Imagine our excitement when we found out that we could participate in the GirlCode hackathon on the other side of the country. Our trip to go and participate was all sponsored by our Information Systems department at UCT. We left on a Friday afternoon with enough time to get a sense of Braamfontain as some of the team members had not been in Joburg before. We got the opportunity to stay at a hotel that was in close proximity with the venue where the GirlCode Hackathon would take place.
Come Saturday morning, we got our laptops ready and set on our journey to the venue with a little to no idea of what to expect. Only one of the team members had previously attended a hackathon and she was able to give us a glimpse of what to expect.
When we arrived at the event you could sense the atmosphere of expectation and excitement as girls from different backgrounds all gathered with one aim – to make a difference. Being in a room filled with such incredible woman with varied talents gave us a sense of hope for us woman in the technology field.
The event opened with a key note address from Charmaine Houvet who had such an inspiring presentation about “paying it forward”. Her presentation was the match that ignited the fire to embark on our social change journey.
The 48 hours were filled with highs and lows, from being excited about our idea, to experiencing frustration while trying to implement it and then to being excited about it again in the end. During those times, we were thankful for the industry mentors from Entelect anf Ericsson, who were there to keep us motivated, focused and entertained. The mentors helped us to better target our solution and make it unique which got us moving in the right direction.
Fast forward to 20 presentations later when they were announcing the winner and to our amazement WE WON!! All the girls did such an incredible job with their presentations and solutions. We were so inspired by each and every one of them needless to say the competition was tough.
We could not have experienced any of this if it wasn’t for our lecturers at the University of Cape Town, for teaching us and motivating us to join; and the GirlCode team for organising such an amazing event.
“It started off as a dream that became a reality. Winning has reminded me once again that I AM THE ONE! I too can do it! I can’t wait to meet Mark Zuckerberg. lol” – Fadzai
“Thank you Girl Code for helping me realise my potential and the unbelievable prize that I feel will be priceless.” – Valerie Tshiani
“When I heard about this opportunity I honestly did not know what to expect because it was my first hackathon, I just went there with an intention to have fun. I’m so glad we won, it’s actually funny because beginning of this year, I told myself this was the year of unlimited opportunities and going overseas was definitely in my bucket list!” – Lorna
“We came to the Hackathon looking to network, grow our coding skills and to have fun. I think that showed in our solution and I’m glad the judges saw that. I am extremely excited about the trip and I can’t wait to wear my traditional isiXhosa skirt in the Microsoft offices! ” – Kungela
Listen to our interview on CapeTalk talking about our solution and how we got into the industry.
By: Kungela Mzuku, Fadzai Mupfunya, Valerie Tshiani and Lorna Nqodi