A block of code: wethinkcode_blog #1

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WeThinkCode_blog is a new and ongoing series of articles written by students at the revolutionary WeThinkCode_ school in Joburg, in which they share their experiences of being up-and-coming technologists in Africa’s most connected city. To kick things off, Tumelo Motaung reveals how one post-it note can open the door to crunching code and making friends.

Depending on how old you are, you may find 84 Market Street easier than you would 84 Albertina Sisulu Street.

If the Johannesburg Metro Police CCTV coverage extended to our part of town, you could pull three months worth of tape with over 300 gloomy-­eyed students walking in and out of the 112 year old National Bank Building.

A hustle of yellow sticky notes adorn the doorway to the cluster area, where all the work happens.

“I am here because I know nothing about coding, also for the people – I have a deep yearning to connect with people.”

That one is hers. That’s what she wrote on her post-it on her very first day on campus. Three months, hundreds of hugs, fist pumps and high-fives down the line, she calls the campus home.

After a month of going in at six-thirty in the morning and leaving at around 7pm in the evening, after working on code that made little or no sense, you grow into your peers, and they grow into you.

You get to a point where only they understand what you mean when you refer to every mishap as a norm error. She changed her status to “Coder in Training” when she was accepted into the programme.

She went around telling everyone who would listen that she would change the face of Africa from her Mac.

“I have never gotten so many zero’s in my life.”

That was the general feeling, and yet she stayed, she hung on, even when she wasn’t passing any of the exams, let alone making good grades.

The pace is a little more relaxed now, we have more time for chats and video games. The level of work, on the other hand, has shot through the roof. We scream, we scratch heads, we go blank, we go broke, we go hungry, but the learning is inevitable. (function repeat() { eat(); sleep (); code(); repeat(); })();

It is 13:42 on a Tuesday afternoon. She should have eaten at least one meal, but her PrintF is at a standstill, her brain has hit a block, again. She wants to do this one her own, “figure it out”, but there is no room for heroes at We Think Code.

She’ll need to get up and ask for some help. This is what it’s about.



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