Women’s Day is an opportunity to celebrate the South African women who are making changes in our country. This is especially evident in the tech space, where women are starting non-profit organisations, founding companies and raising their voices in support of women. Here are 10 South African women to watch.
Baratang Miya is a tech social entrepreneur and the founder and CEO of GirlHYPE – Women Who Code. GirlHYPE is a coding academy for women and girls in underserved communities in South Africa. Baratang is passionate about workforce diversity and workplace inclusion of women and youth in the tech and entrepreneurship space. Her goal is to attract, promote and develop women and girls from underrepresented groups in the field of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). She has partnered with organisations like UN Women, Mozilla, TechWomen, SiliconCape and Technovation to develop women’s digital literacy and participation on the web.
Dr Adriana Marais
Dr Adriana Marais is a theoretical physicist, technologist and ‘aspiring extraterrestrial’. She is the founder of Proudly Human, pioneering new frontiers in research and technology for a resilient future on Earth, Mars and beyond. She is also a Director at the Foundation for Space Development. One of their initiatives is Africa2Moon, Africa’s first mission to the Moon, to inspire the youth of developing nations to “Reach for the Stars” through education and science. Adriana is a member of the South African DHET Ministerial Task Team on the 4th Industrial Revolution and an astronaut candidate with the Mars One Project.
Dr Mmaki Jantjies
Dr Mmaki Jantjies is a technology specialist, researcher and advisor. She is an Associate Professor in Information Systems at the University of the Western Cape, and is passionate about driving the development of the next generation of 4th Industrial Revolutionists. Mmaki is a researcher in education technology who loves to develop software for mobile platforms, and runs the Peo ya Phetogo foundation, which enables exposure to critical STEM skills. She is working to ensure the African perspective and voice is heard in emerging technology innovations and skills development.
Thembiso is the founder and CEO of Social Coding, an organisation that helps rural communities leverage technology for a better future. An accountant turned tech advocate, Thembiso is recognized for designing and leading strategic coding workshops for rural youth, that have impacted 1800 scholars, across four provinces in South Africa. Thembiso has spent the past five years evangelising an industry-wide shift that seeks to prepare South African Youth for the 4th Industrial Revolution. This has mainly been through coding workshops particularly serving township and rural areas.
Sam Wright is more commonly known as Tech Girl, because of her popular website www.techgirl.co.za. Tech Girl is a South African tech blog for women, and a space for South African women to share their love for gadgets, gaming, tech and esports. Sam and her community of women simplify the tech specs, provide “geek” lifestyle content, offer reviews, tech talk and life hacks on all things tech. Check out her YouTube channel for more.
Lindiwe Matlali is a social entrepreneur and the founder and CEO of Africa Teen Geeks, an NGO that offers coding lessons to South African school children and unemployed youth. The organisation also hosts workshops, hackathons and community outreach programmes. The mission of Africa Teen Geeks is that no child be left behind in the tech revolution. It has grown to be one of Africa’s largest computer science NGOs, with a reach of over 48,000 children and more than 1,300 volunteers. Lindiwe was recently appointed to serve as Commissioner for the 4th Industrial Revolution responsible for the development of the 4IR strategy for South Africa by President Cyril Ramaphosa.
Zandile Keebine is the chairperson of GirlCode, an organisation she started in 2014 as a hackathon to get more girls excited about tech. GirlCode is now an NPO that aims to become Africa’s leading digital and innovation hub for young girls and women who want to get into tech. They do this by providing these young girls and women with various opportunities like the annual all-female hackathon, monthly workshops, and direct access to women working in top ICT (Information and Communication Tech) companies.
Sewagodimo is a software developer, international speaker and entrepreneur. She is the founder of Indoni Developers, an organisation that provides career support for female software developers. The organisation focuses on mentorship, skills development and opportunity as the three pillars of developing sustainable tech careers for women. She is also the founder of Buza Answers, a Q&A platform for high school learners in South Africa. Sewagodimo uses her YouTube channel, Sunshine in my Code, to encourage and teach more people how to code.
Tumi is the head of the OfferZen Foundation, working to improve diversity and inclusion in tech. The foundation’s explicit mission is to help people from underserved communities thrive in their tech careers. Their latest initiative, Project Thrive, saw nearly 100 people enter the tech mentoring programme within the first 6 months. Her goal is to lead and implement programmes at scale that have made a positive impact in people’s lives: to share her knowledge with those who have previously been excluded.
Emma is the co-founder and director of CodeSpace Academy. She is also the founder of Code4CT, an 18-month programme for high school girls that introduces them to coding, design-focused thinking and the IT industry in general. She pioneers transformative education models that prepare youth for the 21st century workplace. Emma is a dedicated global advocate for a more diverse and inclusive economy and tech industry. As a successful South African social entrepreneur, she has a particular interest in supporting young people in pursuing entrepreneurial activities.
At xneelo, we believe in empowering our customers to grow their businesses. We also support a more diverse tech industry, which is why we’ve partnered with CodeSpace to offer three xneelo scholarships for their Intro to Web course. Find out all about it – and how to apply – here.