Durban University of Technology’s Fine Art student and Writing Centre tutor, DK Maponya, along with Information and Technology student, Vuyo Shembe were the only two participants who were awarded laptops by eThekwini Mayor James Nxumalo out of 100 youth that participated in the City’s Hackathon Challenge last month.
The Hackathon Challenge is the first of its kind in South Africa, aimed at capacitating young people to think innovatively and develop solutions that will help the City prosper.
However, the Municipality consistently hosts numerous innovation programmes under the Innovate Durban brand that was launched in partnership with various institutions and companies to ensure radical transformation of Durban’s economy and job creation.
Nxumalo said he was deeply touched by the high level of determination portrayed by the youth who engaged in an exercise to find innovative solutions to solve some of the major challenges faced by the Municipality during the Innovation Hackathon Challenge.
The week-long event was organised by the Municipality in partnership with the International Business Machines Corporation (IBM) at the University of KwaZulu-Natal.
The youth were tasked to design an application using IBM technology based on the challenges faced by the City such as water loss and skills development.
Judges described Maponya and Shembe, as having worked tirelessly throughout the challenge to come up with solutions that would benefit the City.
Shembe and Maponya expressed gratitude to the City and IBM for affording them an opportunity to showcase their innovative talent through IBM’s latest technology.
Nxumalo added that he saw it fitting to award the country’s future leaders for their creative thinking during June, which is youth month.
He said these laptops must serve as a motivation to encourage the youth to be more involved in technological activities which are meant at capacitating and improving their skills which can result in breaking the cycle of poverty, inequality and unemployment.
IBM’s KwaZulu-Natal Client Executive Public Sector Rodney Premlall applauded the Mayors contribution and said: “This is a good start for a City which is gearing up to be an innovative capital because in order to be creative one needs relevant resources such as laptops to harness their skills.”
The DUT Faculty of Arts and Design is currently running a Digital Design Challenge as part of the annual Arts and Design Digital festival, ‘Digifest’, which takes place from 10-13 September 2015.
– Andile Dube