FOR CODE

CityPress - - Business -

Lucinda Coet­zee is a mere eight years old and has only had a few cod­ing les­sons, but this go-get­ting mini geek from Belfast in Mpumalanga has al­ready come up with her own An­droid app that in­forms users about road haz­ards and clo­sures in real time.

“It’s called Road Help,” she ex­plains chirpily over the phone, seem­ingly un­per­turbed about speak­ing in her sec­ond lan­guage, English. “Say you’re in traf­fic in Pre­to­ria, it au­to­mat­i­cally tells you where there’s a road­block and shows you an­other route to fol­low.”

Lucinda met Africa Teen Geeks founder Lindiwe Mat­lali through her mother, Cindy. She has only been en­rolled in the pro­gramme for nine months, but is al­ready rar­ing to pur­sue a ca­reer in cod­ing.

“I love to code,” she as­serts. “I love to do pro­grams, mak­ing games and apps. I would like to do it as a ca­reer, but right now it re­ally helps me with my maths at school.

“My par­ents love it – they say they’ll give me a thou­sand dol­lars!” It’s not clear what she’s re­fer­ring to, but her en­thu­si­asm is in­fec­tious.

Her mum adds with an in­dul­gent laugh that Lucinda “wants to do cod­ing at home ev­ery day”.

Be­cause most of the train­ing cur­rently takes place at Unisa venues in Gaut­eng, Lucinda has only been to a few cod­ing classes, and took part in the Fes­ti­val of Cod­ing in Oc­to­ber.

But from next year, Africa Teen Geeks will be ex­pand­ing its com­puter sci­ence classes to smaller towns such as Belfast – and guess who will be first in the queue?

An­other bright star is Olga Many­isa (16) of Rood­e­poort, who heard about the classes through the lo­cal welfare ser­vice about a year ago.

“Cod­ing is tough,” she says, laugh­ing, “but you learn from your mis­takes. I’ve ex­pe­ri­enced a lot and have learnt new skills. It’s a great op­por­tu­nity.

“I wanted to be­come a foren­sic de­tec­tive, but now that I’ve dis­cov­ered I like work­ing with com­put­ers. I think I’ve changed my mind…”

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