The ‘Big Data’ Women Who Will Change South Africa

“Big data,” says Accolade Ubisi during a meeting at the Good Work Foundation (GWF) Hazyview Digital Learning Campus (HDLC). “We need to implement better data capturing processes and share the results visually. Infographics and video.”

Accolade is a 24-year-old graduate of the University of Limpopo, where she studied Media and Communication Studies. She is part of a new generation of young South African women at the forefront of the tech revolution.

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Accolade Ubisi is one of the few young women from Mpumalanga who is contributing towards building a digital economy in a rural area. With 850,000 youths in our catchment area, we have to create new opportunities for young people to engage with a changing world. Accolade is living that vision.

“As a member of the ‘digital village’ my career choices have expanded beyond the traditional ‘nurse, social worker, municipality worker,’” remarks Accolade. “Yes, the view from my office is of the African bushveld rather than a cityscape, but via email, Skype and social media, I share ideas with partners from all over the world. And those ideas are powering an education model that is reaching more young, rural people.”

This week Accolade has led two digital-storytelling classes for rural students. She has hosted the global CEO of Chanel at one of GWF’s rural campuses. She has been part of a strategic vision meeting to launch a new digital agency operating out of Mpumalanga province and she is coordinating activities for the media launch of South Africa’s open learning movement.

But here’s what we love. In-between all the “big data”, Accolade has done something truly inspirational: she has installed a built-in mahogany-wood kitchen unit for her mother, who lives in the village of Lillydale, just outside the Sabi Sand Game Reserve.

“I just wanted to do something nice for my mother. My friends suggested I make a down payment on a car, but my parents have had a temporary kitchen for way too long. They got me to where I am today.”

During a month in South Africa of celebrating our women, this is one of the “big data” women who will change the future.

Note: Accolade Ubisi is GWF’s Media Intern and Blogger.

Accolade with her colleague, Mercyful Mathebula, who is the Coordinator of the Hazyview Campus “bridging year” for South Africa’s rural school leavers. Mercyful is also a Media and Communications graduate.

Accolade with her colleague, Mercyful Mathebula, who is the Coordinator of the Hazyview Campus “bridging year” for South Africa’s rural school leavers. Mercyful is also a Media and Communications graduate.

Expanding and extending the branches of the Digital Tree of Knowledge: The Good Work Foundation’s “campus of the future” in Hazyview has a staff contingent made up of 75 percent women. The IT students are made up of 80 percent women and in 2014, the campus won the PriceWaterHouseCoopers Gender Mainstreaming Award.

Expanding and extending the branches of the Digital Tree of Knowledge: The Good Work Foundation’s “campus of the future” in Hazyview has a staff contingent made up of 75 percent women. The IT students are made up of 80 percent women and in 2014, the campus won the PriceWaterHouseCoopers Gender Mainstreaming Award.

Accolade is currently facilitating “An Introduction to New Media class” which includes modules in online writing, blogging, photography and social media.

Accolade is currently facilitating “An Introduction to New Media ” class which includes modules in online writing, blogging, photography and social media.

 

Written and photographed by Ryan James.

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