Students who participated in the 2023 LVH.
The Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) Polokwane Campus and its partners the University of Limpopo (UL), University of South Africa (UNISA) and University of Venda (UNIVEN) participated in the second annual Limpopo Varsity Hackathon (LVH) from 5 - 7 October 2023 at Miami Lodge in Polokwane. The hackathon was themed: Preserving, Promoting and Commercializing Indigenous Knowledge System using Technology.
In his welcome note to students, Dr Walter Tshamano: TUT Polokwane Campus Rector said: “As we embark on this exciting journey together, we should remember that the success of this event lies not only in the achievements of its individual members but in our collective ability to make a lasting impact on society. Let us utilize our knowledge, skills and experiences to bridge the digital divide, to create opportunities and to empower others.”
In a world that is constantly evolving, it is crucial to preserve and promote the wealth of knowledge held within indigenous communities. Hackathons, known for their innovation and problem-solving abilities, have stepped up to the task of serving as a bridge between generations, ensuring that the unique knowledge of indigenous communities is not lost.
“Innovation is the heartbeat of progress. It is the driving force that has brought us together today. Every line of code, every brainstorming session and every late-night programming is a testament to our commitment to innovation. Remember that our goal is not just to create technology for technology ‘sake, it is about addressing real-world challenges and making a positive impact on our society, our community, and our world,” said Michael Moeti, FoICT Academic Manager at the Polokwane Campus.
From the left is Michael Moeti, Senyeki Marebane and Mashitishi Phurutsi.
Beyond the competition, LVH has played a pivotal role in developing a thriving tech ecosystem in Limpopo. The event attracts not only students but also mentors, industry experts and investors who are eager to support and guide young talent. Sponsorships from MLab, AGRITOUR ZA, Amazon Web Services (AWS), NELEKET, INTERVENT and THAMANI Technologies and systems contributed to the success of the event.
Mashitishi Phurutsi, Chairperson of the University Hackathon Series (UHS), said: “According to the World Economic Forum, Africa faces a huge digital skills gap, which is diluting economic opportunities and development on the continent. In response to the plethora of challenges, FoICT wants to align its priorities with other universities’ strategic positioning as well as the South African National Development Plan to prepare future-ready graduates and to enhance employability through a series of hackathons,” he said.
The winning team: Agrifountain, produced an app called FarmingMadeEasy (FME), that provides education on crop production of indigenous food and herbs like morogo, lengana and also assist in detecting the type of soil to grow those indigenous food and herbs, using drones with soil sensors. “Our App teaches people about indigenous farming and fuse the knowledge with the modern farming information using 4IR (Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning),” said team member, Ramaphakela Khomotso.
One of the most remarkable aspects of LVH is its commitment to social impact. The solutions developed during the Hackathon have the potential to change lives and communities. In the heart of Limpopo, where cultural heritage meets cutting-edge technology, LVH has become a beacon of hope and progress.