Reinforcing its commitment to empower South Africa’s youth with the necessary skills and mindset to succeed in the digital era, SAS sponsored the Boys & Girls Clubs of South Africa [BGCSA] to participate in the #Coding4Mandela Day Tournament that took place on Mandela Day, Tuesday 18 July 2023.
The annual tournament is run in conjunction with Tangible Africa – a partnership between Nelson Mandela University and Leva Foundation – that sees more than 6 000 learners from across the continent participate. The tournament uses the RANGERS coding app that have been widely adopted in South Africa to reach learners with coding without the need to use computers. Nelson Mandela University honours student Byron Batteson developed the app for his Computing Sciences project in 2017.
“The #Coding4Mandela tournament is more than an event – it’s a spark that ignites a passion for learning and draws in new participants each year. The excitement we see in learners, teachers, and parents reaffirms the impact of the Tangible Africa project. We are not just teaching coding; we are cultivating the coding ecosystem of the future. And in doing so, we are empowering learners from all backgrounds, making digital education accessible, and bringing their career dreams within reach – because every child deserves the opportunity to shape the future,” says Prof Jean Greyling, HOD Computing Sciences at Nelson Mandela University.
This is a sentiment echoed by Mike McTernan, CEO of BGCSA.
“The BGCSA believes in the power of partnerships, and the partnership we have with Tangible Africa is one we are all very proud of. Thanks to this collaboration our members have access to the TANKS and RANGERS programmes. Alongside these skills we also grow their confidence when using technology, enabling them to explore the digital world. Together BGCSA and Tangible Africa are equipping young people with the skills needed to secure jobs being created today by the Fourth Industrial Revolution [4IR],” says McTernan.
The BGCSA runs holistic development programmes to make sure that young people in communities are enabled and empowered to reach their full potential. From its sites across the country, approximately 240 school going children will be participating in the #Coding4Mandela Day Tournament, an average of 40 per club.
As part of its national sponsorship, SAS staff will be attending the coding tournament hosted by the Boys & Girls Clubs of South Africa. This reflects the commitment of SAS in unlocking the potential within every individual and providing students with access to the skills and solutions that will be essential in the rapidly evolving digital landscape.
“Companies who are looking to future-proof themselves while adopting 4IR technologies must adapt training, recruitment, and remuneration policies to recognise and leverage the importance of new skills that can infuse their organisations with greater resiliency, adaptability, and competitive advantage. The sponsorship of this coding tournament reflects the importance that shaping the next generation of tech leaders. This is a priority for SAS, as we continue to look for diverse opportunities to inspire students’ curiosity and support their exposure to critical thinking and problem solving, as these skills are foundational to developing technical skills and advancing careers in scientific or technological fields,” says Essie Mokgonyana, Country Manager and Sales Director for SAS in South Africa.
Overall, the #Coding4Mandela Day Tournament is targeting to reach 10,000 learners across the continent to bring to life Nelson Mandela’s vision of empowering youth through education.
“This initiative signals our potential to reshape Africa’s narrative, to be the architects of our own advancement. It’s not just a project, but a powerful statement of a promising future for Africa – a future that we are ready, willing, and eager to embrace,” says Jackson Tshabalala, Engagement Manager at the Leva Foundation.
Of course, the impact of the Tangible Africa project goes beyond students.
“We work with thousands of teachers, many of whom are unfamiliar with computers and find the idea of teaching IT or coding intimidating. We found a massive impact on their confidence once they start using our Tangible Africa games and tools. They find it easy to use, fun, and all of a sudden they are wanting to start coding clubs,” says Ryan le Roux, CEO of the Leva Foundation.