Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II has recognised Lindiwe Matlali, representing South Africa, as the 86th Commonwealth Point of Light in honour of her exceptional voluntary service providing technology education to young people.
Lindiwe is the founder and CEO of ‘Africa Teen Geeks’, a non-profit organisation that teaches school children and unemployed youth how to code. Inspired by her experience being orphaned at a young age, Lindiwe is inspiring Africa’s next generation of technology innovators by eliminating 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 includes TechWomen Fellow 2017 and Innov8tive Magazine’s ‘Top 50 Visionary Women in Tech To Watch.’
As part of the legacy of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in London 2018, Her Majesty The Queen - as Head of the Commonwealth - is thanking inspirational volunteers across the 53 Commonwealth nations for the difference they are making in their communities and beyond, by recognising one volunteer from each Commonwealth country each week in the two years following the summit.
By sharing these stories of service, the Commonwealth Points of Light awards celebrate inspirational acts of volunteering across the Commonwealth and help inspire others to make their own contribution to tackling some of the greatest social challenges of our time.
Each Commonwealth Point of Light will receive a personalised certificate signed by Her Majesty The Queen as Head of the Commonwealth. The award for Lindiwe was presented on 30 January 2019 at the British High Commissioner Residence by Nigel Casey MVO, UK High Commissioner in South Africa.
Lindiwe Matlali 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 pay 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.”
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.”
The Commonwealth is a diverse community of 53 nations that work together to promote prosperity, democracy and peace. The Heads of Government meeting brought together leaders from all the 53 Member countries to reaffirm common values, address shared global challenges and agree how to work to create a better future for all citizens, especially young people. Voluntary service is a vital part of this agenda, which is why Her Majesty The Queen has chosen to recognise outstanding volunteers across the Commonwealth in this special way.
Issued by The British High Commission