GKHack23 - The Great Tech Invasion By African Developers
"Will the people come?" is one of questions that event organisers often ask themselves. Well, what if people came in large numbers? That is what happened at the Geekulcha Annual Hackathon this year.
As Africa leaps forward in the smart growing world, a vibrant, proactive, sustainable and state of more producers than consumers is what paramount in a developmental and a well guided Geek Culture across the continent.
The Geekulcha Annual Hackathon took place on the 29th of September to the 1st of October 2023 at the UNISA Muckleneuk campus in Pretoria. Entrance to the hackathon was a donation of items and African Geeks show nthat they do care by donating items ranging from old clothes, books, cans of food, sanitary towels to help girls in rural areas stay in school and many other items. One Geek even donated an iron.
THEME: Creating solutions for the Next Digital Narrative. This theme coincided with Geekulcha's focus for 2023 to challenge Africa techies to create foresighted solutions that embraces inclusion by design and help Africans to adapt to known and emergent needs such as epidemics.
Co-hosted with UNISA Computer Science Department and the Centre for Public Service Innovation (CPSI), the hackathon attracted developers with a range of skills. This collaborated was set against some of the historic and on going work in youth innovation, enhancing Open Source technologies.
Ahead of the hackathon, participants from Limpopo and Mpumalanga arrived a day before and went through hackathon preparatory training, hosted by the CPSI team.
This year's hackathon was made possible by over 20 sponsors and partners providing support from funds to mentorship to prizes and post hackathon support for the winning team. Partners of the hackathon were profiled on social media platforms and served on the war sessions and judging panel of the hackathon.
THE HACKATHON IN NUMBERS
Youngest participant of the Geekulcha Annual Hackathon was a 12 years old (female), who formed part of the youngsters nurtured by the AlgoAtWork Robotics Academy. A target of 150 participants physically was the plan.
- Over 270 participants at the physical event of the hackathon
- 61 participants through virtual participation
- 7 provinces represented physically at UNISA
- Learners from 4 high schools, coming from Mthatha (EC), Richards Bay (KZN), Bochum (LP) and Ekurhuleni (GP)
- Up to 50 solutions created and 6 judging rooms were set
- In parallel, there 3 workshops ran on Day 2 of the hackathon focusing on Business Development, Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning and an Cybersecurity one.
- Approximately 3 400 cups of coffee have made and drank during the hackathon and 10 cases of Red Bull cans.
The hackathon was over-attended which meat that additional food had to be acquired. Organising team broke a record of largest pap (porridge) purchased at one of the stores in Pretoria.
It was encouraging to see participants living disabilities participating fully and included as part of the process, including a translator who translated to a deaf participants. These are the ""
Township economy was a popular theme at the hackathon as the teams sought to help better access of services and helping small businesses thrive. A key requirement of the hackathon was to creation solutions that embrace inclusion by design and the teams stood up to the task. Hackathon War Room sessions played a crucial part in shaping these.
Since its inception in 2014, the Geekulcha Annual Hackathon has been set out to be continental and was hosted concurrently in Kenya in 2015 to connect developers through code. This year, developers from Mozambique and Lesotho came to South Africa to participate at the Hackathon.
OPPORTUNITIES AT THE HACKATHON
Hackathons already provide a range of opportunities and as part of the this year's hackathon a combined efforts of unicef, SAP and the Startup Business Campus is availabling a free Cybersecurity training cause in the "SAP’s Educate to Employ in partnership with UNICEF & Yoma"/
New partnerships and coding collaborations have been formed through the Hackathon with some of the participants attaining mentorship opportunities by industry leaders.
Geekulcha thanks all the sponsors and partners combining efforts to make the hackathon possible as well as all the participants, mentors, volunteers, the team and judges for the work done during the weekend. Furthermore, Geekulcha congratulates all the teams that presented and winners of the hackathon.