Womxn in Tech Hackathon 2020

Got 99 problems, so let’s solve one

We at WICS are proud to have presented our first ever virtual intervarsity hackathon open exclusively to women sponsored by Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Allan Gray which took place from 2-3 October 2020.

It was a challenging task to switch from the tradition hackathon setup of face-to-face human interactions to the virtual and digital experience, but through the use of Microsoft Teams, Slack and Github – we were able successfully host our hackathon with 53 participants!

Universities that took part:

It was also very exciting to have 3 other universities joining our hackathon this year.

Participating universities:

  • University of Cape Town
  • University of Western Cape
  • Stellenbosch University
  • University of Kwa-Zulu Natal

Problem Statement

Develop a solution that uses technology to tackle an issue that society is facing as a result of the covid-19 epidemic.

The theme for this years Hackathon was “Got 99 problems, so let’s solve one” because of everything that was happening in the world due to the covid-19 pandemic. This led to the problem statement, but was not limited to the problems currently being faced; participants were encourage consider the post-covid effects as well and how we can solve problems that would arise in future as an after effect.

Guest Speaker (Laura Cohen)

Our invited guest speaker for the Hackathon opening ceremony was our very own WICS exec alumni Laura Cohen. She studied at UCT from 2016, and has since completed her Honours in Computer Science in 2019. She is currently working at the AWS US division and has had her fair share of experience of participating in hackathons!

Her advice to participants was to “enjoy the experience and make connections “. While we go to university to learn about the technical skills – we rarely get the opportunity to apply those things we learn into real projects or learn about other technologies outside the scope of the syllabus because of time constraints and academic pressure. Hackathons are the perfect environment to dive deep and experiment with different technologies as well as learn new skills. It’s also important to not forget to interact with others, reach out and keep in touch with other people taking part and who knows, maybe one day that person will work at big organization – which may widen your career opportunities.

“Today is about building, googling & debugging… and then once it’s over you’re gonna go sleep and a few months along the line, you’re going to stumble into a job where you can apply those skills you learnt”

~ Laura Cohen

Hackathon Winners

Lynn Weyn and Chelsea van Coller (University of Cape Town)

1st Place: Team ChelLynn

The team tackled pandemic effects on the education sector with the current remote learning status and lack of exercise. Their solution focused on building an android app that provided a sense of community to students at home by adding gamification to exercise. “Students in a class/grade can join the same team, and together try to reach a step goal (e.g. 10 students try to reach a total of 100 000 steps)”.

Neo Botha, Gabrielle Liebenberg, and Taskeen Ebrahim (Stellenbosch University)

2nd Place: Team 404 Name Not Found

The team proposed a solution that directly assists in tackling the physical health impact of the virus using an app called Pulmo App. “The app aims to improve quality of life of patients by constant monitoring of their condition, while providing data to medical personnel for further research”. Additionally, they built an open source heart rate monitor and oxygen saturation meter to work in conjunction with the app.

3rd Place: Team Codette

The teams devised a solution to “bridge the communication gap between students and the university management by creating an application (called Growing Space) where students can air out grievances and ask questions they may have to allow management to be aware of all these aspects and take the corrective action”.

Congratulations to all of the participants who won our mini-competition spot prizes as well. Sur-Prizes: Sanelisiwe Mgudlwa, Neo Botha. Social Media Competition: Sagel Kundieko, Talia Ndlovu, Chelsea van Coller


Our judging panel comprised of the following 3 women with their own unique perspectives within the tech industry:

  • Nanamhla Mayekiso: Technical Lead at Allan Gray
  • Monique Williams: IT Recruitment Manager at Allan Gray
  • Zainab Adjiet: Our very own Chairperson pursuing Computer Science Honours at UCT

“Congrats to everybody. I know everyone had technical difficulties and they all carried on and pushed through!” .. “It was an amazing long number of hours and everyone shone – it was awesome.”

Monique Williams


  • 1st place prize – Takealot Voucher worth R1000 and an Amazon Echo Dot 3rd Generation SmartSpeaker per member
  • 2nd place prize – Takealot Voucher worth R750 per member
  • 3rd place prize – Takealot Voucher worth R500 per member


Hackathon Sponsors: AWS (1st place prizes, mentors, UberEats Vouchers and data bundles for participants) and Allan Gray (2nd & 3rd place prizes, mentors and UberEats Vouchers)

Final Thanks

We’d like to thank all of our participants for engaging so well with the problem statement coming up with some very stellar ideas! You all should be very proud of what you were able to accomplish within 24 hours and we hope you enjoyed the food vouchers. Thanks to all of the mentors who guided and supported the teams throughout the process. Our 2020 & 2021 committees also worked so tirelessly behind the scene to ensure that the hackathon went smoothly and deserve praise for their efforts. Last, but certainly not least, we would like to thank our sponsor who’s contributions have made our event possible as well as their continue support throughout the year.

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