Sunday, 28 March 2021

24-YEAR-OLD NAMED ON UDCORP BOARD

“I believe in a better world, in creating solutions and initiating future proof projects that will benefit generations,” says Ms Sithabile Gandi Ndlovu, an information communication technologies (ICT) expert.

The 24-year-old from Plumtree was recently appointed to sit on the Urban Development Corporation (Udcorp) board, the youngest member to make it to the committee. She will be part of the driving force towards ensuring that Zimbabweans have decent housing in line with Vision 2030.

After completing her studies at Girls College in Bulawayo, Ms Ndlovu moved to Pretoria in 2015 where she began her University career at Pearson Institute doing a Bachelor of Science Degree in Information Technology.

In 2016 while doing her second year she registered for a diploma with the University of Cape Town where she got certified as a Business Analyst.

From then she did certifications and programmes with some colleges such as Olof Palme International Centre in Sweden and the University of Cornell in the United States of America.

As if that is not all for a young woman of her age, Miss Ndlovu is working on a certification with the Information System Audit and Control Association (ISACA) – an international professional association focused on IT governance.

Today she has a well-established company – Viking Technointell, a Pan-African ICT startup which aims to align businesses with technology. Viking Technointell was officially registered in South Africa in June 2017 and an official opening launch was done in Bulawayo, the same month.

The company came as a response to the need of an expansion in terms of the integration of technology in the Pan-African business market.

Miss Ndlovu dates her love for ICT back to the early 2000s when she would take pride in challenging the status quo as according to her, “The word she and phrase technology geek don’t usually appear in the same sentence.”

“My interest in ICT started when I was about nine-years-old and it’s always been something that I enjoyed. Having gone to an all-girls high school taking up ICT wasn’t weird at all because we were all girls but when I got to University, I could see that most girls had not opted for that career path,” she says.

“That didn’t deter me but actually made me want to work harder as I always wanted to be ahead of the boys meaning I became super competitive.”

Miss Ndlovu says being the only girl in most classes forced her to study really hard just to represent the female species and show them that girls could do it too.

The male dominance in the industry did not deter her, in fact, it was her most compelling motivation.

She aims to make a difference in the ICT sector and the business world in Africa as a whole. In the same breath she hopes to change the script and prove that women too can.

Over the years, Miss Ndlovu says she has come to truly understand the major role that ICT plays in socio-economic growth.

“I really want to impact the tech revolution in Africa but Charity begins at home and that’s been a concept I’ve really tried to follow on throughout my professional career. I wouldn’t say we aren’t in the picture per se as Matabeleland, it’s just an issue of exposure,” she says.

“We have a good number of young people in our working economy that are ready to learn, unlearn and relearn. This makes them the perfect group to adopt technology and fit into the tech revolution that awaits us. Given the right capacities and resources, Matabeleland could easily become the tech hub of Zimbabwe,” she adds.

Miss Ndlovu says most women and girls are waiting to get an invite onto the table which remains their greatest challenge.

“No one is going to give us opportunities on a silver platter so we need to be more aggressive and intentional about what we want.

However, realising the true benefits of technology can be such a daunting task which is why it is my aspiration to impact a Tech Revolution in Zimbabwe through promoting the appropriate use of technology in order to achieve socio-economic sustainability,” says Miss Ndlovu.

The recent appointment into the Udcorp board by National Housing and Social Amenities Minister Daniel Garwe is a dream come true for Miss Ndlovu.

“The appointment comes as both an honour and a privilege. It’s always been my hope to serve the nation and as young person I feel humbled to have been appointed to such an esteemed office. I am excited to learn and also be the voice of the youth in developmental issues at a national level,” she says.

Minister Garwe recently said President Mnangagwa has high expectations that the Udcorp will play a key role in the provision of houses and related infrastructure in the country.

To aspiring young female game changers in Zimbabwe, Miss Ndlovu says hard work and passion are key for one to get where they want to no matter how long it takes.

“While knowledge is power, community is also power and that is why I actively seek to give back to those around me, so as to strengthen and empower one another from within. Technology and community development are not all that different, both are vehicles for change and both attract people who are inclined to make their communities better. ICT will drive the next industrial revolution and I hope to see Zimbabwe and then Africa at that helm,” adds Miss Ndlovu. Chronicle


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