Geekulcha VacWork programme extends to Mpumalanga

Read time 2min 40sec

"The legacy that we leave behind will be judged amongst other things, by our digital ability and how we prepared for future of the next generation."

So said Tiyani Nghonyama, COO of Geekulcha, and MD of NCDev Ecosystem, adding that Geekulcha has extended its VacWork programme, which helps students learn to code and build tech startups during the school holidays, to Mpumalanga.

The programme will be held across four provinces now: Gauteng, Northern Cape, Limpopo and Mpumalanga this summer, and will be led by the Vulingqondo Innovation Hub in Mpumalanga. "This edition of the VacWork is themed "Integrated Green Economy", challenging youngsters to be activists of environmental protection while adding to the economy.

The programme's mentors are cherry picked from university students who value mentorship, and are looking to share their knowledge to drive skills redistribution.

Activities will include the ideation and market research for an innovative idea, learning code, product development, product demos (top three winners selected) and tech debate.

At the end of the programme, the youngsters will dress in business wear and present their products or services which will be in the form of mobile apps; Web sites; electronics and robotics systems; and business cases. Prizes will be given to the top three winning teams, best female star, best presenter and ultimate GeekStar, while the debate winners walk away with a trophy.

Despite the challenges and limited resources in running the programme, Jacob Masingi, founder of Vulingqondo Innovation Hub, says best efforts will be put in place to ensure the success of the VacWork programme. "We should focus on making the programme as success in terms of transferring skills and knowledge to the learners", said Masingi.

Ahead of the programme, Geekulcha used its annual hackathon to collect tech books and sanitary pads for girls, which will be given to participants.

Participants were selected from various schools in the municipalities. They were given forms to fill in, and asked how they would use technology to better their communities. The programme is free and open to youngsters between nine and 20 years old.

The locations Mpumalanga VacWork will take place are:

Thaba Chweu Local Municipality

This edition will take place at the Thusong Community Centre with 40 learners.

Mentors: Kingsley 'Skinny' Kgwedi - Web, electronics; Nanikie Malwane - Web, mobile; Nkosana Ndlela - electronics.

Thembisile Hani Local Municipality

This will take place at the Thembisile Hani Public Library with 20 learners.

Mentors: Lloyd Mafoo - electronics; Fhulufhelo Maumela - Web, mobile, electronics; Tiisetso Mphuthi - mobile.

Dr JS Moroka Local Municipality

This will take place at the Siyabuswa Public Library with 20 learners.

Mentors: Rendani Mbodi - electronics; Charles Maruma - electronics; Thato Banda - mobile

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