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Samsung and the University of the Western Cape presents the Future-Innovation Awards & Certificate Ceremony

Author: Wouter Grove

In September 2019 a group of inspiring young people started a new journey. Although they came from very diverse backgrounds and had different levels of digital skills, they shared the same dream – “Designing tomorrow today”.

(Published - 25 August 2020)

Samsung and the University of the Western Cape (UWC) joined forces to launch the Future-Innovation Lab, which focuses on building digital innovation skills for unemployed youth. The Future-Innovation Programme is an integration of two three-month short courses that focus on developing our next generation of multi-platform software developers and social innovators. The Programme is managed by the office of the University’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research and Innovation, Professor Josè Frantz, in conjunction with the Western Cape CoLab for Inclusion & Social Innovation.

The students’ journey culminated in an online graduation ceremony on August 24th, 2020, which is a testament to their hard work and dedication.

Together they crafted digital solutions to social challenges we face in South Africa. Their group project work, even though severely disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, tackled critical challenges like environmental sustainability.

 The teams were:

  • The Seed, which created an application focusing on informing and linking subsistence farmers to markets and learning content;
  • Khathala, which created an innovative digital touchpoint to assist and support those affected by Postpartum Depression;
  • WhoCan tackled youth unemployment by creating a platform linking local job seekers and job providers to each other in an elegant web-application;
  • Forming Young Minds addressed Early Childhood Development (ECD) by creating a resource database for ECD practitioners that is aligned with the South African National Curriculum Framework; and,
  • Two groups addressed safety and security - We Know IT created an asset management system, and Safeways built a very innovative and intuitive application focused on the reporting of crime incidents.

During the online Future-Innovation Awards & Certificate ceremony, 98 Certificates of Competence and 13 Certificates of Attendance were awarded for two courses. The top student accolade in both courses went to the very inspiring Sibusiso Labi – a dynamic software developer. Labi, along with six other students, was selected for the Samsung EEIP App Factory at UWC. It is a nine-month internship which will serve as a further stepping stone to enter the software development industry.


The “Future-Innovators Award for the best overall project” went to the Safeways team. The judges emphasised their technical competency, innovativeness and design skills. The project also had to showcase innovation in addressing existing societal challenges in novel, sustainable ways. The group built a functional, well-designed and integrated app with an innovative and energetic presentation, as well as a design that is both useful and beautiful. It addresses safety and security challenges in a scalable, practical manner. Some of the lead developers in this team – Abdul-Khaaliq Dollie, Rogét van Heerden and Luyanda Dingindlela – are also joining the Microsoft App Factory as UWC as apprentice developers.

The Social Impact Award for 2020 is given to the project with the most potential and innovation shown in addressing previously unaddressed social issues. The judges specifically emphasised combining innovative research, in-depth understanding of the problem, innovativeness and design skills. This award went to Khathala, very ably led by Riyaad Mohamed. The project addressed the significant but under-emphasised challenge of Post-Natal Depression (PND). The group’s energetic presentation - as well as rich feature set and innovative Mood Tracker and community-building focus - was viewed as a novel and inspiring approach to addressing PND. Some of the lead developers in this team – Sibusiso Labi and Hlengiwe Makhubu - are also joining the Microsoft App Factory as UWC as intern developers.

The Future-Innovator Individual Award 2020 is given to the individual student who exemplifies hard work today to eventually be “designing tomorrow”. This was awarded to Naelin Churches who showed strong leadership and dedication in his group, The Seed, that focused on innovatively addressing food security. Churches is also joining the Microsoft App Factory at UWC as a developer intern.

The Top Academic Achievement Awards for 2020 recognised students who consistently produced excellent academic results in the two short courses that made up this programme. The top student in both courses was Sibusiso Labi (Top student in both the software development and digital social innovation short courses). He won a high-end laptop compliments of UWC and Samsung. The second prize was awarded to Abdul-khaaliq Dollie, who also received a laptop. Across the two courses, 15 students obtained distinctions and each of them received a Samsung tablet for their hard work.


UWC Rector and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Tryone Pretorius, acknowledged Professor Leona Craffert and Wouter Grove from the CoLab who worked diligently with Samsung to establish the Programme. 

“UWC identified its positioning within the digital economy as one of its five cross-cutting strategic initiatives, and the Future Innovation Lab is an important part of this strategy. This partnership is really one that is inspiring,” said Professor Pretorius.

Professor Frantz also congratulated the students and thanked all stakeholders who collaborated to ensure the success of the Programme. 

“The students who completed this programme embody the spirit of South Africa - hard working, determined and innovative. You have done your family, your communities and your country proud,” said Professor Frantz. 

She reminded them that as they embark on their journey, "never be intimidated by the success of other people. The fact that you are HERE doesn’t mean that you can’t be THERE. The only difference between HERE and THERE is the letter T. The T stands for TIME and the time is now".

“I will be observing your progress as I do not doubt that you will go on to do great things. You are truly future innovators.”

In his address to the students, Mr Sung Yoon, President and CEO of Samsung Electronics Africa, reflected on his journey. He was born into a poor family in South Korea. At the time the war torn country struggled economically.

“Today South Korea is one of the Top 20 economies in the world as a result of investing in education and the younger generation,” he said. 

“My parents prioritised everything for their children’s education by sacrificing their livelihood. I believe in South Africa, many of you have similar situations, being supported through your parents sacrifices in order to prioritise your education.


“The graduation ceremony is one we have eagerly awaited since the inception of this inspiring project. We are pleased that the Samsung Future-Innovation Lab was used to its full potential, despite the unprecedented challenges that arose this year. This is a shining example of the power of technology and the perseverance of the students. Samsung’s partnership with the University of the Western Cape will continue to grow and so will our unwavering commitment to the youth of this nation, “said Hlubi Shivanda, Head of Business Innovation and Corporate Affairs at Samsung South Africa. 

Watch the ceremony video here: Low-Res Video

Connect with the students and view summaries of their projects here:


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