10-yearold girl builds ro­bot

Karabo prom­ises new in­no­va­tions

Sowetan - - Front Page - By Karabo Led­waba

Cre­at­ing an elec­tri­cal Lego ro­bot is only the first of achieve­ments that 10-year-old Karabo Mat­lali is aim­ing for.

The Grade 5 pupil at Maria Montes­sori House in Four­ways, north­ern Jo­han­nes­burg, has been learn­ing how to code since she was six years old.

Cod­ing is com­puter pro­gram­ming where a person writes a maths-based in­struc­tion to make some­thing work.

Cod­ing is used in many of the tech­no­log­i­cal com­forts we en­joy to­day such as in car keys to turn on the ig­ni­tion and in tele­vi­sion re­mote con­trols.

Karabo took two months to build and de­velop a mov­ing ro­bot. She had to con­sider many vari­ables such as the weight and length of the ro­bot in or­der to give the cor­rect in­struc­tions for it to move.

“Cod­ing re­laxes me. It al­lows me to es­cape from other thoughts in my head,” she said.

Karabo, whose favourite sub­jects are English and nat­u­ral science, has used cod­ing to en­hance her maths skills because of its prob­lem-solv­ing el­e­ment.

“My mom and dad got me into cod­ing. My dad is a me­chan­i­cal en­gi­neer and my mom has a cod­ing school – [Africa Teen Geeks, which pro­vides com­puter pro­gram­ming lessons to un­der­priv­iledged kids],” she said.

Her mother, Lindiwe Mat­lali, is the chief ex­ec­u­tive of Africa Teen Geeks.

Karabo said now that she has com­pleted her ro­bot she will fo­cus on the de­vel­op­ment and com­ple­tion of an App which has been 10 months in the mak­ing.

“Last year I wanted a cake for my birth­day and I wanted to find some­one to make it and de­liver it quickly,” she said.

But, Karabo said, when she re­alised that there was no ur­gent cake ser­vice around, it in­spired her to cre­ate an App that is aimed at de­liv­er­ing cakes quicker.

Her mother has been in­stru­men­tal in in­flu­enc­ing all her three chil­dren to learn and use com­puter pro­gram­ming to de­velop in­no­va­tive ideas.

“It was not pos­si­ble for me to go to com­mu­ni­ties and tell them to en­rol their chil­dren in our classes when my own chil­dren are sit­ting at home busy watch­ing TV,” she said. “I wanted to lead by ex­am­ple.”

The young Karabo said her dream was to use her com­puter pro­gram­ming knowl­edge to cre­ate more in­no­va­tions.

How­ever, Karabo’s ul­ti­mate dream is to pur­sue a ca­reer in fash­ion de­sign.


Karabo Mat­lali of Four­ways has built and coded a mini ro­bot us­ing Lego pieces.


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