By Emily Setona
QWAQWA – In celebration of Mandela day Lekgaby Dihlabi introduced coding to a group of eager young girls and boys from Phuthadithjaba who took hold of this opportunity as soon as they heard about it.
Being a science, technology, engineering and maths tutor and advocate for STEM subjects, Dihlabi took the opportunity to work with Professor Jean Greyling from the Nelson Mandela Bay University of Technology who is an advocate for a coding and robotics program that is aimed to offer this type of skill to kids from rural schools. There is a huge possibility that coding will form part of the DOBE school curriculum from January 2023, that’s why this initiative is so important for kids in rural schools says Dihlabi.
“Today I decided to invite a group of my young scientists to come and explore this introductory program to coding. The pack contains puzzles and you just need a smart phone with a camera. There is a tank that must be moved with simple commands that the kids must work out by following the instructions on the program and using the puzzle pieces, there are 36 levels to this program and in just this 67 minutes for Mandela sitting, one group has reached level 12. The program is simple and very easy to understand for all types of beginners.” Dihlabi said.
Tsimane Malakoane from Retief High School had this to say about the program; “The program asks you to move a tank and you use the puzzles to come up with a coded solution, you take a picture of the puzzles and then when it is correct you move to the next level. I am working in a team and we have managed to work well together and have reached level 12. It feels very exciting to be able to do this.” Keabecswe Mphuthi from New Horizon College said: “Today I have learned to work in a team. I have learned to listen to others and to be patient when I don’t understand something.” Mpho Modise and Tlholohelo Dihlabi who were in the same team, also added that this experience is fun and has taught them about working together as a team.
“As a parent I decided to bring my kids here today because we are in the 4IR age and our kids are always on their phones and very technologically advanced so I thought it best if I introduce them to coding since I have been hearing about it a lot in the media,” Ntsoaki Phera said. The 18th of July is the day when Nelson Mandela was born and it is celebrated as Mandela day and as a world renowned leader and South Africa’s first democratic president, tata Rolihlahla Nelson Mandela was an advocate for education.