The six-part series travels across Africa to meet the entrepreneurs and innovators who are using technology to change their lives and the futures of those around them.
Produced from Cape Town, Innovate Africa has already taken Ndoni to France, Ghana, Kenya, and Rwanda. She’s met children learning to build robots in Ghana from age five, as well as children in Kenya learning to code from age six. She’s learnt about advances in space satellite technology; discovered 3d printers made from recycled waste; and watched students learn in solar-powered classrooms. She visited multi-million dollar projects like the World Agroforesty Centre in Nairobi, where they’re sequencing the genomes of traditional African food crops, as well as students working to support their communities on a very small scale, with almost no money at all.
“The internet is a really democratic medium,” says Ndoni, who presents the show with well-known radio personality Tapfuma Makina, who is also a Biotechnology graduate. “Because of the access the web gives you, whether you are a student or a multinational, anyone with an idea can have an impact. Africa Innovates isn’t just about the tech; it’s about innovative thinking that uses technology as a tool for problem-solving on a young continent that is on the move.”
Ndoni will be familiar to African viewers as the host of ENCA’s premier technology show, Tech Report, from 2011-2013. She also starred in the award-winning SABC 1 miniseries When We Were Black; films like Skeem and Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom; and alongside John Kani in the Sean Mathias play Antigone, among other roles.
Ndoni studied Theatre and Performance at the University of Cape Town, before receiving a Masters degree in Broadcast Journalism from Columbia University, which she attended as the recipient of a Fulbright Scholarship and the William and Ceil Africa Pulitzer Fellowship.
As a founding member of the poetry performance group, Rite 2 Speak, Ndoni has performed original music and poetry in London, Switzerland and Portugal. She’s also a columnist and editor-at-large for Essence of Africa, a new women’s magazine that launched in November 2014.
Innovate Africa premieres on Al Jazeera English on Tuesday, 18 November 2014 at 22h30GMT / 23h30CAT.