Final Category: STEM Advocates

From teaching children to code, to servicing communities with access and computer literacy programmes. These ladies are advocating by impacting and empowering STEM-related communities.

Vuyolwethu Dubese

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Vuyolwethu serves as an Associate of Impact Accelerator at investment and advisory firm Impact Amplifier, a Mentor at Allan Gray Orbis Foundation and, the Chair of the Board for GirlHype which is an NPC that has impacted coding and leadership skills training of 100 000 young girls over 14 years.
A Millennial Mag 20 Young People to Watch honouree and Inspiring Fifty South Africa (in cooperation with the Kingdom of the Netherlands) Top 50 SA Women in Technology nominee, she has since 2017, she’s also been serving as a One Young World Ambassador and since 2018, an Ambassador and Judge for the Global Startup Awards: Southern Africa region.

Mazote Msipha

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Ps. Mazote Msipha is the founder of Ebuhleni Foundation, a non-profit organization that was established in 2012. Ebuhleni Foundation was established with the aim to help eradicate poverty through the restoration of the value of education.
The Ebuhleni Foundation runs different community projects including a Science and Technology Center, Helping-hand which provides winter school uniform to disadvantaged children as well as free computer literacy lessons.
The free computer skills lessons have since yielded thousands of computer literate youth, improving their employability. Through Ebuhleni she has been able to obtain funding for disadvantaged learners to further their studies in different universities, an opportunity that they would have otherwise missed due to their background.

Xolisa Guzula

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Xolisa Guzula is lecturer in multilingual and multiliteracies education at the University of Cape Town.

She has interest in language and literacy as social practice; biliteracy development; emergent literacy; critical literacies; multimodality; third spaces and bilingual children’s literature.

She is a doctoral student researching in bi/multilingual education and is one of the founders of Molo Mhlaba School, a school focusing on Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (www.molomhlaba.org).

She is also a member of Bua-lit Language and Literacy Collective (www.bua-lit.org.za).

Siphokazi Nciza

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Siphokazi Nciza is the Founder and Managing Director of Kasie Labs.

Kasie Labs’ made an entry into the digital revolution market four years ago and has since grown rapidly and secured strategic partnerships with provincial government, corporates and communities to set its STEM footprints in townships, informal settlements and rural communities amongst those are women in Soweto trained in basic computer skills.

She has trained Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMME)’s in and around Gauteng on the Gauteng Enterprise Propeller (GEP).

Some of her achievements include receiving the MTN Foundation Entrepreneur of the Year Award (2018), UK Tech Hub Most Outstanding Future Female Award (2019) and participating in several global initiatives such as Africa code week and hour of code.

Siphokazi is currently participating in the African App Launchpad (AAL) initiative, an Africa-wide platform focused at  Egyptian and African youth.

Siphokazi is currently studying a programming course with Harvard University. She completed a BSc Computer Science degree, IT National Certificate and a few other professional certificates.

She is a qualified facilitator, registered assessor and moderator at MICT Seta and is also certified in Business Development Skills by Awethu Project and by the UK Tech Hub Business School.

Fadzayi Chiwandire

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Fadzayi Chiwandire is the founder of the DIV:A Initiative a non-profit initiative dedicated to empowering young girls between the ages of 8 and 18 years from disadvantaged communities with coding skills
She is also a Front-end Developer and Scrum Master at OnePointFour Consulting in Johannesburg South AfricaFounder
Fadzayi has been inivited as a Speaker to Facebook Developer Circle (Women in Tech Johannesburg Event 2019), Google Developers Group Meetup (Women Techmakers Johannesburg Event 2019) and WeAreDevelopers World Congress (Germany, Berlin 2019)
Fadzayi was the Fellow & Revelation Winner (Education) of the WIA54 Women in Africa Initiative 2019.
She has been nominated as one of the InspiringFifty in South Africa 2019
She is a member of Women Techmakers (Global) and Women in Tech Africa.

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Thanks to Xolisa Guzula, children can read Sci-Fi books in isiXhosa

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Picture courtesy: Afternoon Express (Facebook – 14 August 2017)

By Sihle Isipho Nontshokweni

I recently attended a Children’s literacy, literature and multilingual storybook production and translation seminar hosted by PRAESA in collaboration with IBBY SA and PEN SA. Throughout the seminar, I was impressed by Xolisa Guzula’s depth of knowledge and insight on children’s learning. Not only had she been a volunteer and co-founder of Vulindlela Reading Club in Langa, Cape Town, and of Nal’ibali reading clubs nationwide, she was seated on a panel, discussing the process she underwent to successfully translate a 305-paged science fiction book from English to isiXhosa.

So simple in her disposition and generous in her acknowledgments of those who have taught her the ropes of the game, Xolisa is strikingly self-aware yet strangely she seems oblivious to her successes. In her defense, she says “when you do the work without thinking about fame you don’t realize the difference you are making. I love the work that I do, it is the reason I wake up early every Saturday morning to be at those reading clubs. I look forward to teaching children literature. It is the reason I translate and write stories so that I can expand the content available to bilingual speakers.”

At a time when South African leaders admit that our education system is on its knees, Xolisa Guzula is hope in action. She is a breath of fresh air and a powerful voice trumpeting the importance of language and literacy. She questions why African languages are confined to the home, whilst English and Afrikaans speaking children learn in their languages from the cradle to university and beyond.

Guzula challenges writers by saying: “If Adults only write for adults, what will the children read? If we do not shape them now, who will lead us next?”

She ends off the conversation by saying “Children do not begin to learn in the classroom. When we fail to intentionally create structures of learning outside of schools, we make it difficult for them to learn in the classroom. Children have a deep yearning for learning, we must harness that by all means possible.”

What an inspiration!

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