he young generation, commonly referred to as the future of the world, is arguably the best group from which to seek solutions to some of the world’s critical issues. This is the notion that the BRICS Future Skills Group, one of the nine working groups of the BRICS Business Council, has embraced and by which it is driven in its initiatives. The group seeks to engage the youth through its annual BRICS Future Skills Challenge.

This project sees hundreds of young university students and various industry specialists from Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa contest to pitch their proposed solutions to expert judges regarding today’s most pressing challenges – the lion’s den style. This year’s challenge was recently held over four days at the Expo Centre in Johannesburg. Among the strong competitors was Tshepang Radebe, a UNIZULU final-year student in the BSc Computer Science and Applied Mathematics programme.
Radebe stood out as one of the top three representatives of team South Africa, and the sixth best candidate in the overall challenge. He received a bronze medal and data science certificate.
Ahead of contesting in the challenge, first he had to compete against fellow
South Africans on a data science skills challenge. His excellent performance in this round earned him a spot in the top 10 who ubsequently represented the country in the international round.
“We then competed with students from various universities and rofessionals from the industry, during days one and two at the Expo Centre in Johannesburg. During this phase, Team SA competed among themselves in the top 10 and with representatives from other BRICS countries,” said Radebe.

Thereafter, the top six individuals from each country proceeded to the final stage of presenting their solutions to the judging panel. “During the awards ceremony, I found myself as the sole student representative remaining in Team SA. It’s worth mentioning that in South Africa, the top position went to a data scientist specialist, while the second position was secured by a data engineer. In South Africa, I achieved third position and among the BRICS nations, I secured the sixth position,” he said. This experience, he added, evoked in him a fighting spirit by which he was propelled to the finish line.

“It was a great experience competing against some of the greatest minds in the world and to succeed. I learnt valuable problem-solving and presentation skills during the hackathon. I had the opportunity to connect with people from different countries and witness diverse problem- solving approaches,” said Radebe

by Naledi Hlefane