Some of my Social Media followers will know that I get very excited easily. This comes on the back of being a long-suffering Orlando Pirates fan waiting an eternity for us to win the soccer league. Liverpool fans have related and even offered me their group discount vouchers for therapy. We, the Buccaneers, then won the League two years in the row. Halleluiah!
This is much like my relationship with Accenture. We know that lightening does not strike in the same place twice. Well it did. You may recall how excited I was when we started a project to cross-train 150 graduates with deep ICT skills in October of last year. We are now at the tail end of the delivery cycle and the difference we have made is palpable, thanks to my great team led by Simon Issock. Strike One.
I met Khethiwe Muzibuko Nkuna, the CSI lead Accenture through my mentor Dr Chan Makan, the then CSI lead at MMI on another project back in 2012. We embarked on a great project to improve the university scores of school kids, note university scores, not just Matric. We are now witnessing the evidence and impact. Dr Makan died one year ago this week. His legacy in the form of Khethiwe lives on. Khethiwe is now my friend, my sister and project leader. Dr Makan, you remain in our minds and thoughts as we continue some of your work that inspire new projects.
Shiksha Benimadho also works at Accenture with Sister Khewthiwe. She conceptualized a unique value proposition that funder MICT accepted for its value of being a differentiated value adder and a job creation skill. Strike 2. This project has two components: One takes talented graphics designers and opportunistically tweaks their skills set with mind-boggling 3D animation. The second introduces software testing to graduates, which is contextually opportune given that Durban is fast emerging as an international hub for software testing with at least a thousand software testers already employed in our beautiful city. Indeed one of our software testers graduate who remains one of my favorite lady students is Larissa Maharaj is currently in the Isle of Man. I also acknowledge our KZN MICT SETA partner, again a lady, Nasirah Govindsamy.
This latter project has put pay to my black hair and challenged my team with requirements that we still struggle to comprehend. Discomfort is the price of relevance. Besides I don’t mind looking wise.
The tables have indeed turned because the brilliant and beautiful ladies at Accenture are now supporting this old man. They realized that the block of ice that is “ICT knowledge” is melting in my brain so they continually and ingeniously connive to bring me great relevant new projects that at the very least keep me focused relevant in ICT while simultaneously making me look important.
MICT SETA is really beginning to have a massive impact and is now starting to aggressively take on imaginative courses that will create jobs and inspire the next generation to understand that ICT is much more then Social Media and Pokémon. ICT its about mathematics, decisions making, analytic skills and creativity.
I salute Accenture for empowering these three women: Khethiwe Nkuna, Shiksha Benimadho and Sharon van Zyl – these ladies collectively drive me ballistic with their governance, attention to detail and rules. On the other hand the students from all Kwazulu-Natal institutions benefit from their exuberance and diligence. These are odds I will take anytime.
Happy Women’s Day and Month to you three. My similar good wishes to all ladies at our partner Accenture, and MICT SETA and indeed all the ladies in our respective lives.
* Dr Colin Thakur is the Director of the Nemisa e-Skills CoLab at the Durban University of Technology. He is a digital activist keen on upgrading the e-skills of the nation to enhance the quality of life. He lives and subscribes by the mantra One-person One-connected-device.
Pictured: Accenture’s Digital ladies : Shiksha Benimadho and Khethiwe Mazibuko Nkuna (CSI Lead)