Lindiwe Matlali

South Africa’s Lindiwe Matlali has been recognised by the Queen of England for the awesome work she does as founder and CEO of Africa Teen Geeks, a non-profit organisation that teaches school children and unemployed youth how to code. Lindiwe is the latest recipient of a Points of Light Award for 2019.

Lindiwe Matlali

Inspired by her experience of being orphaned at a young age, Lindiwe is inspiring Africa’s next generation of technology innovators.

She works to eliminate the barriers faced by disadvantaged communities in pursuing science, technology, engineering and maths. ‘Africa Teen Geeks’ has blossomed into one of Africa’s largest non-profit technology education organisations.

Since 2014, the organisation has trained over 110 teachers from disadvantaged schools and provided computer science training to over 38,342 young people aged six and upwards in 30 schools across underprivileged communities. Her numerous accolades include TechWomen Fellow 2017 and Innov8tive Magazine’s ‘Top 50 Visionary Women in Tech To Watch.’

Nigel Casey MVO, UK High Commissioner in South Africa, said:

“Congratulations to Lindiwe on receiving this recognition for the wonderful work that she does. Through her passion for coding, she has reached disadvantaged school children and raised their aspirations. She has used her NGO, ‘Africa Teen Geeks’, to bridge the gap between affluent and rural schools in computing education. Well done Lindiwe on being South Africa’s 2019 Point of Light.”

Lindiwe said:

“I’m excited and humbled to be awarded with the Point of Light. ‘African Teen Geeks’ is a passion project, I often say that I have two jobs one that pays the bills and one that feeds my soul. African Teen Geeks not only gives the children an opportunity to learn new skills but it also allows us to raise their aspirations, to dream bigger and do more.”

The UK Points of Light website states that:

Their partnership with the US programme was developed and launched in the Cabinet Room at 10 Downing Street in April 2014. Her Majesty The Queen, as Head of the Commonwealth, is thanking individual volunteers across the 53 Commonwealth nations for the difference they are making in their communities and beyond.

They also stated that one outstanding volunteer from each of these countries was recognised with Commonwealth Points of Light awards running up to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in London, April 2018.

“Following the success of this programme, Her Majesty The Queen has decided to continue this work and award one volunteer from each Commonwealth country every week leading up to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Rwanda in 2020”, they said.

Watch Lindiwe’s reaction to being a South African recipient in 2019: