Young innovators in the North West province spent Saturday morning with President Cyril Ramaphosa sharing their inventive ideas with hopes that one day, with the help of the government, they will come to fruition.
The President is visiting the Ngaka Modiri Molema District in Mahikeng, in the North West to oversee the implementation of the District Development Model (DDM) which integrates planning and budgeting across all the three spheres of government as well to engage with community members following his State of the Nation Address in February.
After completing a tour of the Mafikeng Digital Innovation Hub President Ramaphosa said he was impressed by what he had witnessed.
The President was very pleased that South Africa has started with developing artificial intelligence and the innovation processes at the hub as this is the way of the future.
“I can say with confidence that today - with these young people here and their creativity - I have seen the future; it is very bright.
“They are doing things we never thought could be done, they are building devices and they are creating stuff for climate change and detecting weather patterns and it’s just mind boggling, I have seen the future,” he said.
The Mafikeng Digital Innovation Hub was established in 2020 following the call by President Ramaphosa to expand township digital hubs which would incubate new businesses.
The hub is incubating youth, women and people living with disability with preparatory Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) skills development, innovation, and technology and entrepreneurship development.
As the President toured the centre he interacted with some of the young people incubated in the programmes the innovation hub offers.
Speaking to SAnews, 27-year-old Paula Maseko who founded Buhle Bomqhele natural hair products said she was delighted to get a visit from the President and hoped it will give her products more exposure.
She was inspired by her aunt who used to take care of her natural hair when she was a child.
Maseko created organic hair products which help people with natural hair detangle their hair. She has been incubated at the centre for a year and a half.
“I have received mentorship and a business course and they have assisted me with getting my products tested and two of my products are compliant. With regard to hat government can do for us – it would be funding for us to be able to get our products to the commercial market,” she said.
Another young person incubated at the Mafikeng Innovation Hub is Morekolodi Mankuroane, CEO of Mansalema Enterprise, who created an app to help in the fight against gender-based violence in the country.
The app is called the Salema App which is used in case of emergency. By shaking your cellphone a message will be sent to the company alerting it to the fact that you are in danger. The app will send a message to an added emergency contact as well as the location of the person in danger.
He has also created a belt with a panic button which forms a protective structure to prevent any form of penetration in an attack. He said that when these events happen they will use a drone to capture all the evidence.
“I am an activist of gender based-violence and I am also an inventor. As I was sitting at home one day I just thought of the rape issue our country is facing and I generated ideas to innovate these things, the belt made more sense than everything else,” he said.
Gaoagwe Jeje, who is the founder of Kgosi Poultry, has invented a device that can be placed inside a chicken coop. It scans the chickens for any threat and eliminates them before they get worse.
“What we are trying to do with our device is to detect any sickness from the beginning stages before the chickens get to a stage where they die. The device can be linked to your cell phone and it sends you a message whenever there is any threat,” Jeje said.
The day’s programme will move to the Mmabatho Stadium where he will engage with citizens during a Presidential Imbizo.
Source: South African Government News Agency