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Professionals in various IT fields are being called on to get involved during mentor month at the City’s Computer Clubhouses.
YOUTH training programmes will be intensified at Joburg’s computer clubhouses next month, to broaden learning horizons for members.


Lucky MabasoLucky Mabaso, the City's operational manager of the Bellavista computer clubhouseFebruary has been set aside as a mentor month, explains Lucky Mabaso, the City’s operational manager of the Bellavista Technohub Computer Clubhouse. “We are going to recruit professionals in IT [information technology] in the categories of web development, graphic design and animation.”

Each mentor will spend at least an hour of his or her day for a month with two learners from a clubhouse. The idea behind the programme is for young people to deepen their understanding of their areas of interest, with mentors explaining to them and showing them how the subject works practically, he says.

Computer Clubhouse will also host a teen summit for participants from 27 March to 2 April. Mabaso says each club will be asked to send 10 learners who will be involved in “complex projects” of their choice. They will be divided into six groups that will create work in programming, game design, web development, video filming, animation and journalism.

On the last day of the summit, participants will report on their projects. “The idea is that these kids can go home and run workshops with other kids.”

At the summit workshops, participants will learn what they need to know, to create their own projects. “We will invite various institutions to come and run these workshops, bringing their expertise.”

The City has four clubhouses: Bellavista Technohub Computer Clubhouse, Orange Farm Technohub Computer Clubhouse, Jabavu Technohub Computer Clubhouse and Randburg Technohub Computer Clubhouse.


Children up to 18 years can join the City's computer clubhousesChildren up to 18 years can join the City's computer clubhousesChildren up to 18 years old may join them. To be admitted, they have to return an application form filled in by their parents, as they are minors. Once a child is a member of a club, he or she will have access to computers, although not to the internet. These clubhouses introduce learners to subjects and careers they may be interested in pursuing.

“These kids are no longer dreaming of careers; they are living their dreams.”

Every member of the clubhouses has a folder to store all the work they produce. When they apply to a university or tertiary education institution, they can submit a portfolio with all the work they produced as part of the computer club. “We are giving our children a chance to participate in invention and innovation,” Mabaso notes.

Although the clubhouses attract a lot of children, Mabaso points out that there are more boys than girls, saying there is still a lot of work to be done to encourage more girls to join. One route is having days specifically for girls. “Every Thursday is girl-power. It ensures that every Thursday is a girls’ day.”

And they are changing the perception that technology is for boys only. “We are using girls’ day as a way to address gender dynamics.”

The City, with the help of the private sector, is planning to establish computer clubhouses in the future.

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