While International Women’s Day is observed across the world on 8 March, in South Africa we also observe National Women’s Day on the 9th August to commemorate the events of 9 August 1956 and celebrate the success of women across the country. In this post, we will be celebrating some of the amazing South African women in the technology field.
The March on the Union Buildings
65 years ago, on 9 August 1956, around 20 000 South African women marched on the Union Buildings to protest against the proposed amendments to the Urban Areas Act of 1950. The Pass Laws Act required people of colour to carry an identification document or ‘pass’ on them at all times. This controlled and restricted their freedom of movement under the Apartheid regime.
The march was led by Lillian Ngoyi, Helen Joseph, Rahima Moosa, and Sophia Williams. The women left 14,000 petitions at the office doors of prime minister J. G. Strijdom. They then stood silently for 30 minutes and then started singing a protest song that was composed in honour of the occasion: Wathint’Abafazi Wathint’imbokodo! This translates to “Now you have touched the women, you have struck a rock”.
In 1995 the 9th August was declared National Women’s Day.
Celebrating 5 South African Women in Technology
Sam Wright, more commonly known as Tech Girl, is a South African gaming and technology content creator. She got a BA Journalism and BA Honours degree in Communication Science before going on to work at YFM. Sam then moved into the corporate world for a few years at an engineering firm and even spending a bit of time at a marketing agency. After spending time in the corporate world she decided to make Tech Girl a full-time gig. Sam currently works as a full-time esports shoutcaster, having played a major role in the 2017 Valkyrie Challenge. She has done desk hosting for events such as the 2019 PUBG Europe League. When she is not busy shoutcasting she still finds time to blog, create content for Youtube, and even live stream a bit. Find out more about Sam “Tech Girl” Wright and become part of her community here.
Lindiwe Matlali is driven by the belief that no child should be left behind by the tech revolution. Her mission to bring science into children’s classrooms, underprivileged children especially, and girls, in particular led to her founding Africa Teen Geeks. African Teen Geeks is an NGO that offers coding lessons to South African school children and unemployed youth. The organisation hosts workshops, hackathons, and community outreach programmes, it is driven by Matlali’s goal of no child left behind in the tech revolution. Lindiwe has received numerous awards such as the 2019 Commonwealth Point of Light, Motsepe Foundation Shining Light award, and she is the first African to win the Digital Female Leader award by the German Global Digital Women 2019 network. She has also recently been appointed to serve as Commissioner for the 4th Industrial Revolution.
Baratang Miya is a tech social entrepreneur and the founder and CEO of GirlHYPE – Women Who Code. GirlHYPE is a coding academy for women and girls in underserved communities in South Africa. GirlHYPE has a goal to empower women and girls to be the best they can be, by giving girls from disadvantaged backgrounds the power and skills to build and pursue positions in the tech industry. Baratang is driven by a passion for workforce diversity and the workplace inclusion of women and youth in the tech and entrepreneurship space. Baratang’s goal is to attract, promote and develop women and girls from underrepresented groups in the field of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).
Prof. Mmaki Jantjies is a South African who is passionate about the role that technology innovations can play in improving society. She is a technology specialist, researcher, and advisor. Jantjies holds a Ph.D. in computer science and over the years has held various strategic positions in the field. She was the 2017 and 2018 South African delegate representative to the W20 digitisation group which is a G20 working group looking at the effect of technology on human personality in the digital era. Jantjies, together with UN Women and Mozilla Foundation, founded the Peo Ya Phetogo organisation. The organisation runs various STEM programmes to ensure that young South Africans take up technology as a business or career. Mmaki Jantjies has received various awards for her work with the most recent being the Womandla South African Leading Woman in technology (2019) award.
Emma is the co-founder and director of CodeSpace Academy and is also the founder of Code4CT. She is passionate about uplifting South Africa with tech education since it is such a useful skill and is in demand in many industries CodeAcademy offers courses that teach industry-standard technologies and practices so that our graduates are ready to step into jobs in the tech industry. Code4CT is a programme with a goal to see more young women elect to pursue tech-related study paths and enter the workforce equipped with the skills they need to hold influence in the tech industry. She pioneers transformative education models that prepare youth for the 21st century workplace. Emma has received various awards including The Queen’s Young Leader Award and as a successful South African social entrepreneur, she has a particular interest in supporting young people in pursuing entrepreneurial activities.
From everyone here at DIYElectronic,s we would wish all the women across the country a happy National Women’s Day and Women’s Month. No matter your age, or what walk of life you are from, we thank you for everything you do.
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Graphic Designer | Photographer | Gamer and Twitch streamer.
I have a passion for design and a love of art. I am always eager to learn new things, be it 3D modeling/3D printing, copywriting or even cooking. Pretty chill guy who is always down for a braai with family and friends.