RHoK Pretoria 2014 – Hacking for humanity

By Keitumetsi Tsotetsi

Upon arrival the atmosphere was amazing, a sea of IT enthusiasts in their blue RHoK t-shirts ready to hack for humanity. Eager to start, the devs quickly had some tea and breakfast and the event had officially begun.

Prof Ernest Mnkandla gave us a warm welcome and had us eager to start with the challenges.Chris Williams from Microsoft told us about the amazing new Nokia X and its platform, needless to mention them equipping us with USBs with the necessary SDKs. He was followed by Keitumetsi who was received well by the crowd, a fellow young evangelist that the techies could relate to.

And then the presentation of the challenges… the challenges alone deserve awards. All value adding and problem solving issues in the community.

Keitumetsi Tsotetsi

Challenges for the hackathon:

Appchemy dared the devs to create a new way of communication that does not currently exist.

Geekulcha’s Kutwano proposed an app to help out students that are not familiar with the number of buildings and how to find your way around.

Geekulcha’s Tiyani challenged the RHoKstars to use augmented reality to identify electronics components with a mobile app.

P-STEM wanted an interactive application where students could gather more information about career paths, bursaries and applications along with increasing their interest in STEM RHoK.

GDG (Ishmael and Sifiso) presented “donate-my-school-stuff” which enables people to donate items to students who will benefit from being able to view the items available.

IT Varsity and Geekulcha girls raised a challenge to raise IT awareness and provide all IT related information to potential IT students and young professionals about the industry to spark more interest.

Planning is important and is an element that could make or break a project. After the teams had been decided, teams went straight into brainstorming sessions where roles were defined and strategies were formed.

After an amazing lunch, the programming began. YES PLEASE!!

Team sprit filled the chamber. The devs had been awakened. Groups were hard at work but a lot of fun was had. Truelly an unforgettable experience. It was amazing to see the knowledge transfer that was taking place and all the discoveries that were made from learning from each other.

The use of social media to raise consciousness for this event was successful. Twitter, Facebook down to YouTube Live steaming. We expect an even bigger turn-out in December.  It was impossible for us to not trend on twitter.

Many interviews and photos were taken and these will be made available for the world to see. Reason to relive a memory and momentum to get new comers to the next RHoK. Most importantly friendships were made and solutions materialized.

Surprisingly enough, when midnight struck, most of the developers were still wide awake coding like there is no tomorrow. The awkward conversations with the people we had just met had become easier to hold because we were now familiar enough with each to move away from deciding on the best algorithm to follow to talking about some of our plans and challenges as students, interns or workers. This is where one of the other aims of attending RHoK came alive; connecting and making friendships with like-minded people.

Of course that didn’t last for too long. Coding and delivering maximum value to the client and the judges was undoubtedly the most important aim. Microsoft SA provided Lumia 520 and Nokia X devices for testing purposes. It was amazing to watch hackers working together for the love of I.T and humanity, until the sun came out. It is not every day we get to see such passion, especially when no money is involved.

The rest of the morning flew by as most of the teams now focused on polishing their work and getting ready to present their solutions. Tweets were streaming in and team members were pacing up and down trying to get everything in order.

The Wining Team - TGAG

After a gruelling 24hrs, the top three Solutions were:

1. Geekulcha’s electronics mobile application
2. Unisa’s MyCampus Buildings mobile application
3. P-STEM’s online portal

IT Varsity gave away two android tablets, one to a hacker who tweeted the best tweet by tagging #ITVarsity, and the other to one of the team members that were part of developing the IT Varsity application. Creative mindsets crew worked on this challenge and each member got an IT Varsity shirt.

Kutlwano Kemisho took the award for the best female hacker and Josiah Masango was prized for having the best hacking spirit.

Lehlogonolo Sathekge won the best social media person award and took home a Nokia Lumia 625.

Desiree Mampane won a Lumia 520 for the best tweet tagging all sponsors.

Diamond Mubaraack got himself the exlusive Nokia X by using in implementing the soulution.

Joao Nzango took home a windows phone for being a Geekstar (Hackathon RHoKStar) with 39% of the votes on Twitter. The GeekStar was voted by tweeting @Geekulcha #GeekStar vote for someone.

Although the entire night amounted to RHoK choosing specific winners to win prizes, everyone went home with goodies and a refreshed mindset, in love with hacking for humanity all over again. A RHoKing weekend it was!

A very big thank you to Dr Jabu, Tiyani, UNISA, Geekulcha, mLab Southern Africa, Microsoft SA, IT Varsity, Google Developer Groups Pretoria, P-STEM and House 4 Hack who made this event possible.  We also thank Htxt Africa for helping us reach to many RHOK enthusiasts.