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Will Kayamandi become SA’s first smart township?
While Stellenbosch in the Western Cape is world-renowned, the nearby Kayamandi is now set on becoming South Africa’s first smart township. This is described as a community empowered by innovation where a combination of high- and low-tech solutions play a pivotal role in redressing digital inequality.
To aid Kayamandi’s journey towards becoming a smart township, Stellenbosch Network has partnered with Lunttu, Ranyaka, Stellenbosch University, the Regional Innovation Support Programme and Stellenbosch Municipality.
They have now launched the #IdeasForChange challenge – an ideation competition to uncover and incubate the development of innovative ideas, business models, process flows, and technology with the potential to improve the quality of life of residents of Kayamandi.
Stellenbosch Network hopes that this would enable greater social and economic inclusion and foster urban resilience for future generations.
“The power of technology to accelerate inclusive socio-economic development is well known, but its potential has yet to be realised in South Africa’s most under-served communities,” says Hanli Brink, operations manager of Stellenbosch Network.
“As an organisation working to foster increased knowledge generation, resource sharing and innovation in the Stellenbosch region – and recognising the call to support the people of Kayamandi – we believe that now is the time to focus our efforts beyond the centre of town; to partner with committed members of the local community, and together, help transform Kayamandi into its own modern hub of economic growth and activity.”
Recent years have seen Stellenbosch emerge as one of the fastest-growing regions in South Africa. Spurred on by a thriving innovation ecosystem and growth in value-adding sectors, the town has witnessed sustained economic growth, declines in unemployment, and rise in human development and service delivery.
By 2020, the town’s reputation was cemented when it – together with Franschhoek and Paarl – was recognised as the third most valuable district in the country.
But while Stellenbosch has emerged as the prosperous jewel of the Cape Winelands, its nearby suburb of Kayamandi is all too often left out of the picture. As such, while residents may find themselves near to the heart of one of South Africa’s top technology and scientific communities – unequal access to public services and opportunities means that one of Stellenbosch’s most under-served communities is yet to reach its full potential.
Explaining the concept of a smart township, Wesley Diphoko, the founder of Lunttu, says the idea is to use technology to transform traditional townships into inclusive micro-economies. This is where accessible, purposeful, and relevant innovation plays a key role in helping citizens become active players in the economy, society, and public sphere.
Smart townships use data and digital technology to improve decision making and better the quality of life for citizens and businesses. This relates to a range of fields, from innovative solutions in healthcare, housing, safety, and security, to education, public services, and civic engagement.
Running until Sunday, 20 November 2022, the #IdeasForChange challenge is open to all people and businesses living, working, or studying in Stellenbosch, and the surrounding areas. All entrants receive free entry into an online value proposition masterclass to help them develop their idea and further their business proposition.
Applicants will then be able to enter one of two categories – the first for brand new ideas, while the second seeks to support established businesses – with both category finalists to be selected by a combination of public vote and input from the judging panel of experts. The winner will receive a R20 000 cash prize with second and third place receiving R6 000 and R4 000, respectively.
Click here to enter or learn more about the challenge.