Geekulcha announces 2020 Top 15 Young Geeks
Youth ICT network Geekulcha has announced its 2020 Top 15 Young Geeks to mark Youth Month.
The Top 15 Young Geeks awards were launched in 2017 to develop a local ‘geek’ culture and showcase the state of South Africa’s digital capacity.
Held in association with ITWeb this year, the Young Geeks accolade honours the young people who are ‘enterprising mankind’ (this year’s award theme) by building the solutions that will improve society and encourage inclusivity.
Geekulcha digital officer Fikile Mlangeni says the ICT forum’s various initiatives are a platform enabling “skilled, creative and ambitious tech minds to develop skills, network with industry leaders and share knowledge”.
Public nominations for the Top 20 Young Geeks were open between January and April.
Following the first round of adjudication, the top 15 outstanding nominees were chosen by a panel comprising Geekulcha’s exco and ‘friends of the geeks’, including HERE Technologies’ Lenah Kitenge and Muzi Ntombela, CIO of the Centre of Public Service Innovation.
- Following the Top 15 announcement, nominee Nhlanhla Mahlangu posted on his Twitter page: “What Geekulcha has done for the geek community is one of the best things. I'm humbled to be picked and will continue to do my best for the Geekulcha.” Mahlangu works for the Ignition Group as a data science intern. He previously mentored high school students in programming and graphic design.
- Tsitsi Primrose Marote is co-owner of Guardian Health, a healthcare app that recently won the AyobaHack and ITWeb’s #BIDataHack, both hosted in conjunction with Geekulcha. Marote is a data scientist and tutors high school and varsity maths free of charge.
- Peter Moremi is founder of fundmyfees.co.za. The crowdfunding site aims to connect indebted or financially excluded university students with donors. He also launched his Web development company, Hop.
- Kutlwano Tshatiwa attends Gabonewe High School in the North West province. Tshatiwa coded an app, Math Geek, on his Android phone. He won bronze in last year’s Eskom Expo for Young Scientists for his anonymous Web browser app.
- Lyth Brown is chief business officer of Qubit Solutions. Brown is also co-founder of Spaanify, a challenge-based gamification platform connecting job-seekers and employers.
- Nangamso Tshwete is a Johannesburg-based network specialist at Amdocs, a software services provider. She was previously awarded ‘best developer’ at a GirlCode hackathon.
- Dale Deacon is founder and director of WeAreVR JOZI and WeAreVR AFRICA, platforms educating and bringing together designers and developers in virtual reality, augmented reality and 360-degree videos across Africa. Deacon has also lectured in the University of Johannesburg’s virtual reality short course.
- Karabo Maboka, a data science student at software training institute Deviare, believes the fourth industrial revolution’s opportunities will have a meaningful impact on South African youth.
- Keoikantse Botlholo is founder of Codetelligent, a soon-to-be-launched youth tech training Web site, and Kids In ICT, a skills-transfer organisation for disadvantaged children.
- Vanessa Sekati is a security operations centre analyst, network monitoring and end-user computing tutor at the University Of Johannesburg. Sekati also started VT Netsecure to educate people on keeping their personal information safe online.
- Gift Mogeni is a junior cyber security engineer at Puleng Technologies, and founder of Accelerated Learning Technologies. Mogeni created simfind.co.za, which helps people find their missing ones, also gaining attention outside South African borders.
- Raesetje Bonjo Sefala is a Wits University data science student. She has participated in several projects with various institutions, including the CSIR and the University of Chicago, and worked with the city of Jakarta in Indonesia as part of the Data Science for Social Good Fellowship.
- Madimetja Simon Sekele led a team at the Tshwane University of Technology in putting together the KASI Hackathon. Sekele also built a Twitter bot-embedded e-health system that allows patients to book appointments.
- Farisani Nonyana is a software developer at Mediro-ICT and a coding mentor at GirlCode. Nonyana has been contributing to the South African tech ecosystem by volunteering her time to teach high school learners to code.
- Tumelo Baloyi is the founder of several start-ups, including TDIGITAL; DotAfro, a pro-black social networking site; CharOn, a cell tower protection app; and Thuso App, which helps survivors communicate after a natural disaster.
Geekulcha has dedicated this year to launching 'Geekulcha as a development platform'; this entails offering its youth network support beyond hackathons, particularly around getting solutions to market.
The 2020 Top 15 Young Geeks will culminate in September, when the 2020 ‘Ultimate GeekStar’ is announced at Geekulcha’s annual hackathon.