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Miss SA invests in education to help local youngsters

Joubert said Youth Day falls in June and the whole month will celebrate the contribution that young people have made to the struggle for freedom in South Africa.

Soweto resident Bongani Zwane has received a bursary to further his studies in information technology (IT).

Zwane was selected along with nine other students from various provinces across the country as the second batch of bursary recipients to benefit from reigning Miss South Africa Natasha Joubert’s educational advocacy campaign, the Natasha Joubert Collective.

They are expected to start their new educational journeys during Youth Month.

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Earlier this year, Joubert partnered with HyperionDev, Southern Africa’s largest tech education provider, and computer hardware company, ASUS to support skills development and widen educational opportunities in South Africa.

The 10 deserving students will join a comprehensive six-month full-stack web developer boot camp.

A delighted Zwane expressed gratitude to be among the lucky 10, she said she believes that coding is a journey that lasts a lifetime.

“It will enable me to continue learning and expanding my knowledge.

“Coding will also hone my problem-solving skills and encourage me to break down complex problems into smaller, manageable pieces and develop elegant solutions.

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“These skills will not only be useful in programming but also in various aspects of life,” said Zwane.

Joubert said Youth Day falls in June and the whole month will celebrate the contribution that young people have made to the struggle for freedom in South Africa.

“I am extremely happy to be awarding these scholarships at this very apt time.

“Where IT and technology remain the top employment sectors for earning potential with approximately 44 000 unfilled entry-level digital vacancies,” said Joubert.

However, the demand for skilled professionals far outstrips supply.

The truth is that there is a severe skills shortage in the Rainbow Nation, exacerbated by deep socioeconomic disparities, further deepening the real digital divide.

“Education remains a priority for the duration of my reign as Miss South Africa. With these bursaries, I have concentrated on improving digital skills, which are critical for the changing world of work.”

Riaz Moola, CEO and founder of HyperionDev said tech skills development is not just vital – it is imperative for fostering sustainable economic growth and empowering our youth with the necessary tools to thrive.

“Collaborative initiatives like these are examples of how we are getting one step closer to narrowing the digital skills gap in South Africa.

“Our goal extends beyond simply providing coding skills; we aspire to shape innovators and problem-solvers who will drive the technological transformation of the nation.”

The beneficiaries were delighted to have been chosen, believing that the opportunity could change their lives.

Andisiwe Mhlanga from Brakpan said despite financial challenges, his passion for coding drove him to explore HTML, CSS and Javascript.

He noted that the coding bursary represents an opportunity to further his education and fulfil my dreams.

These views are echoed by Tebogo Hlongwane who is currently studying at the University of the Western Cape.

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“I come from Katlehong on the East Rand but I refuse to let my background define or limit me. Coding has made a huge contribution to the 4IR but with a very low rate of women (involved).

“So, as a young woman who is willing to develop different kinds of skills, I am grateful for this opportunity because I want to take up space in the technology field.”

Zethu Mokoena from Kimberly, Northern Cape said the opportunity to participate in the Full Stack Developer Bootcamp course was a wonderful opportunity for him.

“My participation in this programme will not only enhance my technical abilities but also provide me with the tools and knowledge necessary to succeed in the ever-evolving field of technology.”

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