Africa Wonder Kid
For those who say, they aren’t successful because of their environment or lack of basic facilities, they need to learn from the inspiring story of 17-year-old Nji Collins Gbah a.k.a the African Wonder Kid from Cameroon.
This young African with no internet won the Global Google Coding Competition. Gbah, who had no access to the internet used good old fashion books and his love for technology to win first place in an annual Google code-in competition. This is proof that one of the world’s most intelligent people are in Africa. The other 1,299 young adults from around the world, probably with internet access, competing for the same award, did not stop Collins.
One might expect a master coder like Collins to live in a highbrow area, but surprisingly he resides in a small rural town far outside the capital of Cameroon – a place the government cut off internet connectivity.
Collins hometown was alleged to be involved in some discriminatory practices due to political unrest. As a penalty to protests spearheaded by locals, the government is said to have disconnected the internet in towns across the area, including Collins’.
Collins had completed the 20 tasks in the five categories set by Google when he became faced with the reality of no internet and no place to even study. His school had shut down due to the ongoing protests against English language speakers in the predominantly French-speaking nation and there was no wireless connection at home. After Collins found out that he was a Google competition finalist out of thirty-four others, he had to figure out where he could find access to the internet – something many of us take for granted every single day. He traveled almost eight hours to the capital, so he could stay on top of the game win the big prize.
His efforts worked.
“Hard work and writing a lot of code had really paid off” and “I was really, really amazed” by the experience, Collins told the BBC.
Google Coding was the name of the competition and it was open to students between 13-17 years old. Collins became the first competitor from an African nation to take home the first-place prize. The young winner received a four-day trip to Google’s headquarters in Silicon Valley as his prize. In the future, Collins hopes to finish high school and study Computer Science in college.
Collins win also helped bring light to what’s going on in his community, influencing the hashtag #BringBackOurInternet.