By Laura Duncanson
Dithapelo Medupe, who mostly goes by Ditha, is the type of girl that blends into her surroundings; she’s a quiet introvert who enjoys running, watching TV, reading and writing about African culture. But she is more than what meets the eye; she is the inventor of an African binary code-based board game called “Temalo Code and Decode”.
Ditha grew up in the African country of Botswana and due to her academic excellence, was awarded a scholarship to do a post-secondary school year in America. During this opportunity, she was able to apply to universities in the United States and received a full scholarship to an Ivy League school Stanford University, to study premed. After Stanford, she went onto study medicine at St. George’s University which she has recently completed. When Good News Notebook Magazine asked about her biggest struggle adjusting between the schooling in Botswana and America, she said the learning is a lot faster paced in America. She found herself utilizing study groups and resources that teach you how to study.
The game first came to her during her years of undergrad at Stanford University, when she was studying premed and for a short time computer science. She was introduced to the binary code of computers which in a few years she saw a similar notion being used in African history. Becoming excited about her discovery, she began researching and compiling as much information as she could about publishing games. All of this led to the birth of “Temalo Code and Decode”, which is available for purchase online. Her discovery did not go unnoticed as she has had it featured in the US Journal of Mathematics and Culture.
She aspires to make her game well recognized and bring awareness to culture in a fun educational way. Since the game has been made, it has been successfully shipped from the US to UK and Africa. There has also been an interest spiked in the Ministry of Education in Botswana to evaluate the game for implementation in secondary schools throughout the country. This young woman is making strides in African innovation while juggling medical school. Outside of her game making, she is an active member of the African Student Association as well as a joint blogger for doctors and medical students from Botswana.
Her biggest influence is her mother who always encouraged her dreams and ideas from a very young age. She told a story about when she was 11 and had written a book, her mother took her to publishers to get the book known. Although it took a while, her book is being used in schools in Botswana as required reading for language classes. She credits all of her success to her mother who is a huge part of her life even until this day. The one person she would have liked to meet was Steve Jobs because of his inspirational can-do attitude and self-starter spirit. In 5 years, she would like to be practicing medicine in Africa and on the road to specialty training. In terms of “Temalo Code and Decode”, her desire is that the game would be played in households and schools throughout Africa and would be something that is passed on through generations. At this time, she is already working on another form of the game and has more ideas in the making.
Her advice for our readers is that you have to believe in your dreams, “make sure you are well knowledgeable and research all you can so that you’re well informed. Only then will you be equipped to convince others”.