African Developers at the TADHACK Global 2016 Challenge


TADHACK global The Telecom Application Developer initiative was started in 2013 as a grassroots effort to build an ecosystem focused on telecom application development. TADHack is focused on developers, technology, and creativity. It is currently the largest telecoms-focused hackathon worldwide, attracting 2000 registrations in 2015.  The TADHACK (Telecom Application Developer Hackathon) Global Challenge for this year held from 14th – 16th October 2016 across over 30 cities around the world. It had 2600 registrations and well over 170 hacks. The Developers from around the world participated either locally or submitted their apps for the global prize.


Africa had 2 locations, one in South Africa sponsored by MTN South Africa and another in Zambia sponsored by MTN Zambia. An event ticketing platform (web/mobile application) that allows users to buy event tickets using mobile money, won one of the global prizes called the Canonical special prize of (a special prize allocation for interesting hacks built on Ubuntu).

At the TADHACK South Africa the prize winner was Mobi Moola, an app aimed at enabling cellphone users to pay for public transport using their airtime. Mobi Moola’s developers, Bertin Jacobs, Sydney Chadwick, Jonathan Pearl and Stefan Scriba, said the challenge they sought to overcome was public transport, where payment for taxis was a common problem for many South Africans. He said;

“When paying minibus taxi fares, people often find they don’t have cash on them, or they don’t have the exact change needed. We considered current payment platforms to make payment easier, but then we realised that more people had SIM cards than bank accounts in South Africa, so we decided to use existing mobile technology to allow them to use their mobile airtime to pay for taxi transport.”

The app uses USSD and could be installed on smartphones or feature phones to wirelessly transfer payment to taxi operators, using airtime from any mobile operator. The taxi driver generates a QR code which generates a USSD string, or a QR code is placed on the side of a taxi and scanned, launching the payment system.

Also 13-year-old Naledi Phafane won the GirlCode’s TADHack Girl Coder of the Weekend award. Naledi, a Grade seven pupil from Pretoria and the youngest participant at the event, is following in the footsteps of dad Pule Phafane, an IT businessman. Naledi secured recognition at TADHack for Pandora, a geolocation app to overcome the lack of formal residential addresses. The app uses cellphone tower signal triangulation to establish a person’s place of residence, and Pandora’s creators hope it will be harnessed to serve as proof of residence for the multitudes of South Africans who do not have a formal street address. Naledi and her dad also recently won the City of Ekhurhuleni hackathon for their Open Robot solution.

Full List of TADHACK South Africa winners

  • TADHack Winner – Mobi Moolla. By Bertin & Team. Leveraging of MTN M2U transfers to assist with payment by airtime.
  • MTN Prize – Seven Eleven. By Sibusiso mvubelo & Sechaba Moeng. Data Usage tracker.
  • Girlcode winner- Pandora. By Naledi Phafane & Pule Phafane. Looking at the problem of residential addresses in overpopulated and rural areas where it is difficult to locate a home and deliver a package. The solution will track location / address changes and eliminate the need for proof of address.
  • Runner Up – Zitha. By Nndavheleseni Tshivhase. Accounting app for small businesses which can also be used as a marketing tool.
  • Runner Up – Geasy. By Robert Sandell. Energy monitoring solution using MQTT and Mobile IOT using Ubuntu.
  • Runner Up – Slackers (Rafiki). Team: Umar Dockrat, Thato Sebesho, Shoaib Ebrahim Khan, Nevin Moodley, Werner Geldenhuys. Relief on the load of customer care, using AI to answer a host of questions.
  • Most commendable Hack – We think code 2. By Arno & Team. The creation of a robotic orientated society utilising bitcoin currency.

TADHACK global

Full List of Zambia Prize Winners

  • TADHack Prize Winner- App Close By Andrew Mwanza. A generic cross platform (web/mobile – android, ios & windows application) that gives you general & vital information of universities/tertiary institutions using a simple click – touch & browse function.
  • Runner-up, (MTN Zambia prize Hoverboard)- Agrisafe. By Chilumba Machona (Team Lead), Bob Ndatoya, Garry Muhone, Malambo Given. A crowd source data platform that allows farmers make better farming choices by providing them with information suited to them.
  • Runner-up, (MTN Zambia prize JBL Bluetooth speaker)- Cognifly by Kampamba Chanda. A search engine that delivers Zambian content.
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Frederick Damasus is a tech enthusiast and blogger who has a passion for creativity and innovation. He is a self-taught graphic designer and currently delving into web design and development. He loves photography and volunteers his spare time to inspire children in orphanages through dance. He is a trained Petroleum Engineer but found himself in the AID/Development sector. He currently serves as the M&E/ICT Manager at the Center for Creative Development Strategies, an NGO based in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Nigeria.

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