When 24-year old Strand resident Lindiwe Thandabantu attended high school, government-sponsored computer rooms had not yet been set up at her school.

By the time she finished matric, Lindiwe was pregnant with her now five-year old son, Sinelizwi. With a small baby to take care of, she started working at Bossa Social Café in Somerset West and completed a basic computer course at the NGO, Silulo Ulutho Technologies. Soon after completing the course, she clinched a contract at the Western Cape Education Department where she worked as an e-Learning teacher’s assistant and helped primary school learners with the basics of how to use a computer.

In 2019, Lindiwe joined the MiDO Foundation as a Digital Hub Coordinator at Simanyene Secondary School in Strand where she still works today.

“Working as a coordinator for the MiDO Foundation is very different from what I was doing as an e-Learning assistant. When I joined MiDO, I didn’t know that I was going to teach graphic design and photography skills to the learners. With the skills I had before, I knew how to use a computer when I needed it, but it was not as advanced as what I have learnt at MiDO,” says Lindiwe.

At the hubs she can clearly see the hunger that the learners have to learn more digital skills. “Whenever I teach them something new they want to know more.”

Growing up in a disadvantaged community and with her knowledge of digital skills, Lindiwe is aware of the impact that digitally illiteracy will have on the job prospects of youth who have no or basic computer skills.

“There are learners in our community who are in high school and who know nothing about technology. They know how to use their phones, but when we work on computers, we have to start from scratch and show them how to switch on a computer, how to log in, how to use Google to find information, and how to use the different programmes on the computer.”

“What we are doing at MiDO is important, because I can see how it has changed our lives and the lives of learners who had no digital skills before. We are making it easier for the next generation, especially in the townships, to learn skills they will need to find work and to get into and finish university,” she adds.

Participating in the programme and working as a hub coordinator has also changed Lindiwe’s life.

“I am able to speak in front of people, something I did not care to do before. I also know how to teach learners new skills and motivate them. I am definitely not shy anymore and I am teaching the learners how to become confident too.”

As a single mom, she is mostly happy that she can now buy all the things that young Sinelizwi needs.

Photo: Lindiwe Thandabantu works as Digital Hub Coordinator at one of the MiDO Foundation’s Digital Hubs at Simanyene Secondary School in Strand.