobbing around inside the glass, the music of popular local musicians such as Freshlyground, Prime Circle and Louise Carver echoed amidst the aloes while media and guests mingled on a chilly spring night. We were then ushered into an impressive room where we took our seats beneath the mighty Baobab and listened as the Night Jar trilled its song. As the last colours of the sunset turned to black and the stars began to twinkle, the cries of the Jackal and then the roar of a Lion filled the air.
Well-known adventurer Kingsley Holgate then began a storytelling journey, which was continued by Lebo Mashile, as South African celebrities were invited to the stage to share their experiences with Windows 8. It was a captivating evening, very different to any launch that we had ever attended before, and one for which Microsoft should be saluted for flying our beautiful country’s flag high and giving everyone in the room yet another reason to be proudly South African.
From Olympic swimmer Chad Le Clos to mountaineer Sibusiso Vilane, photographer Greg Marinovich, ceramic artist Fee Halstead, chef Reuben Riffel, plastic surgeon Ridwan Mia and local band Dance You’re on Fire, it was hard not to be swept away by the talent that visited us briefly under the Baobab tree. Each guest shared their unique experiences with Windows 8, and before the evening came to an end we had a clearer picture of just how much the new operating system has to offer and how it’s possible to use its new apps to make one’s life that much easier, no matter your career.
Microsoft SA managing director Mteto Nyati said “with the launch of Windows 8, Microsoft is unveiling a reimagined Windows to the world. Whether you want a tablet or a PC, whether you want to consume or create content, whether you want to work or play – Windows 8 delivers a personalised experience that fits your unique style and needs.”
Before the evening ended we were rocked by Dance You’re on Fire while browsing the different laptops and tablets with Windows 8 on show at the event, and nibbling on Koeksisters and Milk Tart.
Windows 8 is available in stores now, you can choose between two versions at retail, Windows 8 and Windows Pro. There are also a range of new applications available, including a new Standard Bank banking programme, DStv Guide, Yellow Pages, News24 and Weather SA.
Here’s a few more photos from the launch event: