Telkom Foundation is coding the future

Published Aug 8, 2022


Levelling the playing fields between rural and urban schools is fundamental to South Africa’s strive to achieve and sustain the socio-economic growth and financial inclusion. The Telkom Foundation believes that coding, as a 12th official language, would help achieve just that.

Stem education for thriving futures

The foundation launched the Connected Schools project in 2017 and had pledged more than R200 million over a five year period, with a focus on using technology to improve the quality of mathematics, science and English education to create opportunities for disadvantaged communities.

The SAINC team travelled to the Eastern Cape and Gauteng to meet the inspiring students and passionate stakeholders making this opportunity a reality.

BB Beya has first-hand experience of the pressures of being influenced by a bad crowd. However, being introduced to the Telkom Foundation Saturday School and coding program has unlocked a whole new world for this computer whiz kid who has reconnected with his academic inspirations, while having his sights set on a very bright future.

A bright and young spark, Asemahle Dyoba’s coding team had created a bus ticket app as part of their programming course. She lost her mother when she was a young and stays with her grandmother, who is a former science and physics teacher.

The programme provides fully fledged labs and device access, opportunities to train educators on how to empower their learners, skills to operate in a technological world and social support needed for their holistic personal development. In addition, a key attribute is building resilience.

The Telkom Foundation also provides access to bursaries to ensure that those opportunities are accessed and optimised to its fullest, and at the same time helping to facilitate the emergence of a new and powerful generation of South African innovation.


BB Beya

BB Beya’s youth was one filled with a lot of pressure. Exposed to violence and gangsterism in his community, he was largely expected with ease to fall in with the “wrong crowd.” This environment, coupled with an ailing father, made for an unhappy and demotivated young man, who had no interest in school or the will to pursue a brighter future.

Telkom Foundation had tasked itself with addressing the problem of South Africa’s vastly under-resourced rural schools. Entrenched in this approach is the belief that coding should be South Africa’s official 12th language; opening up opportunities and providing the quality education that local youth need to actively participate in the mainstream global economy.

When BB Beya was exposed to this coding opportunity, he became so eager to learn more. The opportunity gave him purpose and direction, steering him away from the bad crowd he was in and into the focused young man he has now become. Not to mention, the coding certificate and skills proficiency he now has, which makes him in demand and globally employable.

Jongisapho Ndeya grew up in Soshanguve, Gauteng. When he was in Grade 8, the foundation arrived to renovate his school and install computer labs to provide technology opportunities. This had changed the trajectory of his life.

Now a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science student at the University of Pretoria, Ndeya reflects on how he might not have even passed matric were it not for the new and improved access to quality learning opportunities provided by Telkom Foundation.

He successfully passed matric with distinctions and additional support from the Telkom Foundation, in the form of a bursary, has taken the financial pressure off. He can put his mind at rest to study and pursue his full academic and life potential.

Opportunities like these are what break generational poverty, and at scale, offer enormous potential for the broader society.

Asemahle Dyoba lives with her grandmother, a strict ex-teacher who has high expectations for her granddaughter when it comes to school. This structure is part of why Dyoba has been participating in the Telkom Saturday School programme, which is a supplementary weekend and vacation programme. The programme is designed to support school youth with reinforced learning, critical thinking skills, access to technology and the motivation to believe and understand that their destiny is in their hands

Given the schooling environment her grandmother was used to, Dyoba recounts her surprise and pride in creating a bus app with her coding team, and chuckled realising that her grandmother may not be able to use it on her own. Despite this, her grandmother has a deep appreciation for the opportunities created by such exposure to computers.

The Telkom Foundation can take great pride in the number of students whose significant career choices in computers and engineering have been made possible by this life changing educational access.