Thursday, October 28, 2021

Teaching the world Setswana technologically

Known for his technological ability and developing apps, Itumeleng Garebatshabe’s ‘Learn Setswana app’ is currently being used to facilitate a cultural exchange between a group of German volunteers and the residents of the North West Province in South Africa. 

It was created for the purposes of cultural preservation, and is now teaching people Setswana across the world. 

“We are getting great reviews about the App from various parts of the world,” he says.

Named the Madikwe Rural Development Programme, Garebatshabe says it was was established to empower community members through initiatives including life skills training adult literacy: “Weltw├ñrts is a programme that sends out young Germans as volunteers through the German South African Youth Association (GSAYA). The volunteers are intended to appreciate how they can make a difference and to learn local languages to help foster ties with the communities they are posted at.” 

Last year, Itumeleng and his co-developer Keneilwe Mohutsiwa travelled to South Africa for an interview on North West FM where they talked preservation of Setswana using mobile apps, which further ignited interest. 

“We had hopes of seeing exactly what this App is achieving ÔÇô a Botswana produced App being used by first world countries to bring our cultures closer. The volunteers undergo a nine-day induction process in Germany before they come to Madikwe,” expressed the developer.

The volunteers, whose keenness has been mostly rewarding according to Garebatshabe, have bridged the communication gap and better understand the residents they interact with on a daily basis. 

 “Volunteers also get an opportunity to gain a better understanding of the developing world for their future endeavours. We wanted to see how we could enhance the App to better facilitate programmes such as these. We hope to see the same in our country that could lead to other collaborations,” he says.

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