Author: Secretary

We Code, We Rise, We shine We are DigiGirlz

~ by Nomusa Keninda

Mpumalanga ICT Club hosted one of the powerful event in town called DigiGirlz and Scratch Day on the 12 May 2018, at Nkangala Tvet College, Witbank Campus. Grade 9 girls from Zacheus Malaza, TP Sililo, Ilanga, Sibukosethu, Nkonjane, Tshwenyane Schools Witbank Campus IT faculty including the Roman Catholic Church youth attended the event.

DigiGirlz aimed at motivating young girls into IT careers and hands on experience into Computer Science popular known as Coding.The girls were fortune to interact with Microsoft employees, getting to know where they come from, what studies they went through and what are the requirement for the courses, their day to day work at Microsoft South Africa.

“Township schools and poor background must not define your future destiny but your academic achievements especially in Mathematics and Sciences  can make you rise above all” said Ms Khutso Malungane

during the motivational session. She actually came from a remote, dusty village in Limpopo and works for Microsoft South Africa. The girls also interacted with Ms Londiwe Mdluli, age 23 from  Microsoft South Africa also from Limpopo province and Maudi Ramaboea.

The girls showered our guests with poetry, dance and songs. SchoolnetSA was represented by Megan Rademeyer who actually made this event a success. “ Thank you, you are wonderful, shine followed by thunder of applause “ – thats how the guests and presenters were applauded.

“We actually wanted to see all schools in the Nkangala District and beyond participating in DigiGirlz and Scratch events but we have limited resources” said Ms Nomusa Keninda

who is the founder of Mpumalanga ICT Club and an ELearning Specialist, also a Microsoft Innovation Educator Expert (MIEExpert)

“Girls who are exposed to IT careers and role models are likely to take up STEM subjects” alluded Megan.

This event was indeed a powerful idea  and we are looking forward to hosting more. The girls were afforded an opportunity to learn Coding on the Hour of Code platform and Scratch. It was a busy day for Nomusa Keninda and her team of volunteers helping girls to Code while others from Witbank Campus hospitality studies were preparing food for the girls.

Thank very much to Vuyokazi, chef leader at Witbank TVET campus.

North-West champions for robotics

~ by Lerato Molebatsi and Zandile Nkopo

North-West University Mafikeng Science Centre engage local schools in the Techno-youth programme throughout the year. This programme equips learners with computer, communication and problem solving skills.

SAASTA (South African Agency for Science and Technology Advancement) hosted a robotics competition at the SAASTA Observatory, from the 1-2 March 2018.  The theme for the competition was “Wild things”. The challenge was to build a robot that could help with the daily chores of a farm or a game reserve.

The robot had to clean, pick food up, feed the animals and even put the animals the cages.

Six best teams from these schools Langa high school (WC), Zacheus Malaza high school (MP), Bisho high school (EC), Springs Girls high school (GP), Itlotleng high school (NC) and Batswana commercial secondary school (NW) participated in the robotics competition. Teams were given instructions for the competition before they could start building their robots.  Batswana learners came up with a design that was fully functional and was able to carry out most of the chores around the game reserve.  Once the programming was done, there was no stopping them.

The challenge was judged based on the number of points scored for each chore completed, the best design and based on team work.

Results were announced and the top three winners were Batswana commercial secondary school obtaining position 1, followed by participants from Gauteng and Eastern Cape. NWU Mafikeng Science Centre would like to congratulate Mr Motelene, Ms Nkopo and the four learners from Batswana commercial secondary school.

Well done to the team and coaches, keep up the good work!

From left to right: Learners in red t-shirts are from Batswana commercial secondary school (Ofentse Mamonong, Kopano Sepeng, Lencoe Kgaje ,Tlotlo Khumalo). The educator is Mr Jankie Motelene.


If your school is interested in participating in the Techno-youth programme, please feel free to contact us on this email address or this telephone number 018-3892606.


Osizweni Science Centre and KPMG recognises committed Accounting teachers


Teachers are awarded for 100% attendance to the KPMG Accounting Academy workshops

~ by Angela Stratford

Accounting in the Standerton Sub-region is well supported through the partnership between KPMG, the Regional Department of Education and the Osizweni Science Centre.

Support is given to Accounting teachers through the establishment of the KPMG Accounting Academy in 2012. This Academy was established to address the poor results in the subject and will ultimately contribute to addressing the acute shortage of chartered accountants in South Africa. The Academy aims to equip teachers with the skills and knowledge to empower their learners to perform.

KPMG employees conduct monthly workshops for teachers in the Standerton Sub-Region, this includes schools from the Govan Mbeki, Lekwa and Dipaleseng municipalities. Material is prepared by qualified KPMG employees based on the Grade 12 Accounting curriculum and recommendations by the Department of Education District Subject Advisors.

In honour of attendance to the Academy throughout the year, a recognition ceremony is held. This year’s ceremony was held on 24 October 2017 at the Sasol Recreation club in Secunda. The event was attended by representatives of the Gert Sibande District Department of Education, by school principals, teachers in the programme as well as various Osizweni and KPMG representatives.

Teachers are awarded for 80% attendance to the KPMG Accounting Academy Workshops

Ms Dumsile Vilakazi, Deputy Chief Education Specialist, who spoke on behalf of the Department of Education confirmed that the Standerton Sub-Region had outperformed the other two regions in Gert Sibande. She attested this to the support given to schools by KPMG and Osizweni Science Centre. It was also stated that Highveld Ridge West circuit achieved first place for Accounting in the province for the class of 2016. Teachers were urged to continue their commitment to the Academy as there was a definite improvement to the quality of results in schools.

During the recognition ceremony, teachers who attended 80% of the workshops were recognised. Two teachers were awarded for 100% attendance, Mr Joseph Gwatara from Highveld Muslim School and Ms Zinhle Mzimela from Sizwakele Secondary School.

Mr Kyle Benn from KPMG during the vote of thanks

In closing, Mr Kyle Benn, from KPMG, thanked Osizweni Science Centre, the Department of Education and teachers for their commitment over the years. He reminded them that the Academy was for their benefit and they were more than welcome to make inputs to further the success of results in schools.

Osizweni Toy Library celebrates heritage day.

~ by Angela Stratford

The Osizweni Toy Library, a place where children are not only given the opportunity to play and have fun with a variety of educational toys that have been designed to cultivate cognitive, social, psychological and physical competences but, a platform that encourages children to celebrate and embrace one another’s differences.

This year the Toy Library hosted a heritage day celebration on the 20th of September 2017. This event brought about various Day Care Centres together in celebration of national diversity, unity, humanity, values, languages, customs as well as our different cultures.

The spirit of celebration and major excitement was evident in the eyes of many children as they not only paraded in their cultural attire but also delivered beautiful performances through cultural music, songs and dances that are choreographed and performed by different cultural groups found in South Africa.

It was very humbling to witness such beauty. I was in complete awe of the unfolding event of the day. I am grateful that the younger generation is being taught such customs, I am also glad that they are fully embracing who they are and the different cultures that surround them. Through these children our South African culture will be preserved, our future fully rests in their hands” said Fionah Manthata, Osizweni Marketing Assistant.




Osizweni Develops ECD learners through competitions


~ by Angela Stradford

Early childhood development, a concept that might not be that familiar with our community, is slowly becoming more and more popular. Parents and schools are realising the impact proper early learning has on children.

Osizweni’s Toy Library provides children at the early childhood developmental phase (age 3-7) with opportunities to use a variety of educational toys that have been specifically designed to cultivate their cognitive, social, psychological and physical competencies in fun and interesting ways. The centre is not merely for the purpose of keeping the children occupied outside the conventional classroom. It is facilitated learning through a wide array of educational equipment, guided by practitioners and the Toy Library staff. As the children navigate through the different educational tasks, they acquire skills and competencies (such as sustained concentration; adequate grasp of chronology; resilience; social cohesion; self-confidence) that enhance their school readiness levels, and allow their transition from preschool to school to be less stressful.

On a weekly basis over 30 Early Childhood learning Centres visit the Toy Library in an attempt to benefit from the many educational resources made available to them. On an annual basis, the Toy Library hosts a competition for the top 10 attending Early Childhood Centre’s. These Centres compete against one another in an aim to achieve the following:

  • Give learners an opportunity to express themselves by displaying the knowledge and skills they have acquired at the Centre throughout the year
  • Introduce learners to healthy competition from a young age.
  • To lay a good foundation enabling better progression in life.
  • To encourage and enhance the love for numeracy and literacy.
  • Encourage and motivate Practitioners through the performance of their learners.
  • Allows Practitioners introspection of their work.

Learners compete in teams by taking part in 15 different activities, these activities included puzzles; numeracy worksheets; patterns; Maths lotto; Maths bingo; visual tracking; threading and matching objects. These inter-active activities are either done manually or are computer based.

ECD centres rotate their group of learners between activities. Learners begin the activity at the same time, the top three winners in each activity are selected based on correctly completing the activity in the shortest amount of time. The school with the highest amount of placings wins the overall competition.

This year’s winners for the Grade R group of learners are Illuminate Day Care Centre in first place followed by Bambanani Day care Centre in second place and Isiqalo Day Care Centre in third place. The winners for the age 4-5 group of learners are Ekujabuleni Day Care Center in first place followed by illuminate Day Care Centre in second place and Isidingo Day Care Centre in third place.

The impact which the Toy Library has on learners is always seen during these competitions. Most of the best performing Day Care Centres are those who are committed and consistent in their weekly attendance to the Toy Library the learners did well and we are very thankful to the Day Care Centres that participated in the competitions” said Maker Masemola, Osizweni Toy Library Senior Practitioner.



Compiled by Nomusa Keninda- eLearning Specialist and Mpumalanga ICT Club Founder

They are saying “Flowa Powa, Merci Les Amis” when they come across our Coding pictures in the Africa Code Week sites. They retweet and like our Twitter and Facebook posts. It was a fantastic week of coding called Africa Code Week on the 18-25 October 2017 in Africa.

Africa Code Week is an initiative that gives opportunity to millions of kids, youth and even adults in Africa to learn Coding. Mpumalanga ICT Club volunteered to partner with Cape Town Science Centre to train teachers and learners to Code using Scratch  language. Like we say “Coding is a new language, Every child deserves to be fluent”  #AfricaCodeWeek #Scratch

We hosted number of workshops in EMalahleni and Siyabuswa before the official start of the Africa Code Week and more than 200 teachers were trained.” Ms. Nomusa Keninda related the story.

We were 100% ready to put the Club on the map of Africa, connecting every dot of  coding organization along  and learning the best in Africa” said Ms. Ntombizodwa Gininda enthusiastically. She is a Scratch and PowerPoint Facilitator in the Club. We adopted few learners in schools as Coding Coordinators to teach other kids to Code and to take care of their Computer Labs.

Volunteering my skills to shape the future of this country is the best thing that happened to me. ‘We love what we are doing in Mpumalanga ICT Club” commented Ms. Florence Sibiya- Volunteer in the Club.

Comments about the Africa Code Week in and around the country:

Flowa Powa for Mpumalanga ICT Club, thanks for hosting Africa Code Week in our school, forward with technology at our school, keep on rolling, keep on don’t tire , what a beautiful day we had, tholukuthi siyaScratcher, we are Scratchers, thanks Nomusa Keninda for unleashing our children potential, Uyibatla kay’ koComputeng.

Mastermind wins Gold

Taariq Mowzer, in grade 10 at Fairbairn College in Cape Town, won the gold medal in the 34th South African Computer Programming Olympiad. He described the Mastermind question of the event as “one of the most fun questions I have done”. 

Along with 12 other finalists he spent two days writing six computer programs to solve problems. His solution to the the Mastermind problem, based on the 1972 board game, gave him the edge to win the prestigious Standard Bank Trophy and his gold medal at the awards dinner. In her address, Nicole Borges, head of investment banking technology emphasised that Standard Bank’s investment in the Olympiad over the past 15 years showed commitment to develop and reward high level programming skills in South Africa. “These skills are in great demand”, she said, adding that “half of my day is spent on blockchain technology”.

There were 227 schools from all nine provinces that participated in the first round. The initial field of 2 348 participants was reduced to 478 for Round Two and 13 reached the finals – all of them with perfect scores.

The Programming Olympiad Finals took place over an October weekend at UCT. The finalists came from five provinces. The two silver medal winners were Tian Cilliers (Gr 11, Stellenbosch High) and Ralph McDougall (Gr 11, Curro Durbanville). The three bronze medals were earned by Jordan Arenstein (Gr 12, King David Victory Park, Gauteng), Donal Davies (Gr 12, Woodridge College, Eastern Cape) and Emile Tredoux (Gr 11, Parklands College, Cape Town). The medal winners will be invited to attend training camps where they will also compete to qualify for the South African team of four to go to Japan in September 2018 for the 30th International Olympiad in Informatics.

The guest speaker at the Awards Ceremony was Dr Judith Bishop, a distinguished Computer Scientist and author of 16 books on computer languages. While working as Director of Research at Microsoft in Seattle, she was on the development team for the micro:bit, which she demonstrated. In 2016 this tiny programmable device was given to one million 11-year- old learners in the UK as part of the BBC “Make it Digital”. The aim was to inspire a new generation to get creative with coding and not to be mere users (consumers) of technology.

What are the hot areas in Computer Science today?” asked Dr Bishop. “There is no doubt about it, AI (Artificial Intelligence) is top of the list. All of industry is trying neural networks, machine learning, vision recognition, language translation, etc.” She added that “once the AI people have made their plan, it must still be programmed, compiled, debugged. Underpinning all of these is the skill of software engineering. There will always be a place for top designers, analysts and programmers.

The awards dinner was a happy return for the 1986 gold medal winner, Gustav Mauer who attended with his wife Margaretha. Their daughter Christina (Gr 10, Durbanville High School) was the only female finalist. Gustav is a senior software development engineer in the IT industry at Amazon Web Services and remarked afterwards that “the industry… desperately needs more skilled developers”.

A key goal of the Programming Olympiad is to attract more young people to learn programming – an ability that is required not only in the IT industry, but in most occupations of the future.

Media release by:    Michael Cameron, manager SA Computer Olympiad
Phone:                        021 448 7864

The following clarity on the Mastermind question may be of interest to specialist readers:

Mastermind is a popular two-player game invented in 1972. One player is the codemaker and the other player is the codebreaker. The ultimate goal of the game is for the codebreaker to guess a secret pattern that the codemaker chooses at the start. The original game had a pattern of four spaces and a choice of six colours.

In the Olympiad question, “the game starts by having the codemaker  think of a secret pattern of length N, using positive integers ranging from 1 to K…”

The Mastermind subtask 1 had to be programmed for a pattern length of 3, with just two positive integers; but for full marks, subtask 6 had to provide for up to ten positive integers in a pattern of any length.

Finalists Medal winners and Runners-up

First name, Last name, Grade, School, Suburb, Medal/Certificate

Taariq Mowzer 10 Fairbairn College Cape Town Gold
Tian Cilliers 11 Stellenbosch High Stellenbosch Silver
Ralph McDougall 11 Curro Durbanville Cape Town Silver
Jordan Arenstein 12 King David Victory Park Linden Bronze
Donal Davies 12 Woodridge College Thornhill Bronze
Emile Tredoux 11 Parklands College Cape Town Bronze
Jesse Bristow 12 Maragon Private School Roodepoort Runner-up
Christopher Du Plessis 12 St Stithians Boys’ College Randburg Runner-up
Sean Groenewald 11 Randburg Hoërskool Randburg Runner-up
Warren Hood 11 Eshowe High Eshowe Runner-up
Stefan Louw 11 Randburg Hoërskool Randburg Runner-up
Christina Mauer 10 Durbanville High Cape Town Runner-up
Sean Stott 12 UFS Python Project Bloemfontein Runner-up

Osizweni holds Annual General Meeting

~ by Angela Stratford

On an annual basis the Osizweni Science Centre holds their Annual General Meeting. This year’s meeting was held on 28 September 2017 at the Secunda Sasol Recreation Club. The purpose of the meeting is to reflect on the previous financial year’s activities and financial report.

The meeting is also used as a platform to network with the Centre’s current and potential stakeholders. The meeting was attended by the Centre’s Founder, Sasol as well as Armscor, Proconics, Thyssenkrupp, KPMG, Megchem and Shisela representing corporate South Africa. Stakeholders and beneficiaries in Education attended in the form of Gert Sibande College, Department of Education officials, principals and teachers.

Mr Velaphi Gumi, Osizweni General Manager

A clear message reported in the meeting is that there is a definite shift towards the upliftment of Early Childhood Development (ECD). It was reported that a group of 20 ECD practitioners were in the process of being formally trained in ECD level 4.

Success in the class of 2016’s matric results was due to Saturday classes held in support of Mathematics, Physical Science, Life Science and Accounting classes. These also took place in the school holidays, a commitment was made to continue in this effort to support the current crop of Grade 12 learners through to their final exams.

The occasion was graced with the testimonials of two beneficiaries of the Centre, Ms Jana Prinsloo, a teacher bursary holder and Ms Lucia Manthata, founder of Little Harvard’s Kids Academy and a beneficiary to the Osizweni Toy Library. Other speakers included the Acting Regional Director of Gert Sibande Department of Education, Mr PP Magagula; A representative of the Centre’s founder Sasol, Mr Willem Jacobs and a message of support from the Lekwa municipality Mayors office, MMC: VP Malinga.

Stakeholders were assured that the Osizweni Science Centre was in good financial standing “From a governance perspective, I’m pleased to announce that as a non-profit organisation, we remain financially sound with a clean audit for yet another year, giving the board the reassurance that pertinent laws and regulations as well as sound business practices are in place.” said Mr Simon Baloyi, Osizweni Board of Trustees Chairperson.

In closing, Mr Velaphi Gumbi, General Manager of the Centre said “I believe that in the Osizweni community, what we have is an exemplary example of a movement that is built to sustain the change we experience in the context of increased business demands, and the unprecedented levels of stress currently being experienced as a result of the financial constraints most organisations are forced to face. This is due to a very simple philosophy we all uphold at our organisation; that of valuing collaboration and education above all else.


Africa Clockwise in Milan

Remember Mark Sampson from the 18th SAASTEC Conference – this is an update on his journey.

Mark Sampson and his family are now in Italy – we were featured on the main TV news in France.

See –

It’s been a crazy journey so far – We have set the world record as the first to cross Africa on used vegetable oil – 20 countries and 23,0000km – With my wife, two children and not a drop of diesel.

We are half way through the Africa Clockwise project. See

Big thanks to our latest European sponsor, Michelin (all new tires, we are so happy) in helping us get back to South Africa.

A newly edited clip of the trip so far – Two Years in Two Minutes

All the best

Mark Sampson

Climate Change is more a psychological problem than a scientific one. We CAN’T change the climate today, but we CAN change our children so they can deal with it better tomorrow.

The first carbon neutral circumnavigation of the African continent. (See press release at bottom) You can see us featured here – Intrepid Explorer magazine article


Halfway Mark: Sampson Hits Midpoint of Africa Clockwise Journey

Mark Sampson and his family are the first people to cross the continent without using fossil fuels.

The Sampson family took 2 years to trek 23000km through 20 countries, breaking down 15 times. Crossing the Sahara to reach Tangier puts them at the halfway point in their Africa Clockwise journey.

Comedian Mark Sampson has performed at schools and SA Embassies sharing his sustainability message along the way, while his wife Sam Pearce writes a blog documenting their adventures. “There are some great tips on how to cope with having malaria and typhoid at the same time” grins Pearce “We managed to avoid ebola, but the pandemic did cost us a year when the Big Green Truck was stranded behind closed borders in Liberia.”

Their children Ruby and Zola divide their time between homeschooling and surfing. “We have come to realise that this journey is no longer a break from our normal lives but our life itself. The lessons Africa is teaching us about how to combat climate change challenges and the modern curse of stress are vital to us and our kids” says Sampson.

See or follow Africa Clockwise on Facebook and Twitter.


Emba Grade 12 – Motivational Session.

Grade 12 learners from various schools in eMbalenhle attended the motivation session

~ by Angela Stratford

Osizweni together with the Department of Education hosted a motivation session for Grade 12 learners for Secondary Schools in eMbalenhle on Monday 28 August 2017 at the eMbalenhle Sasol Recreation Club. The purpose of this intervention was to motivate Grade 12 learners to invest time into their studies so that an improvement can be seen in their year-end results.

Mrs Dumisile Vilakazi, Deputy Chief Education Specialist from the Gert Sibande Region Department of Education shared a presentation which clearly outlined the overall results per school for the past 3 quarters in each subject. This exercise gave Grade 12 learners the opportunity to reflect back on their past performance and motivate them to study even harder as they are approach their final exams.

The event saw a various speakers who have travelled different journeys in life coming together to deliver speeches and motivate the Grade 12 learners. One of the speakers, Sharon Zamisa who is also an Osizweni staff member, spoke about the importance of delayed gratification, where she encouraged learners to work hard today so they may reap the rewards in the future.

Mr Prince Ndela, a former Osizweni Project A learner and a fourth year student at the University of Witwatersrand delivering his motivational speech.

Another speaker, Prince Ndela, a former Osizweni Project A learner and a fourth year student at the University of Witwatersrand, spoke about the sacrifices one needs to make to achieve your dreams. “When you decide to change your life and focus fully on your studies you must be prepared to loose friends along the way, let that not bother you as you would be taking a step in the right direction “said Mr. Ndlela.

A total of 6 learners each from the different secondary schools shared their schools strategy on how they are planning on achieving better results at the end of the year. These strategies included interventions such as afternoon classes, morning sessions as well as teachers especially in practical subjects such as Mathematics and Physical Science becoming more of assistants rather than teachers, meaning they will be giving out equations and monitoring if each student is doing it correctly as opposed to standing in front of the class and solving equations for their learners.

“If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep on moving forward” said one of the learners from Thomas Nhlabathi Secondary School as he quoted Martin Luther King Jr.

Grade 12 learners from various schools in eMbalenhle attended the motivation session

“Overall it was a successful session, the response from the Grade 12 learners was impeccable. We hope that there will be a positive change in their year-end results.” said Fionah Manthata, Osizweni Marketing Assistant.