Coding Role Model: Avuzwa Ntshongwana

April 11, 2023
  1. Name Surname: Avuzwa Ntshongwana
  2. Age: 28
  3. Role or Job Title: Game Developer
  4. Company: Akike Game Studio/ Co-founder southgame studio
  5. Hometown: Ngcele, Eastern Cape
  6. How did you get into coding?I had just shut down my coffee shop just as covid hit us, and I was trying to find way to be employed again but I needed to upscale myself & that meant learning a new skill. So, I googled the top 10 skills that will be needed in the next 10 years in the world, technology came up 5th and then I started my journey of teaching myself how to code and develop android applications. Google Africa was doing online courses for android development, and this is where I polished some of my coding and met a community of coders that would be help when I am stuck or could not understand a line of code.
  7. What does your work entail? To implement game functionality translating design ideas, concepts, and requirements into a   functional and engaging game, I also play with a lot of character animation as code and animation go together. But because my company is starting out my work entails a lot of things apart from coding, I also do story telling and game concept.
  8. What do you enjoy about your work? I absolutely love creating new worlds and seeing them come to life, I don’t think I can get tired of that feeling. I love seeing a team get excited about creating a world together and coming up with the concept and the historical research we do, and this teaches me so much about my culture too.
  9. What challenges, if any, did you face or currently face in your chosen field of work or study? Well, the gaming industry is still booming in the African continent & the biggest challenge is sustaining my company and making sure I can pay myself through the games I create so tapping into the market and really have people buy your games and interact with your product is still a big challenge. The second biggest challenge I still grapple with till now is the insecurities of thinking I am not good enough because I didn’t get a degree to be in the space that I am in, sometimes it cripples me and I always have to speak word of affirmation upon myself, working in an industry that is male dominated still is challenge because of the many little hurdles one has to overcome just be being the only girl in the game studio full of men. Men are always competitive & I think that’s their nature and sometimes as a woman you just want to do your job and go home without all the competition, you know.
  10. What is your greatest achievement? My greatest achievement is never, ever, ever giving up on myself, I fought so hard to be here today, me writing this is even a privilege I never thought that someone would look at my profile and be interested in my journey. I never thought I was smart enough but even through those thoughts I fought for myself because I love school, and I love learning new things.
  11. What advice would you give to a child who wants to take up a career in coding? People use the Nike phrase a lot, but I think it summarizes a lot “Just do it” there will always be people who think you not good enough, or not smart enough or make you feel like you don’t belong. But you belong anywhere you dream to be, anywhere you want to be, that’s where you belong. Coding is fun, it’s like learning a new language. To any child that reads this who has doubts about getting into coding, DON’T HAVE DOUBTS. YOU ARE SMART ENOUGH, AND YOU CAN DO IT.
  12. What message do you have for your young self? If you were given an opportunity to talk to your younger self what advice or message would you give? I would affirm my younger self; I would give my younger self countless hugs & kisses. I would tell young Avuzwa that; you are loved, you are smart, it’s okay to make mistakes, you are beautiful, you are deserving all the things your heart wants, it’s okay to fail, I would tell young Avuzwa that you have a beautiful heart and inquisitive mind & those two things are your greatest gifts and never ever let anyone dime your light. That’s what I would tell younger Avuzwa.