Hi, I’m Tshidi and my Journey with RLabs Academy (RLabsU) has been a mind-broadening and exciting time. It’s such a great honour to have been awarded this opportunity. At first, like any other new venture, it was a little difficult to get around the bizarre idea of being in and having classes on WhatsApp, but after being part of it, in the beginning, I was like “this is interesting”, “oh this is fun” then “man this is the most exciting thing ever”. In such a short space of time, I have learned so much from the team. My greatest gratitude has to go to the Admin ladies, they’re such a selfless & patient team of ladies to work with, they never allowed me to feel inadequate as their encouraging nature and attitude made me feel they had my back all the way. 

I have committed to heading up a project with RLabs in partnership with DBSA and Safe Hub. It is called the Digital Lab Precinct, which brings various social partners together aiming to uplift and equip our young generation with various recreational and digital activities within the Jabulani, Soweto region so that they can live a better future. 

Community engagement within Jabulani has been a bit of a struggle and from observation, this stems from mainly the lack of there being no space or office they can visit to verify the validity of our existence as a Digital Lab Precinct and the legitimacy of certificates. A few pupils have even requested the hard copy of their certificate so in this regard we only have 3.1% of applications coming from the Jabulani community. However, if we look at where Jabulani is situated, in a township called Soweto whereby 55.6% of the applications came from meant that there was excitement for a lot of the WhatsApp Micro-courses that we offered, and 70% of which were female. Our applicants’ age range is from 18 years to 50 years old. We had a total of 54 graduates out of 160 applicants.

As with any other discoveries we’ve had mixed reactions from those who’ve taken part in our Micro-courses, where some weren’t at all convinced of the legitimacy and others took a leap of faith in this unfamiliar journey and are now certificate holders of some of our micro-courses. 

Some of the feedback from our students has been: 

“The course is really fun.”

“This Entrepreneurship Course will help me with my business. I got to see the mistakes that I’m making.”

Working with everyone and getting to see how interactive the evolution of digital communication is, I’m very excited to embark on the new outcomes of this journey with RLabsU!

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