Celebrating Africa Day everyday through Coding and Robotics

June 24, 2021

In this article Keletso Mokolwane interviews Sally Kimangu, Director, Discovery Club Africa during which they discuss Sally’s determination to promote coding and robotics in Africa and help her continent spearhead a fourth industrial revolution.


Celebrating Africa Day everyday through Coding and Robotics

Sally Kimangu is not your stereotypical Pan-Africanist. She doesn’t have a colourful head wrap or big chunky earrings, nor is she wearing a long traditional African print dress with desert sandals. Instead, she has long nails on fleek, red lipstick, a beautiful white summer dress and that magnificent Kenyan smile.

While looks may be deceiving, Sally walks, talks and breathes Africa. Born in Kenya and happily living in Botswana, Sally is the fourth child in a family of six. Her mother was a teacher and her father an entrepreneur, which is where she get her fearless curiosity to step into the unknown.

Although she has tried many endeavours, her heart is with her current project, the Discovery Club, an NGO that aims to propel disadvantaged youth to driving the continent into the fourth industrial revolution.  A project that she has made her personal crusade.

This project is aimed at educating young children from as early as 6 years through STEAM (an approach to learning and development that integrates the areas of science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics.

Operating under the motto ‘Every child in every village deserves a better future through education,’ Sally and her team diligently visit communities across Botswana, collaborating with schools, to introduce inquisitive, fresh minds on the endless opportunities in coding and robotics. Project participants are encouraged to use collaboration, creativity, critical thinking and communication with the aim to provide them with a platform where they can be creators rather than receivers of technology. According to her, providing children with skills at an early stage of their development will help them to appreciate the value and long-term benefit of current technology which is exactly what Africa needs.

“These children are amazing, and they are quick learners! It proves that any child from a background of poverty has every chance to succeed once they are given the opportunity,” she explains. “The gap between the rich and the poor on this continent kills me. We don’t choose where we are born so why should a child suffer for it? It’s our job to bring the opportunities to them, it’s not supposed to be the other way around.’ Her eyes are burning with the desire to see justice and fairness.

“Science and technology are not about iPads, Apple computers or robots. Science is everywhere. It can be affordable and reachable,’ she continues, “Kids who grow up in harsh backgrounds have a story to tell and they are hungry for success. If we equip these children well, they have the potential to drive African economies to lead the 4th Industrial revolution.”

As we sit and conduct this interview for Africa Day, I asked her the following questions;

Q-“What does it mean to be an African?”

A –There is no place like Africa. We have fresh food and fresh air. Life here is still real and tangible. Being an African is about changing your disadvantages to your advantage. We are the world’s youngest population. We are an asset. Right now, the world has a shortage of scientists, if we can provide the right platform, our youth can bring solutions to this world’s problems.

Q-“What achievements or successes do you celebrate when it comes to Africa?”

A-“Africa is not where it used to be in terms of education. We are adapting to the idea of technology. We are developing clean furnished labs and technology. We are also more inclusive, especially when it comes to involving girls in STEAM. It is amazing to reflect on what we have achieved in the past 30-40 years.”

Q- “What do you hope to see happen in Africa in your life time?”

A-“I want to see my people lead the 4th Industrial revolution. I want us to drive innovations for clean energy, reduce global warming and provide solutions for the world. Then I can proudly say that I was a part of that process.”

Q- “Are you aware of and do you celebrate Africa day”

A-“For me Africa Day is every day.”

** The Discovery Club is a fully operational coding and robotics institution based in Gaborone. For more information contact: sally@discoveryclub.africa

You can also visit the website here: https://discoveryclub.africa/