Speakers

Keynote Speaker

Noluvuyo Gqadu

Founder at CodeNgwana

Nolu Gqadu is an award-winning technology professional. She is a Founder for CodeNgwana, an organisation that is focused on teaching kids how to code. Her main objective is to help the African child go digital through teaching computational thinking and coding to kids. She has 12 Years’ experience in the Information Technology (IT) industry, fulfilling various IT functions and roles within various organizations. She has a huge passion for solving social issues through technology. In her line of work, she has been privileged to contribute and expand her knowledge on disciplines such as the mental health space for children, EdTech (education and technology) communities and social entrepreneurship spaces across the globe to help alleviate poverty in Africa. She holds a Bcom honors degree in Information Systems from the University of Cape Town (UCT) along with various industry certifications and management qualifications.

She is a board member at Waves for Change, an organization that focuses on mental health for kids through surf therapy. Nolu is also a director for Teampact, an attendance tracking platform used by 30 organizations to date, mostly in the Western Cape, as well as in East and West Africa and across South-Central America. She also serves on the board of Edtech Global, The EdTech Global Africa helps to build creative learning experiences that seek to grow the confidence and skills of African educators in the uses of technology for teaching & learning.

She is also heavy involved in the social entrepreneurship space and serves as a mentor for the Miller Centre of Social Entrepreneurship at Santa Clara University in Silicon Valley. She is a young mom who is passionate about education and a children’s book author. She has written stories about technology for kids and have published three books, including a coding encyclopaedia that has been translated into isiXhosa and Setswana,

Nolu was also named one of the Mail & Guardian 200 Young South Africans for 2021, the young 200 is a list of individuals the Mail & Guardian considers to be the most influential 200 Young South Africans for the year. She is also an Inspiring 50 Winner for 2019 which is an award given to top 50 inspiring women in STEM in South Africa and also have been selected as one of the faces of change for 2020, an initiative by Ackerman’s group to recognize women doing great things in South Africa. She believes children are natural problem solvers as their minds are uncorrupted. When children are empowered a whole new world of possibilities is possible.

Speakers

Nobubele Angel Shozi

Senior Software Developer and Researcher (DIRISA)

Nobubele Angel Shozi is currently a Senior Software Developer and Researcher at the Data Intensive Research Initiative of South Africa (DIRISA). She holds a Master’s Degree in Information Technology that she received from the Nelson Mandela University (NMU). She is currently pursuing her PhD in Computer Science at the University of South Africa (UNISA). Her current research interests lie in Data Privacy, Social media and Cyber-security. Nobubele has published a number of research articles and presented these in local and international conferences.

Dr Anwar Vahed

Director of the Data Intensive Research Initiative of South Africa (DIRISA)

Dr Anwar Vahed is the director of the Data Intensive Research Initiative of South Africa (DIRISA). He manages the implementation of a national research data infrastructure that supports data intensive research, and coordinates the development of relevant expertise and strategies, as well as the
implementation of policies for research data management. DIRISA, together with the Centre for High Performance Computing (CHPC) and the South African Research Network (SANReN), comprises the
technology component of the National Integrated Cyberinfrastructure System of South Africa.

Anwar’s professional career spans leadership, managerial and capacity development roles in diverse academic, research and production ICT environments. He is a computer scientist with more than 20 years’ experience in academia, and in research and development in the fields of data science, artificial intelligence, machine learning, artificial neural networks and research data management. He was Principal Researcher and the Research Group Leader of the ICT for Earth Observation Research Group at the CSIR and prior to joining the CSIR, he managed the data and information delivery systems of Statistics SA, and chaired the Department of Computer Science at the University of the Western Cape.

He has developed the national strategy for research Big Data, is editor of data science journals and serves on several local and international committees in the data sciences, including the Research Data Alliance (RDA), US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and CODATA.

Dr Happy Sithole

Centre Manager: National Integrated Cyber-Infrastructure System (NICIS), South Africa

Dr Happy Sithole is the Centre Manager for the South African cyberinfrastructure (CI) system, NICIS since 2019. He is responsible for the coordination of this system so that it meets the demands of the South African National System of Innovation, in support of the Department of Science and Innovation. This involves the three main entities of the CI, Centre for High-Performance Computing (CHPC), South African National Research Network (SANReN), Data Intensive Initiative of South Africa (DIRISA).

Prior to becoming the CI centre manager, Sithole spent 12 years as the director of the Centre for High Performance Computing. He completed his PhD in materials science, focusing on electronic and atomistic simulation of iron sulphides, at the University of Limpopo, where he also lectured for nine years. He has applied high-performance computing to solve problems in mining industries and nuclear power plant designs, such as at his time at the Pebble Bed Modular Reactor. Sithole also sits on the steering committees of high-performance computing meetings in Germany, Russia and Singapore. He was the Chairperson of the ICT Committee of the National Library Board and is currently a board member at the Centre of Excellence for Nuclear Safety and Security (CNSS) in South Africa.

Judges

Dr Simo Mthethwa

Lecturer: University of Kwazulu-Natal (UKZN)

Dr. S Mthethwa was born and raised eMpangeni, KwaZulu-Natal. He obtained his PhD in mathematics (topology) at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN). He is an academic at University of KwaZulu Natal, specialising in mathematics. He supervises postgraduate students & teach undergraduate students in mathematics. He started the Mthethwamatics movement to popularize mathematics, he is a former Training Coordinator at MiET Africa and he is a former Canaan College Maths Consultant. He has been recognised as Top 100 Shinning Stars of SA by Inside Education (2020), Assupol Museum of Heroes Award (2020) & Sunday World Unsung Hero (2021). His research is funded by NRF Thuthuka grant and supported by National Graduate Academy (MaSS).

Lameck Mbangula Amugongo

Lecturer: Faculty of Computing and Informatics (Namibia University of Science and Technology)

Lameck Mbangula Amugongo has over 8 years of experience in the field of Information Technology and Innovation. Previously, he worked as a business intelligence (BI) analyst at Telecom Namibia. Lameck is a Lecturer in the Faculty of Computing and Informatics at the Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST). Lameck is a highly motivated and diligent individual with a strong passion for technology and innovation. From 2013-2019, he co-led the local Google Developers Group (GDG) & Developers circles from Facebook Windhoek. As a co-lead, his role involved organising technology talks, hackathons, and coding training across Namibia. In 2015, Lameck was selected as one of 100 Brightest Young Minds by Brightest Young Minds (BYM) and was also awarded the youth innovator award by National Commission on Research, Science & Technology (NCRST) for his research project “Open Data Portal for Namibia”.

He holds a B.IT: Software Engineering, BSc (Hon) Computer Science ‘Cum Laude’ and MSc in Computer Science (NUST) and a PhD in Cancer Science from the University Manchester. His PhD research involves applying advanced data analysis techniques on thousands of 3D images of lung cancer patients to personalise radiotherapy treatment. His research interest is in Artificial intelligence, Data Science and digital transformation.

Mkhuseli Mthukwane

Vice President of Data Science at the ABSA Group’s Internal Audit.

Mkhuseli is an seasoned data scientist that has worked in the fields of Robotics & AI, Law and Actuarial Science. He is a machine learning practitioner with a wealth of experience in the adoption of data science in many fields. Throughout the years he has had a hand in innovative break-through’s in all these fields, most notably creating one of the first applications of AI for South African Case Law. He has taught at Data Science workshops, consulted for some of the leading Actuaries in the country and created the world’s first front-end interface environment for R Packages. Mkhuseli is currently Vice President of Data Science at the ABSA Group’s Internal Audit.

Kushata Ntwaetsile

PhD Student at University of Hertfordshire in UK

Kushatha Ntwaetsile is a former computer scientist turned astronomer. 

She is studying for a PhD in Astrophysics at the University of Hertfordshire-UK, using Machine Learning to automatically classify new & unseen galaxies. She graduated with an MSc in Computer Science from Botswana International University of Science and Technology, where she also worked as a Graduate Teaching Assistant. Kushatha obtained her undergraduate Degree in Computer Systems Engineering from Botswana Accountancy College, Gaborone. Prior to starting her PhD, she worked as a Lab Demonstrator at the University of Botswana in the Computer Science Department. Her interests are data and image analysis, particularly applying unsupervised machine learning to imagery.