Random Hacks of Kindness (RHOK) is a global Hackathon that takes challenges tech designers, innovators and do-gooders to BYOD socially-relevant solutions using technology. In South Africa, RHOK is hosted in collaboration between the UNISA School of Computing Geekulcha every year. The 2017 edition of RHOK Pretoria took place, 09 - 10 September at the UNISA Muckleneuk campus.

Up to 66 participants ranging from students to industry professionals gathered at UNISA over a weekend of code for social good. They came from all parts of the City of Tshwane while 7 participants came all the way from Mpumalanga.

The Hackathon challenges were once again centered on a variety of aspects that seeks to make our communities better. Lead organizer, Tiyani Nghonyama said, "one of the key challenges of the Hackathon was an Open Data challenge: How do we use open data to enhance access to education and accelerate academic excellence?". Different teams responded to the challenge differently.

With the given rise in social media robots technologies, it was not a surprise to see three of the 14 Hackathon solutions centered on Twitter Bots and data mining thereof.

An app by the EduSol team caught Tiyani's attention for use at the Geekulcha Vacation Work programme for high scholars. The offline-based AI app allows users to ask any question on science and it interactively responds to the questions.

Here are the 3 winning solutions at the Hackathon:

1st Place: The A-Team

An app which helps disabled students with communication and navigation in the campus.

If integrated with a university's blackboard and email system, with a few voice commands, the app could read out announcements, marks, timetable, and enable visually impaired people to participate in blackboard forums.

The student would only need a smartphone, and maybe earphones to ensure their privacy is not violated.

2nd Place: Demogargons

Created Easy-Find which is a web application which is a source of sources. Through social media mining, they providing organizations with easy means of understanding customers, trends, and market dynamics.

3rd Place: Megadose

Developed an online marketplace bringing more ease in payment for people. The app allows people to buy gift cards

The organizers also gave prizes to the Best Female Star at the Hackathon to TUT student, Lerato Tsotetsi and an Ultimate GeekStar honor to tech entrepreneur Phathutshedzo from The Plug startup. Winners received gadgets from UNISA while the 1st place team got R4 000.00 in cash.

Prof. Mnkandla, the Head of Software Engineering at UNISA, thanked the participants for coming through and participating in the social-relevant computing mission of UNISA.

Here are photos:

#RHoKPta 2017 - Hackathon Finale

RHOK Pretoria will take place again in 2018. Participants want more of Hackathons like RHOK for skills development and asked for more challenging challenges and a Capture the Flag feature. On the 7th of October, UNISA will be hosting a free community developer day training on mobile apps development at their Florida campus. All are invited and may RSVP on nxumals@unisa.ac.za.