For immediate release

2 June 2015

Mayor awards youth for their innovative thinking

EThekwini Mayor James Nxumalo, today awarded laptops to two outstanding students among 100 youth that participated in the City’s Hackathon Challenge, aimed at capacitating young people to think innovatively and develop solutions that will help the City prosper. 

The Hackathon Challenge is the first of its kind in South Africa. However, the Municipality consistently hosts numerous innovation programmes under the Innovate Durban brand which was launched in partnership with various institutions and companies to ensure radical transformation of Durban’s economy and job creation.

Nxumalo said he was deeply touched by the high level of determination portrayed by the youth who engaged in an exercise to find innovative solutions to solve some of the major challenges faced by the Municipality during the Innovation Hackathon Challenge.

The week-long event was organised by the Municipality in partnership with the International Business Machines Corporation (IBM) at the University of KwaZulu-Natal and ended on Friday,29/05/2015.

The youth were tasked to design an application using IBM technology based on the challenges faced by the City such as water loss and skills development.

Judges described Vuyo Shembe, who recently opened a trading company called Wealth World Holdings and Durban University of Technology Creative Arts student DK Maponya, as having worked tirelessly throughout the challenge to come up with solutions that would benefit the City.

Shembe and Maponya expressed gratitude to the City and IBM for affording them an opportunity to showcase their innovative talent through IBM’s latest technology. 

“The innovation challenge taught me to think out of the box and will assist me in developing the apps for my Trading business. I am certain that with innovative minds like ours the City has the capacity to be an even “Smarter City” and compete with other cities like New York,” said Shembe.

Nxumalo added that he saw it fitting to award the country’s future leaders for their creative thinking during June, which is youth month.

He said these laptops must serve as a motivation to encourage the youth to be more involved in technological activities which are meant at capacitating and improving their skills which can result in breaking the cycle of poverty, inequality and unemployment. 

IBM’s KwaZulu-Natal Client Executive Public Sector Rodney Premlall applauded the Mayors contribution and said: “This is a good start for a City which is gearing up to be an innovative capital because in order to be creative one needs relevant resources such as laptops to harness their skills.”

Winners of Hackathon Challenge will be announced during the Youth Innovation Conference set to take place in July and will receive great prizes sponsored by IBM that will allow them to apply the knowledge and strategies learnt during the competition.


Issued by the eThekwini Municipality’s Head of Communications, Tozi Mthethwa. 

For more information contact Gugu Mbonambi on 031 311 4855 or email:​ or Princess Nkabane on 031 311 4855 or