The tech industry is still male-dominated and Zandile Mkwanazi is working to increase the visibility of women in it through her nonprofit organisation, GirlCode. Combining her passions for women, technology and education, Mkwanazi helps to provide historically disadvantaged women with skills in computer literacy, coding and design. GirlCode’s mission is to create a network of women who can use those skills to create innovative and sustainable solutions where they live.
Her proudest moment is learning to say, “No” after many years of struggling to object to other people and sponsors’ ideas. Since GirlCode started in 2015, she has learned to turn away projects that do not align with the organisation and do not serve her purpose.
Her ultimate aim is to see girls and women standing equally among their male counterparts. “I want them to have the same opportunities and choices to pursue whatever career they want.”
Her work is recognised internationally and locally. In 2018 she received a social entrepreneur award from the premier of Gauteng. In the same year, the Netherlands embassy acknowledged her as one of South Africa’s top 50 inspiring women.
Her advice is that women should work to find who they are and want to do, then work hard to achieve their goals.