More than 300 young women showcased their coding and computing abilities at the recent GirlCode ‘Hackathon’ events in Pretoria and Cape Town.
Some of the girl coders at work.
GirlCode, a non-profit ICT skills development organisation for young women, was founded in 2014 to introduce coding and computing skills to girls and young women across South Africa with the main goal of encouraging them to pursue an interest in science and technology. The organisation, which aims to empower young girls and women through tech skills, says its vision is to impact 10 million women across Africa in 10 years, starting with getting young girls interested in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, and to become the largest female digital academy in Africa.
The Hackathons hosted by GirlCode are events where programmers, designers and analysts collaboratively code over a short period of time. Hackathons are held over a few days. While working on a particular project, the idea is for each developer to have the ability and freedom to work on whatever they want.
Tsebo Mabitsela, Tessa Nhar, Zandile Keebine the Chairperson and Co-founder of GirlCode, Nomzamo Ndlovu and Katlego Mofube.
RS Components, a market leader in the electronic, electrical and industrial component space was one of the sponsors of this year’s GirlCode Hackathon. Brian Andrew, MD of RS Component’s South Africa said that he was taken humbled by the work done by the GirlCode team. “This is a wonderful way to celebrate Women’s Month in SA. We at RS Components SA are absolutely honoured to be one of the sponsors of this event. Our country is definitely making huge leaps forward in terms of incorporating computer coding education to the nation’s youth and we look forward to seeing even more youngsters becoming involved with this massive global movement,” he said.
Zandile Keebine, co-founder of GirlCode said it was amazing to see how much the GirlCode Hackathon initiative had grown. “Looking back to 2014 we only had 30 girls participate in Pretoria and now looking back, it seems unreal that we have grown so much in such a short space of time-having hosted the Hackathon in three cities and over 300 female tech students,” says Zandile Keebine, co-founder of GirlCode.
“The reason we started the Hackathons was to create awareness and building a community around programming. We believe have achieved this over the years and would like to focus our resources to now teaching programme through our other initiatives. Hackathons are open to students who are currently studying towards an I.T related degree or recent graduates with less than two years work experience. The aim is to bring together emerging software developers, graphic designers, user interface designers and business analysts and inspire them to develop creative and tech-savvy digital solutions. These events have also become a platform for companies to recruit female tech talent. We are always excited to partner with as many companies as possible to help make the event a success,” said Zandile.