South Africa’s IT professional association, the IITPSA, recently honoured 10 Eastern Cape IT professionals, students, teachers and scholars for their achievements at a well-attended gala awards dinner.

Organised by the Eastern Cape Chapter of IITPSA, the awards were presented to the winners by IITPSA President, Ulandi Exner, assisted by the association’s CEO, Tony Parry, and Devereaux Joubert, Chairman of IITPSA’s Eastern Cape Chapter.

Two students – Michael Marais of Grey High School and Samantha Brown of Linkside High School – were chosen as the joint EC IITPSA 2018 IT Scholars of the Year for their outstanding academic achievements in ICT at their schools.

The EC IITPSA 2018 IT Teacher of the Year (Lifetime Achievement Award) was presented to Keith Gibson of Alexander Road High School for his many outstanding contributions to IT and CAT school education in the Eastern Cape and nationally. Over more than 30 years, he has consistently produced brilliant scholars who have gone on to be outstanding ICT professionals.

The EC IITPSA 2018 CAT Teacher of the Year Award went to Mbulelo Njamela of Cowan High School for his outstanding work as a very motivated and passionate teacher, committed to the success of his learners and driven by a vision of excellence and progress. Due to his highly professional work as a CAT teacher, he achieves results which are comparable to those achieved by much better resourced schools.

The EC IITPSA 2018 IT Student of the Year was Vuyolwethu Mdunyelwa, chosen for his outstanding academic results and achievements at NMU’s School of ICT. He received a Merit Award for his 3rd year Software Development Project in 2015, Merit Awards for Academic Excellence in his IT diploma, and he was chosen to complete a Chinese experience program in 2017. He also completed a Seeds for the Future program for Huawei technologies in China in 2017 and presented a research paper at the 2017 HAISA conference in Adelaide, Australia.

Brenda Scholtz, the Head of the Department of Computing Sciences at NMU, was awarded the EC IITPSA 2018 Woman in IT Award for her outstanding work in promoting careers in IT for women. She leads Young African Women in Computing (YAWiC), which organises events such as a “Summer Coding Camp” for young girls in high schools.

These girls attend a two day summer coding camp where they are taught that IT and programming is fun. Ms Scholtz has organised other events such as “What’s your story?”, where women working in IT or studying IT talk to younger women, sharing their story and promoting careers in IT.

The EC IITPSA 2018 Woman in IT (Lifetime Achievement Award) was presented to Karen Church, the Head of Department of the School of ICT at NMU, for:

  • her outstanding academic leadership which has touched numerous lives in many ways,
  • her important contributions to the growth and work of the School of ICT over more than 20 years, and
  • her extramural involvement in initiatives and organisations such as the IITPSA.

The EC IITPSA 2018 IT Entrepreneur of the Year Award went to Melisa van der Merwe, founder of the startup, Converttocode. She developed SmarkCreator, SmarkChecker and SmarkOnline, software applications that present Microsoft course material (Word, Excel, etc.) to students doing end-user computing courses at universities and evaluate their practical mastery of this application software. Similar commercial software is unaffordable for South African universities. Melisa developed a South African product that has been extensively used the past three years by NMU, saving the university more than R2 million and providing a superior product compared to what is available internationally.

The EC IITPSA 2018 IT Contributor of the Year went to Patrick Monks, Managing Executive of Business Connexion, Port Elizabeth, for his visionary ICT leadership and active involvement in numerous initiatives, organisations and boards, such as the Sydenham Retirement Home, the NMU Business School and the Board of the Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber.

Finally, the EC IITPSA 2018 IT Personality of the Year was presented to Quintus Moolman, Sales and Solutions Manager of Dimension Data, for his many outstanding contributions to the ICT Industry and civil society in general in the Eastern Cape over more than 30 years. Quintus will be nominated for the national IITPSA 2018 IT Personality of the Year award later this year.