Cape Town libraries foster coding excellence for Mandela Day 2024

Published Jul 3, 2024


In a bid to champion digital literacy and innovation among Cape Town's youth, the city's libraries are gearing up for an exciting coding competition set to take place on Mandela Day, July 18. This initiative not only aims to harness the creative potential of local youth, but also prepares them for national and global coding tournaments later in the year.

Last year saw 26 teams participate, and this year's event promises even greater engagement with over 30 teams expected to compete. Libraries with limited capacity have joined forces with local schools to form teams, fostering collaboration and community spirit.

Participants in the library-level competitions will have their scores recorded, with the top three teams from each geographical area (north, south, east, and west) advancing to the finals. Scheduled for July 31 or August 1, these finals will determine the top three teams in Cape Town, who will then represent the city in national and international competitions.

The coding initiative, supported by the Nelson Mandela University Computing Sciences Department and the Leva Foundation, highlights the educational benefits of coding. Utilising the Tangible Africa-developed applications TANKS and RANGERS, participants can engage offline, enhancing their logic and problem-solving skills in a playful manner.

Mayoral Committee Member for Community Services and Health, Councillor Patricia van der Ross, emphasised the broader benefits of coding, stating, "Coding enhances creativity and problem-solving skills, and encourages proactive thinking among children“.

Recognising the need for inclusive access, the initiative includes unplugged coding activities that do not require costly resources. Participants can download a lightweight app (7MB) and use tokens from game packs to participate, ensuring that coding education reaches communities, regardless of economic barriers.

The coding mini-competitions on Mandela Day will be hosted across various libraries, including Adriaanse, Athlone, Bellville, Delft, and many others spanning the city. This widespread participation not only encourages skill development, but also fosters social interaction and recreational engagement among young participants.

As Cape Town prepares for Mandela Day 2024, the city's libraries stand poised to nurture a new generation of coders and innovators. By providing platforms for learning and competition, they ensure that local youth are equipped to excel in an increasingly digital world.

The coding initiatives not only promote technological literacy, but also instil values of collaboration, perseverance, and creativity among Cape Town's future leaders. With each library session and competition, the city moves closer to realising Mandela's vision of education as a key to unlocking potential and building a brighter future for all.