Vast opportunities in digital economy

NOVEMBER 30, 2014

South Africa needs to build an information society if it is to tap into the digital economy, says Communications Deputy Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams.

“If South Africa is to be … a global player, it needs to make it a point that it builds an information society. In order to build that information society, we need to tap into the digital economy that is out there,” said the Deputy Minister.

She was addressing the Doodle 4 Google competition award ceremony at Arts on Main in Johannesburg on Saturday.

Internet search engine giant Google this year invited South African pupils from 6 to 17 years to design their own “doodle” by taking part in the Doodle 4 Google competition.

The doodles,which are Google’s homepage logo designs, are used to celebrate different people, events or special dates. They are usually created by Google’s doodlers, who are also Google web designers.

The Deputy Minister said that the initiative has drawn much interest, especially among young people.

Speaking to SAnews on the importance of the awards, the Deputy Minister said: “The significance is we get a platform to share with the young people of our country the creative work that they can show to us and also to encourage them.”

The innovation and creativity that the youth bring is important in that it also helps government shape policy “in a way that our children would respond to”, said the Deputy Minister.

Moreover, the youth get exposed to new ideas and technology, which Deputy Minister Ndabeni-Abrahams said they must use “for their own good and the development of the country”.

She encouraged youngsters to use the opportunities presented to them and to become the best “Mandelas” they can be. She said the youth must play a bigger role in creating a brighter future for themselves.

“… The only way to do that is to tell us more about the South Africa you want to see and to celebrate 20 years of freedom. What do you think as a young person must be done in this country? What do you think it is that we need to undo as the future leaders of the country?” she remarked.

As Google celebrates South Africa’s 20 years of freedom, the theme of the competition was “South Africa of my dreams”.

Submissions for the competition closed on 22 October, while public voting commenced on 12 November. Public voting closed on 22 November.

Selecting the best

The judging process included the selection of the best 25 doodles from each of the four age groups, namely the 6 - 8, 9 – 11, 12 – 14 and 15 -17 years old.

One winner was selected across the various age groups, with the overall winner of the competition picked from the four winners.

Katya Ludick from the 12 - 14 age group won the overall competition with her doodle design.

“I’m very excited. I had no idea that I was going to get this far,” said the 13-year-old who turns 14 next month.

Her art teacher selected her doodle after affording the whole school the opportunity to draw their doodles.

“Mine was picked as the one that would enter the competition,” she said of her nature inspired doodle.

Ludick’s doodle will be displayed for 24 hours on the Google South Africa homepage where it will be seen by millions of people. The winning doodle will go live on the Google South Africa homepage on Wednesday, 3 December.

She received a R100 000 technology grant for her school, an Android tablet and a Google Play voucher worth R500. She also walked away with a framed copy of her doodle, a t-shirt printed with her doodle on it and a Google goodie bag.

The other three winners each received a tablet, a framed copy of their doodle and a t-shirt printed with their respective doodles as well as a Google goodie bag.

Prolific singer Yvonne Chaka Chaka was among the guest judges at the award ceremony. - 


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