Libhongo Makomka uplifts the Khayelitsha community by teaching kids to code

Before the coronavirus pandemic, every day after school, kids from around the vibrant community of Khayelitsha would rush to the Khayelitsha Bandwidth Barn where they would spend the next few hours playing games at the Barn’s gaming centre.

Then at the end of last year, game centre manager Libhongo Makomka, with the guidance of the Barn’s manager Fezeka Mavuso, realised that there was an opportunity to equip the kids with more computer-based skills, such as coding.

They teamed up with CodeJIKA (Code for Change), an initiative that believes that exposing the youth to coding and computer-based skills develops their computational and critical thinking skills.

And together, they came up with an after-school programme that would teach coding to kids from around schools in Khayelitsha.

“I had noticed that our learners are not well exposed with technology as some of them never utilized computers from their background especially those who come from the Eastern Cape,” explains Libhongo.

“The programme helps children to adapt in the Fourth Industrial Revolution as they are taught how to code,” adds Libhongo, who’s also an IT support at the Khayelitsha Bandwidth Barn.

“Apart from the game centre, and teaching kids to code, I ensure that every electronic device is in order and fully functioning.”

As part of the coding programme, the kids, who are between grades eight and nine, are taught how to develop websites and create online CVS.

“I have learnt to be patient when teaching coding as some of the learners find code too difficult for them but it’s quite a manageable challenge.”

Libhongo Makomka uplifts the Khayelitsha community by teaching kids to code 1

Like many business activities around the world, the after school coding programme has been challenged to be agile and adaptable because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The programme will continue in the new year, when the learners have completed their exams.

The 21-year-old shares his big plans for the future of the programme.

“My vision is to see the programme grow, and ensuring our learners pursue careers in the field of technology and understand how technology drastically changes the world.”

Libhongo grew up in East London, Eastern Cape where he spent his schooling years and later studied Information Technology and Computer Science at False Bay College.