Top 15 young geeks announced
To mark South African youth month, Geekulcha has named the top 15 young geeks playing a role in igniting and developing the tech capacity in the country.
The initiative was created in 2017 to showcase and assess the health and state of geek culture or digital capacity in South Africa.
This year’s young geeks were nominated between January and April, and after going through a screening, a top 15 list was selected through the Geekulcha team, partners and GKSS structures.
In a statement, Geekulcha says: “While there is talk of the fourth industrial revolution, Geekulcha wants to showcase some of the local minds playing a role in building local solutions and platforms to help the masses in embracing the fourth industrial revolution.
“Exposing young talent to the corporate world for work and collaborative opportunities is one of the key focus areas of the organisation.”
Geekulcha, a platform with over 12 000 young people in ICT, creates and enables platforms for innovation and creativity through tech hackathons, open data quests, training and other activities.
Its goal is to create a vibrant and sustainable geek culture in Africa. Tech activities that Geekulcha drives are set on a pipeline of being a high school learner, university student and to the job market for young geeks.
According to Geekulcha, the top 15 were selected based on nomination motivation, impact on the community and digital capacity.
The top 15 young geeks in SA are:
Tshireletso Kgabi: The first in SA and Africa to be a CyberArk delivery engineer and also the youngest female technical security lady in PAM. She is an experienced cyber security engineer with a demonstrated history of working in the computer and network security industry and banking industry.
Sifiso Nkabinde: 15-year-old Nkabinde is a coder, coding and building machine learning-based projects. He is a member of the SciBono Clubhouse, attends various hackathons and is very competitive with the older coders. He was also awarded the Future Star Award at the MTN TADHack Johannesburg hackathon.
Raymond Itumeleng More: Founder of Kasiwireless, providing wireless Internet at minimum cost and free to young people and students around Soweto.
Mpho Jan Kubeka: Kubeka is a data science student. Over the past two years, he has been building start-ups from various industries. Last year, he participated in the MIT Global Start-up Labs in Johannesburg at the Tshimologong Digital Precinct.
Kagiso Zinx Maloma: Founder and CEO of Genius Level Group.
Diketso Setho: Founder of Ghetto Heroes Tech Innovation. He has been teaching coding to the youth and kids in disadvantaged communities free of charge through his organisation.
Matlapeng Sewagodimo: A software engineer, half marathon runner and tech YouTuber. She started programming at 16, and has since graduated with a Bsc (Hons) in computer science and 3D gaming from UCT. She now works as a software engineer for PRAEKELT.org, and is also the lead for Developer Circles Cape Town and editor of Indoni Space digital magazine.
Ofentswe Lebogo: Works full-time for Standard Bank as a data scientist, solving bank-related problems with data and machine learning. He has developed more than 10 production apps, ranging from PHP, Django, Ruby and Android. He works part-time for iTechHub as a full stack data scientist.
Zanda Isaacs: Founder of Ting Tang Tea. A digital marketing geek in the e-commerce space, Isaacs’ entrepreneurial endeavours began at the age of 10, selling stickers to her peers.
Abdul Malik Tejan-Sie: Graduated from Durban Computer College Cum Laude in IT. After years of freelancing and consulting to companies around Durban, he later established Africa School of Technology.
Dan Nyabadza: A data scientist at Digitech Group.
Doreen Mokoena: Counts digital forensics, criminal investigation, policy and regulations, Internet governance, data privacy and cyber security as her passions. She has revolutionised cyber security engagements and recruited more than 3 000 women to code and on issues of compliance.
Keolopile Gomolemo Mohapi: In his final year specialising in application development. Apart from school, he creates projects, hosts hackathons and events with Microsoft at his campus. Last December, he decided to take on the artificial intelligence path and created a bot that broadcasts personalised messages on WhatsApp.
Kamogelo Charmaine Thebe: A junior software developer at GirlCode Volunteer. She wants to be an expert at what she does so that she can be able to start an NPO that will get more disadvantaged kids into tech and coding.
Zakia Salod: A software developer from Durban. She obtained her BCom IT honours degree from UKZN. She believes the majority of the world's problems can be addressed via the synergistic use of technology and the vast amounts of data that exist in this era.