About the hackathon

Digital services have undoubtedly shaped and improved the way we live our lives, constantly ushering us into a new age of discovery, creativity and problem solving. Access to these digital services has always been difficult for many people, not only because of a lack in infrastructure but also because of the language being used. At present, in South Africa, there is a strong bias towards English in digital ecosystems. We live in a digital age and not having digital services in our African languages is unacceptable.

This Youth Day we (Botlhale AI and Dado) will be hosting 16 teams of developers from across the country for 76 hours in commemoration of the youth that took to the streets of Soweto on the 16th of June 1976 to fight against language restrictions in education. Teams will be challenged to come up with innovative multilingual digital solutions that can help solve some problems faced by South Africans. The solutions will be built on Botlhale AI’s Natural Language Processing Toolkit, so that the teams can leverage the power of AI in local languages.

R 0
In Cash Prizes
R 0
In non-cash prizes


The opening event and briefing of will be at 10am on June 16th. The "hacking" will be from 11am on June 17th until 3pm on Sunday the 20th. The final presentations will also be on Sunday from 16:30 until 19:05.


The hackathon will be virtual (Slack and Zoom) but if you're in Cape Town your team can come work at our offices in Woodstock. We'd love to have you around, all Covid 19 protocols will be observed.


Teams should consist of 2 to 4 people (If you don't have a team, we'll help you find one). Only 2 people in the team have to be developers since the NLP Toolkit requires little to no code. You can sign up if you're a student, working or unemployed as most the "hacking" will be done over the weekend.

What you need

Since the hackathon will be virtual, you will need access to a computer and a reliable internet connection. Apart from that all you need is a team and you're good to go!