Lindiwe Matlali speaks at TEDx in Boston, USA, on how to teach coding to children without access to computers, through knitting and creating simulators for coding. Picture: Supplied
Lindiwe Matlali speaks at TEDx in Boston, USA, on how to teach coding to children without access to computers, through knitting and creating simulators for coding. Picture: Supplied

SA's Lindiwe Matlali recognised by Queen Elizabeth II as a ‘Point of Light’

By Miche Edwards Time of article published Feb 6, 2019

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Cape Town - Queen Elizabeth II has recognised Lindiwe Matlali from South Africa as the 86th Commonwealth Point of Light for her exceptional voluntary service providing technology education to youngsters. Lindiwe is the founder and chief executive of Africa Teen Geeks, a non-profit organisation that teaches schoolchildren and unemployed youth how to code.

The pioneer is inspiring Africa’s next generation of technology innovators by eliminating the barriers faced by disadvantaged communities in pursuing science, technology, engineering and maths.

“I am honoured and humbled to be recognised for my passion project. I never thought that Africa Teen Geeks would grow to make such an impact in South Africa and also the children we have been privileged to serve,” she said.

Nigel Casey, the British High Commissioner in South Africa, who handed over her award, said: “Congratulations to Lindiwe on receiving this recognition for the wonderful work that she does.

“Through her passion for coding, she has reached disadvantaged school- children and raised their aspirations.

“Well done, Lindiwe, on being South Africa’s 2019 Point of Light.”

Since 2014, the organisation has trained more than 110 teachers from disadvantaged schools and provided computer science training to over 38342 young people aged 6 and upwards in 30 schools across underprivileged communities.

Lindiwe’s numerous accolades include TechWomen Fellow 2017 and Innov8tive Magazine’s “Top 50 Visionary Women in Tech To Watch”.

The African Teen Geeks team are currently “working with the Department of Basic Education to develop and implement a coding and robotics curriculum from Grades R to 9, she said.

As part of the legacy of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in London 2018, the Queen will be acknowledging inspirational volunteers across 53 nations for their great work in their communities by recognising one volunteer from each Commonwealth country each week in the two years following the summit.

Each Commonwealth Point of Light will receive a personalised certificate signed by the Queen as head of the Commonwealth.

@michewanders

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Cape Argus

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