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In a crowded classroom at a school in a poor community in Durban, a group of children are swarming around a computer, creating a game using a coding language translated into isiZulu. Over the past year, a non-profit organisation, CodeMakers, has conducted computer classes for about 500 Durban children, teaching 400 the rudiments of computer coding. The idea is not to turn out experts in software development, but to teach them how to think, learn and solve problems. "Learning coding is about problem solving, honing logic, confidence-boosting and using a computer to create — all things that these kids don’t get enough of," says CodeMakers founder Justin Yarrow. If some of the children do become coders, that’s a bonus. US-born, Yarrow trained as a scientist and came to SA 10 years ago to work at clinics helping them bring more HIV-positive patients into the system. He met many poor families with children attending schools that failed to teach them the skills needed to achieve a better ...

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