SpaceApps2014 Winners

PamPam Sikwayo

Team: WetlandTrackr

Project: Galactic Impact

 

 

 

 

Tell us bit about yourself: name, age, where you are from, etc.

My name is Pam Sikwayo and I’m 26-years-old. I was born in the Eastern Cape, but grew up in Nelspruit in Mpumalanga. In 2012, I completed my diploma in graphic and multimedia design at the Tshwane University of Technology (TUT).

Why did you choose to study that specific course?

I have always been fascinated by the fact that one can bring ideas to life by turning them into beautiful designs. I wanted to learn how to create these designs.

What are your aspirations?

To learn and grow in terms of knowledge and experience in graphic and multimedia design. I also want to enhance my capabilities and advance in the multimedia industry. In a nutshell, I want to be one of the best.

Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?

In the next 5 years I see myself as Africa’s best female animator and multimedia designer.

Tell us about your participation in the Space Apps Challenge and why you chose to participate.

I was the team’s graphic designer. I’ve always heard people talk about hackathons in the office, but I’d never attended one. Participating in this Space Apps challenge was a big opportunity for me as it gave me insight into hackathons.

What are your views on science and technology development in South Africa?

It is growing quite rapidly, especially when you look at where we were about 5 years ago. Where we are as a country today shows astounding growth.

 

Sifiso Mtshweni

Team: WetlandTrackr

Project: Track That Wetland

Tell us bit about yourself: name, age, where you are from, etc.

My name is Sifiso Mtshweni; I’m 22-years-old and I grew up in Ekangala section D (Police View), Gauteng.

I studied Computer Science (Technical Applications) at the Tshwane University of Technology and I now work for a start-up company called Cytotouch and am also a member of the Geekulcha team. I chose to study Computer Science because of the JAVA programming language used, and my love for computers. The course gave me an opportunity to solve problems and to learn about the latest gadgets in technology.

What are your aspirations?

To one day use my experience in technology to assist in our country’s development.

Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?

In 5 years’ time I would like to start using my skills and knowledge as a leader to create more profit and thereby become one of the most successful companies mentored by mLab. I would like to continuously enhance my knowledge, which will help me to advance in the Computer Science sector.

Tell us about your participation in the Space Apps Challenge and why you chose to participate.

It was an opportunity for me to compete with the best in science and technology. We were presented with an opportunity to solve global problems with the use of power data and code. From human spaceflight and hardware hacks to understanding asteroids and climate change, we had to build open-source solutions to solve some of our toughest problems. My responsibilities were to build the DB, back-end (server side) as well as the client side (front-end) into an Android mobile application.

What are your views on science and technology development in South Africa?

South Africa is one of the countries that have made technology park construction, such as the Innovation Hub, an integral piece of its development goals. The Innovation Hub is the first internationally accredited Science and Technology Park in Southern Africa that has been developed for high-tech entrepreneurs to grow their businesses while they strive to change the world. Tenants include everything from South Africa’s national space agency, to companies working on creating a green economy.

 

Diamond Mubaarak

Team: Earthquiz

Project: Best Use of Data

Tell us bit about yourself: name, age, where you are from etc.

I’m Diamond Mubaarak, a 30-year-old software developer from Nigeria. I specialize in mobile applications development and I do a little bit of web development and graphic design.

I am a Computer Science undergraduate student from the University of South Africa (UNISA). I also have a few other certificates in different programming languages, as well as a Diploma in Electrical Engineering.

I chose to study this course because I am passionate about gadgets and I’ve always wanted to know how they function. This course has shown me that Computer Science is a very broad field. It is a field that will never become boring because it’s always growing due to new innovations and technology.

What are your aspirations?

I want people to associate my name with innovative developments that will change the world and the way people use technology. I aspire to be like the Google and Facebook developers.

Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?

In the next five years, I want to be the CEO of my own company, a large company that is a leader in innovation in Africa.

Tell us about your participation in the Space Apps Challenge and why you chose to participate.

I love space; it has always been my dream to go to space one day and I believe that it’s still possible. I participated in the Challenge because I want to contribute to space exploration programs.  It also entailed application development, which is one of my strengths. I have also participated in other space programs on the internet in the past.

What are your views on science and technology development in South Africa?

South Africa’s technology sector is growing day by day, especially with the help of organisations like the CSIR and the Innovation Hub. One thing I would love to see is South African youths getting more involved in the revolution.

 

Sipho Ngwenya

Team: SpaceME

Project: People’s Choice

Tell us bit about yourself: name, age, where are you from etc.

My name is Sipho Ngwenya and I am 34-years-old. I have an MBA from the University of Liverpool (UK) and consider myself a technologist with interests in science, media and sustainable development.

I have experience leading research teams, solution developers and consulting teams. I have also managed web application design and development, work-flow, usability and quality assurance processes/projects. Some of my past work has involved designing communication tools for multi-site collaboration, prototyping artificial intelligence support tools, along with creating multiple productivity and information tools. My past entrepreneurial ventures have included an online video platform, a venue booking solution as well as a mobile and web job site.

I am the Co-Founder and Chief Innovation and Technology Officer of DigiSense, as well as Partner and Founder of nfactorial consulting. My recent work includes mobile game design and the development of learning solutions as the tech lead at Afroes, a company that develops uniquely African, cutting-edge interactive digital media solutions.

What are your aspirations?

I believe aspirations are largely linked to the vast opportunities available to Africa and its people. This includes opportunities to invent and innovate, to solve developmental and aspirational gaps. Leveraging technology and the collective creativity of Africans as global citizens is an existing prospect.

Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?

In five years I see myself leading businesses with a few points of presence in Africa, with globally competitive products and services, innovating across media, communications and hardware and software landscapes.

Tell us about your participation in the Space Apps Challenge and why you chose to participate.

My co-creator, Kim Mukenge, and I had been discussing our common interest in space, science, gaming and all things digital. When the opportunity arose to participate in the Space Apps Challenge, we thought it would be fun as well as instructive to use it as an opportunity to experiment and be creative, whilst also learning. It was also a great opportunity to interact with other space and science enthusiasts.

What are your views on science and technology development in South Africa?

South Africa has a great opportunity to take advantage of science and technology to solve some of the country’s economic and social challenges. Whilst there have been some great initiatives, there is still a lack of a coherent ecosystem that nurtures talent and offers South Africans opportunities to innovate and monetize their solutions. There is still a lot of traditional thinking in related institutions and amongst policy makers, academia and industry. The net result is the default to importing technology and scientific solutions.

 

YiyaniTiyani Nghonyama

Team: WetlandTrackr

Project: Galactic Impact

 

 

 

Tell us bit about yourself: name, age, where you are from, etc.

My name is Tiyani Nghonyama and I am 21-years-old. I was born and raised in Malamulele, Limpopo and I matriculated in 2010. It was only when I went to the Tshwane University of Technology in 2011 that I learned how to use a computer. Initially I didn’t know anything about the course, having come from a rural area where information was very limited. As for “IT”, I had only heard of the name. I graduated in Computer Systems Engineering and will be furthering my studies in July this year (2014).

My current work is on mobile apps for mainly android and windows phones, as well as web applications. My first passion is electronics. I am currently associated with a movement called Geekulcha, and occasionally do extra work for other companies.

I have been a speaker at various events such as TEDxPretoria, Tech4Africa and Nedbank Marketing Summit. I also represented TUT at the National Science week in Mpumalanga in 2013 where I was also able to demonstrate my projects on energy saving, which included Electronics and Android apps. My team came first at the Random Hacks of Kindness Hackathon in December 2013.

What are your aspirations?

The possibilities with technology are endless. I have hopes of one day using my experience in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) sector, particularly in electronics and mobile app development, to make a great social impact, especially in rural areas.

Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?

I want to further my studies to higher levels and work on even more sustainable ways of solving more complex problems within the sphere of STEM. At the same time, I would like to work with big industries to develop intelligence systems through the use of electronics and mobile apps.

Tell us about your participation in the Space Apps Challenge and why you chose to participate.

It was a great joy for me to be part of the Challenge again. I love hackathons because they provide a great chance for me to learn and gain more knowledge from other participants. Initially, my team was unsure of what challenge we were going to work on. However, my love of systems development persuaded me to enter the “Track that Wetland” challenge. The most exciting part about the Challenge was that we had more thoughts on extra features we could add into the system itself.

What are your views on science and technology development in South Africa?

The participation of South Africans in the science and technology space is still quite low. I think we need to start showing the real value of these two fields and the impact they have in the world, as well as on the personal development of individuals. However, initiatives that support young minds in the field of science and technology must be celebrated for their great work.

 

Sipho Kobue

Team: Earthquiz

Project: Best Use of Data

Tell us bit about yourself: name, age, where you are from, etc.

My name is Sipho Kobue. I’m 27-years-old and I grew up in Ga-Rankuwa zone 2, Pretoria.

I am a Software Engineering (ICT) graduate from the Tshwane University of Technology (TUT). I chose to study Software Engineering because I have always loved working on computers from a young age. As my love for PCs developed, I ended up wanting to create software solutions for other PC users, and more recently, I have moved into development for mobile devices.

I currently work for a startup company called Sowertec, a company focused on mobile-centric innovations, such as applications and value added services that are developed and easily integrated in the cloud economy. We are currently working on a taxi solution product called “Afta Robot”, a product that is focused on enhancing and introducing the taxi industry to IT systems and data management using mobile devices.

What are your aspirations?

I have hopes of one day using my experience in Software Engineering as a way to incorporate IT services into underdeveloped communities such as townships and rural areas. This is why we have come with Aftarobot; it won’t only help the taxi industry, but it will also help people in the surrounding communities.

Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?

I want to launch one of the most successful startup companies produced by the mLab incubation.

Tell us about your participation in the Space Apps Challenge and why you chose to participate.

I chose to participate in the challenge because I like competing against the best, and I also wanted to bypass my previous year’s 2nd place position in the competition.

I was responsible for building the DB/back-end, including populating the DB, researching satellite images around the globe, and drafting questions for the game. I also helped write the front-end code for the HTML 5 app.

What are your views on science and technology development in South Africa?

Science and technology development in South Africa is growing each year, thanks to institutions like the Innovation Hub, and mLab who support young talent by giving them office space and funding so that we can continue to develop innovative products.

 

KimKim Mukenge

Team: SpaceME

Project: People’s Choice

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tell us bit about yourself: name, age, where you are from, etc.

My full name is Mukenge Kim Chulu Amina.  I am a 25-year old Tshwane University of Technology Multimedia and graphic design graduate. I consult on User Experience and User Interface design. I am also the co-founder of various startup companies.

What are your aspirations?

I aspire to make a difference in people’s lives by always giving them what their hearts desire. I aim to give them an emotional connection every time they use a technological device I have created. I want to contribute to a world where all citizens are proud.

Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?

I see myself as a pioneer in technology and gaming in Africa. These games will be both educational and entertaining. I want to use my experiences in this industry to teach students about the industry.

Tell us about your participation in the Space Apps Challenge and why you chose to participate.

We entered the Challenge because we wanted to challenge ourselves and learn to share knowledge in a fun way. I was drawing up ideas on a white board about a better way to teach others about space. This was when Sipho Ngwena, my co-creator, contacted me and said he liked the idea and that we should do something with it. We worked together on the idea to find a better way to teach people and ourselves about space and everything in the galaxy. That was when it hit us – we could achieve this through an entertaining game! We started learning a lot and discovered how amazing this universe is.  Now we can’t stop coming up with ideas!

What are your views on science and technology development in South Africa?

As progressive as it is, I still think students in universities are being left behind. They have so much creativity and ideas to offer, but they aren’t being exposed to the trendy subjects in technology. South Africa has the potential to do brilliantly.

We are currently not back at the office yet, but we are reachable through our office number 012 844 0240 or via email at members@mlab.co.za