In a display of unmistakable Madiba magic, a record number of 6 000 learners from nine provinces in South Africa, as well as Tanzania, Zimbabwe and Zambia, participated in a #Coding4Mandela event on July 18.
While the rural and city sites all looked very different – from coding on picnic blankets, wooden desks in libraries to cement floors of churches and halls – the participating children had one thing in common: a genuine excitement for coding.
The #Coding4Mandela event is the brainchild of the Nelson Mandela University Computing Sciences Department and the Leva Foundation, made possible through their engagement project Tangible Africa. The anchor sponsor for the #Coding4Mandela event was Amazon Web Services (AWS) In Communities.
AWS Director of Software Engineering Willem Visser said education is a powerful tool that enables young people to write their own story. “It was such a privilege and honour to experience the Mandela Day Coding Tournament in person – seeing children have fun and learn at the same time, powered by the Tanks programme run by Prof Greyling and Nelson Mandela University. I could share a little bit of my own journey with the children and parents, and help them see all the opportunities ahead of them in South Africa through education and technology. I am inspired by the Madiba legacy and how he reminded us that ‘It is not beyond our power to create a world in which all children have access to a good education,’” said Visser.
Each site had eager parents, teachers or “coding evangelists” who rallied support from additional local sponsors for meals and prizes of the different coding events hosted on Mandela Day. Teams consisting of learners from Grade 6 – 9 played an offline coding game using puzzle pieces and a smart phone.
MiX Telematics Global Head of Procurement Lwazi Qangule said it was a ‘no-brainer’ for the company to support two sites in the Eastern and Western Cape and he looked forward to partnering with Tangible Africa in the long-term.