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Inspiring ICDL Student from Zimbabwe

Daniel Goncalves has had a busy few weeks in the spotlight in Africa. That’s what happens when you create your own version of Facebook in your spare time. He created Tymzchat, an alternative to Facebook, targeted at people in Africa. Daniel is a student at Lomagundi College in Chinhoyi, approximately 100km northwest of the capital Harare. ICDL Africa caught up with him recently to find out about how he got started and his plans for the future.

Influences

Daniel became interested in computers and technology from a very young age. His dad had worked in field for a long time and gave Daniel hands on experience in electronic engineering and programming.

ICDL at Lomagundi College

Daniel was introduced to the ICDL when he was in Form 2 in Lomagundi College. He became really interested in it, especially as he already had a genuine interest in ICT. He completed his ICDL at the end of Form 3 and is thinking of taking new examinations so as to continue to update the knowledge that he had learned originally. With the successful introduction of New ICDL in Zimbabwe in February, Daniel has the opportunity to create his ICDL Profile and continue his lifelong learning in ICT. Daniel believes that taking the ICDL has benefitted him in many ways and he would recommend it to other students.

Developing Tymzchat

The idea for Tymzchat developed when Daniel saw how social networks such as Facebook and Whatsapp had become such a central part of people lives. He wanted to create his own version that specifically could be used by people in Africa. Daniel went about developing the site but at first only saw it as a bit of fun, however he soon realised that it had the potential to be quite a significant platform. He did face some challenges along the way and that’s when he enlisted the help of others to make sure the site was a safe and secure as possible from hackers. The greatest reward he got from the whole project was that he felt he was doing something for Zimbabwe and Africa as a whole, creating a social network, unique to the region. At the moment he is developing an application for Tymzchat and is working to integrate online payments into the platform. He hopes that it can expand outside of Zimbabwe, although he realises he will need more help to achieve that goal.

Advice for others

Daniel’s advice for other aspiring ICT innovators and entrepreneurs such as himself is that, ‘no matter what people say, continue to strive and make your dreams a reality’. He actively encourages other people his age to learn about ICT and to continuously develop their skills. He notes that ICT is a continuously expanding area, with more and more technologies becoming integrated with ICT. In Daniel’s words, he thinks people should definitely take part in learning ICT because it offers ‘unlimited possibilities’. Given Daniel’s hard work and success, we’re taking his advice!

‘Lomagundi College is a very successful centre, they have many students taking ICDL examinations. Daniel’s development of Tymzchat shows others the opportunities that are available in the world of ICT. His success is an inspiration to other ICDL students.’

– Viola Dondo, General Manager of the Computer Society of Zimbabwe (National Operator for Zimbabwe)


‘ICDL Africa is delighted to learn of Daniel’s success with Tymzchat. His enthusiasm for the ICDL programme as well has his dedication and commitment to ICT is very encouraging. The Computer Society of Zimbabwe have worked very hard to promote ICDL and its programmes. We wish Daniel every success in developing Tymzchat and becoming a young African ICT entrepreneur in the years ahead.’

- Daniel Palmer, General Manager ICDL Africa