A stereotype-busting software super-heroine.
Any successful enterprise requires a multitude of varied professionals, some on the ground, some with niche skills, others with creative flair and a few with business savvy.
In my investigation into the Abalimi and Hexagonal network of people I have met all of the above and at every turn I was met with an abundance of compassion and social-consciousness.
One of the first people I quizzed about her part in the organisation, is Hexagonal's Abalimi assistant project manager extrordinaire, Muchenja Namumba, who hails from a mining town called Kitwe in Zambia, and moved to South Africa to study at UCT.
Muchenja earned her Computer Science and Information Systems degrees from the University of Cape Town.
When I met Muchenja I was struck by her broadly smiling face and warm personality.
She has a soft, patient way of speaking, where her emphasis always seems to be on communicating, rather than just delivering information.
Her temperament is ideal for the job that she has been doing since March 2015.
Muchenja travels to the Abalimi Head Office in Phillipi where the experimental agriculture department, packing shed, financial and administrative centers are housed. Muchenja hosts training sessions for the employees (and in some cases the farmers, too). She instructs staff on using the Hexagonal system and also, when required, she helps with basic computer training.
These outings have helped her to gather data on which parts of the Hexagonal system needed customisation to suit Abalimi's needs. If something isn't easy or intuitive enough for the staff to grasp then Muchenja suggests changes to the Mark and the developers who respond in real time. In this way the system is responsive to the users who don't come to the table with a degree in Computer Science.*
And speaking of Computer Science, Muchenja is a powerhouse in her own right.
She works closely with founder, Mark Fox, to co-ordinate a diverse team of programmers (aka web developers), who are contracted to work on parts of the system that best suit their specialities. She has taken on challenges in the virtual world (she learned a new programming language for the job) and on the ground.
She mentions, with a grin, that the experiences of the past 6 months have taught her how adaptable she is.