Coding reaches new frontiers with Bona Africa

Making coding more accessible to young people across Africa, has taken on an even more inclusive role with a new project piloted in Gqeberha.

Tangible Africa, a coding movement which is currently taking South Africa and Africa by storm, has partnered with the Bona uBuntu Programme to bring the magic of coding to visually impaired and blind children from Nelson Mandela Bay.

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Thousands of primary and high school learners on the continent have since 2017 been introduced by Tangible Africa to coding concepts, through coding App games which are played without the use of computers.

All that is needed to play these offline coding games spearheaded by Tangible Africa, an engagement project of Nelson Mandela University Computing Sciences Department and the Leva Foundation, is a smart phone, coding kit and eager learners, said Jackson Tshabalala, operations manager at the Leva Foundation.

And now, Tangible Africa is taking it a step further to reach visually impaired and blind learners who have never been exposed to coding.

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“This partnership is called Bona Africa, coding for VIPs. The name is significant because we want to show Africa that we can develop homegrown solutions for our own people, to promote digital inclusivity in Africa. Many people are disconnected from the digital economy, especially Visually Impaired People, and we want to help reduce this with digital education,” said Tshabalala.

Great reception during pilot games

The non-profit programme Bona uBuntu in Gqeberha has plenty of eager learners, who in July were excited to be introduced to the world of coding for the first time. “They had a lot of fun, and it was great to see that the same skills of teamwork and collaboration were used during their sessions. Our prototypes are basic for now, but we would love to design tools specifically for the blind and visually impaired children to play the games, including adapting our existing Apps or developing a specialised App,” said Tshabalala.

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