Coding for Qunu: Continuing Mandela’s legacy through digital
On Mandela Day, 18 July 2015, Isobar Nowlab, together with the Maker Library Network and Sunshine Cinema, visited the Nelson Mandela Museum in Qunu, to give its computer lab a much-needed upgrade.
The event was organised by Africa Rising, a project founded by Nelson Mandela’s own grandson, Ndaba Mandela, and aimed to expose the local youth to technology, computing, and digital innovation.
Qunu is the birthplace of the late Nelson Mandela and we could think of no better way to celebrate his legacy than to help the children of his community. We hosted three sessions on the day, allowing the children to come face to face with technology and basic coding. To ensure this wasn’t too intimidating, we used kano and MaKey MaKey platforms to create fun games like digital hopscotch and team-building puzzles for the children to interact with.
Isobar's Technical Director, Ruaan Uys said, “We are delighted to be part of such an important event. To spark the imagination of these kids and expose them to simple physical computing is a fantastic opportunity to introduce tech at a grass roots level.”
Following the sessions the devices were donated to the museum so all the playing and learning could continue once our team left. We also introduced the children to Scratch - an interactive programming tool developed by MIT and gave the local teachers a number of tutorials to provide continued support after our sessions."
Our Executive Creative Director, Kerry Friend said, “I went to Qunu thinking that our contribution would be very small. But after a very emotive discussion with Mrs Nozuko Yokwana, the Nelson Mandela Museum’s chairwoman, she explained that even though our contribution may seem small to us, it’s very large to their community. This could be the very spark that could inspire the future leaders of South Africa."
Isobar continues to support Qunu alongside the Maker Library Network, and Sunshine Cinema, and hopes to return each year to host bigger events and provide even more opportunities.