(still) Teaching a Continent to Code

September 12, 2019

Africa Code Week is upon us again. It always feels like I’m in a pendulum between this being the most exciting and the most stressful part of my year.

I think it's in my blood...in my genes...or wherever these things sit that gets passed down to generations. My mom was a teacher, one of the best that you will ever find. Some of my aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends, are teachers and principals. I grew up seeing my mom go above & beyond the call of duty as a teacher. She taught Standard 5 (Grade 7 in today's language) at a school in Manenberg. Often she would arrange hikes for her class, or take them to Kirstenbosch, Cape Town Gardens, or Table Mountain Cableway on the weekends. If she didn’t do this for them, most of those kids would never have the opportunity to go to these places. Many of them would otherwise slip into the shackles of crime and gangs, unaware of the opportunities and beauty that lies in their city. Even up to today, decades later, when we bump into people that she taught they have nothing but praise for her. And she still has the albums with all the pictures, and written explanations of the date and where the pictures were taken. 

Pics from the outing albums (before digital cameras)

Bear in mind that at the time, not only was Manenberg a gangland, but the country was also a warzone. This was a time that both my parents, as well as the extended family whose care I was in while my parents worked, were actively fighting Apartheid. I still remember as a nursery school kid we would walk to the main road in the afternoon to throw stones at the casspirs, and as a nursery school kid I knew what to do when the teargas hits. I turned 5 years old on the day my aunt’s husband was killed by the police in the 1985 riots, and I still remember the events of that night so clearly…how as a young newly-married woman with a baby under 1 year old her life changed in an instant. But, I digress…this post is not about that. 

Can you spot my sister and me in here? I was 6yrs old and she was 3. (4yrs before my brother was born)

Being involved with Africa Code Week since 2016, I have since been exposed to every level of the education system. I’ve been in schools and seen what teachers and principals deal with on a daily basis, I have trained teachers in coding at education conferences, I have stood in front of classes full of children and taught them myself (at primary and high school levels), I have sat in meetings with and presented to Directors of Education at the Provincial Education Department, and I have shared the stage with ministers at glitzy celebration events. Of course there are not many pictures of when we are down in the trenches, but that is where the real work happens and it far outweighs the glam of it all. 

I could never be a school teacher. They are a special breed of human that us mere mortals can only but strive to attain to. But I have realised that I am happy and comfortable in front of a class. I love doing it, but I could never do it every day. Being immersed in the system on so many levels just made me realise even more how we should kiss the ground our teachers walk on. They do not get enough credit for everything they endure. 

This year my team and I will be taking coding skills into schools exclusively. So we are training up volunteers who will be placed in schools to teach coding during October. We have a massive target and it’s a daunting task. Every single day is a challenge. We could make our life easier by targeting a different class of school, but we've have decided not to. Impact is the aim so we want to reach kids who would not have had this opportunity otherwise, and that demographic is much harder to reach and much harder to get buy-in from schools. I wrote my first lines of code at tertiary level while studying engineering. The current generation does not have time to wait that long. 

NB! If you work at a school in Cape Town and want us come in to do this, let us know ASAP. 

Gratitude goes out to each and every one that is a part of this…the team members, their families, our volunteers, our organisational partners, our allies, our funders, our sponsors, our supporters, and the schools allowing us in and entrusting their learners to us. It’s not a responsibility we take lightly. 

On Saturday past we had our first workshop to train trainers. Because nobody in the team was trained yet, I needed an assistant to assist in the (packed) class, and asked my sister on Friday afternoon if she could help...which was pretty much the 11th hour. She came through for us and did a fantastic job in assisting while I instructed. It really takes a village…an African village…an empowered African village, to empower a child and change their life in the digital age. 

I will end this post the way I started it… to thank my parents, and our teachers. They raised us in a way that we know no other life but this. Soon after my sister was born my mom gave up her career to look after us full-time. I’m grateful for that, but I am also grateful for the experiences she gave me when I was a tiny little girl, showing me that it wasn’t just about a job, but about truly making a difference in the lives of others. 


Rogeema Kenny...YOU ARE AN IRONMAN!

June 7, 2019
It's been a little while since I've crossed the finish line of the Ironman African Championship. The experience to get to that point, changed my life as much as it changed my title. Crossing under that arch at the end of the red carpet is a rite of passage, an experience that confers upon those who have traveled that road...the title of IRONMAN. A 3.8km swim, a 180km cycle, and a 42.2km run. And it all has to be completed within the space of 16 hours and 45 minutes.   

This post is abo...

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Ironman 70.3 Race Report

September 8, 2018

It has become somewhat of the norm that my posts are super late, but I could not let another triathlon season start without getting my race report of the 2018 Ironman 70.3 Buffalo City out. The race was a life-changing moment for me, and my hope is that my experience can inspire others to go for their dreams and goals no matter what, because the Ironman slogan has been proven to be true over and over again… ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE. 

After all the formalities of registration and racking was do...

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My biggest Ironfan

September 7, 2018

She deserves a special post. To the best sister ever, the most awesome #IronFan that I could’ve asked for, THANK YOU for everything you did ❤️

She was initially going to fly up with me on Friday, but then after race dates came out she realized Redhill Marathon was the Saturday. She then booked another ticket to fly up to EL on Saturday immediately after running Redhill 42km, but then collapsed in the last km of the marathon and ended up in the medical tent. Being sick and not in a condit...

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Modern Athlete magazine feature - March 2018

May 19, 2018
While I haven't written a post-race report of my Ironman 70.3 race day experience yet (and I haven't forgotten about it), I was featured in the Modern Athlete March 2018 issue. Modern Athlete is the biggest running and multi-sport publication in the country, so I am truly humbled to have had the opportunity to share my story in the magazine. 

You can read the article online HERE, or download the pdf version of the article by clicking on the image below. 

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Happy Birthday Mozilla - A tribute

March 30, 2018

31 March 2018 marks the day... Happy 20th birthday Mozilla.

The reason I love Mozilla is not only because:
  • Their San Francisco offices made me (and others) feel more at home than anywhere else in Silicon Valley 
  • The programs we had at their offices were always fantastic and impactful 
  • There was always a supply of amazing free snacks from their snack counter (basically a tuck shop where you don’t pay, so can’t be called a shop really) 
  • The views of the Oakland bridge across the bay from the ba...

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Why Mentoring = MAGIC

March 19, 2018

Yesterday morning, a young gentleman took me for breakfast. And while I was blessed to have a great weekend with many amazing moments, this was undoubtedly the highlight.

No, it wasn’t a date. (apologies if you were expecting juicy details. LOL)

The young gentleman is a student that I’ve been mentoring for around 2 years now. He had found me on LinkedIn, and I didn't accept his invitation immediately, because it was a total stranger. But after thinking about it (those annoying LinkedIn remi...

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It's time to tame the Buffalo

January 27, 2018

So race weekend is finally here! After all those years of dreaming and months of training, I am now looking out onto the beach that we will swim at, and the road we will ride and run in.

It has been an incredible journey.

Done with registration and expo, and as I retreat to the silence of my own company...relaxing on the bed and looking through my window at the esplanade, I glance over at the backpack on the dressing table counter that says “IRONMAN”. Contemplating the magnitude of what it...

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Two weeks until we tame the Buffalo

January 12, 2018

So it's the start of 2018 and it's been 3.5 years since I did my first triathlon. It’s also 2 weeks away from my biggest sporting challenge yet. On 28 January 2018, I will line up at Orient Beach in East London for the start of the Ironman 70.3 triathlon, otherwise also known as the Half Ironman. It involves a 1.9km swim, a 90km cycle, and a 21km run

I’ve always said that endurance sport changes one. The person that starts their first marathon is not the same person that finishes it for ...

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Cut Yourself Some Slack

August 23, 2017

Last week was a tough week for me. In fact, it was probably the hardest week since I’ve started working this job 7 months ago. In between client meetings, stakeholder engagements, prep work, travelling, making system changes emanating from the day’s decisions in the evening to be ready for the next morning, I was working 15-18hr days almost daily. By Thursday, I had already accumulated hours equating to a week and a half of work, and the week wasn’t even over yet. I don’t drink coffee...

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About Me

Rogeema Kenny My blog aims to inspire. Be the best YOU that you can possibly be.


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