19 Mar 2020, 08:29

UmojaHack Africa live blog

Welcome to the live blog for UmojaHack Africa 2020, Africa's first and biggest virtual inter-university machine learning hackathon. Follow us here for live updates and more.

17:15 GMT - That's a wrap for UmojaHack Africa 2020. Keep an eye out in the coming days for some writeups, videos and pictures from the day. A huge thank you from Zindi HQ to everyone who made this possible - our sponsors, our partners, the Zindi team, and of course you, the participants! Good night!

17:00 GMT - we're thrilled to announce the winners of UmojaHack Africa 2020!

SAEON: rinnqd, HMF_Tunisia, Team_DeepDivers_Unilag

Xente: Statistically Significant, xand6r, m453h

Hotspots: GFrost, Lawrence_Moruye, Brainiac

16:30 GMT - Competitions are now closed. We will reveal the private leaderboard and winners in 15 minutes.

16:06 GMT - You have just less than 90 minutes to get those submissions in! Go go go!

14:02 GMT - Make sure to tune in to the live-stream at 14:30 GMT (in half an hour) to meet our sponsor Alliance4ai. https://twitter.com/ZindiAfrica/status/1241360884464857088

13:30 GMT - 3 hours to go until the competiton closes! No retreat, no surrender! https://twitter.com/BLufyagila/status/1241344274886610944

13:12 GMT - Read about #UmojaHackAfrica on ITNews Africa https://www.itnewsafrica.com/2020/03/zindi-africa-will-host-first-ever-virtual-inter-university-ai-hackathon/

12:00 GMT - Have a break and meet Xente and SAOEN now

11:59 GMT - We will be hearing from Xente and SAOEN over lunch. We will also be giving away spot prizes. Remember to check in on YouTube - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U5V7vWrvhVw

9:15 GMT - First competitors are on the leaderboards!

9:00 GMT - The challenges are now live!

8:30 GMT - Here is the technical orientation - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ytSzkRZZ7o (this is currently live on our YouTube - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U5V7vWrvhVw) Johno is online for questions.

Easy way to use zindi data on google colab(any instance) without downloading

We are live. Listen to Zindi CEO, Celina Lee, introduce the hackathon - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U5V7vWrvhVw.

Important info:

Challenges are now open at https://zindi.africa/hackathons

YouTube live-stream: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U5V7vWrvhVw

Contact your university rep to get the secret code and enroll in the challenges.

Timeline: (Remember to convert into your local time)

  • 08:00 – 08:30 GMT Welcome and orientation (live video conference across all university locations using Zoom and YouTube)
  • 08:30 – 09:00 GMT Technical orientation to the platform and the challenges (live video conference across all university locations using Zoom and YouTube)
  • 09:00 GMT Competition opens (note that users can sign up for a competition and join teams before the time)
  • 12:00 - 13:00 GMT: Spot prizes and meet SAEON and Xente
  • 09:00 – 16:29 GMT Students form teams and work on the challenge, questions and issues during this time can be addressed by local Zindi reps or via WhatsApp group
  • 16:29 GMT Submissions close
  • 16:45 – 17:15 GMT Announcement of international winners and prizes (video conference across all university locations via Zoom and YouTube)
  • 17:15 - 17:30 GMT Announcement of local winners and prizes


In order to make access to the data easier for all participants, we are providing various download links before the start of the competition. We recommend that all students download the data before the competition starts. The data is password protected, and we will share the password to all universities as well as on the livestream when the competition opens.

Folder codes will be shared on the day at 09:00 GMT on the WhatsApp groups

How to use Zindi

Please see this video for a simple introduction to how to use Zindi.

Note that on the day, participants and teams can take part in only one challenge. Participants will self-select into their preferred challenges on the day of the event.

All participants should register before the day, and make sure that they have listed their university as their organization to show on the leaderboard. To do this users should complete their profile info at https://zindi.africa/me and make sure to select the workplace or organization to show next to their username (see screenshot below) or read this blog.

Important Rules

  • Teams may win in one challenge category, and are encouraged to enter only one
  • Participants may compete individually or in teams of up to four people.
  • The teams will be judged based on their ranking on the dedicated Zindi leaderboard at the time of competition close.
  • All participants in the hackathon must be registered students (undergraduate or graduate) at the university they represent. Lecturers, University staff, and alumni may participate in a mentorship or advisory capacity.
  • Teams cannot collaborate or share information with each other.
  • All solutions must use machine learning, but teams are permitted and encouraged to use exploratory data analysis in building their solutions.
  • All solutions must use publicly-available, open-source packages only.
  • Solutions must use only the allowed and available datasets.
  • Participants caught cheating or breaking any competition rules will be immediately disqualified from the competition.
  • Universities caught cheating or allowing teams to cheat will be immediately disqualified from the competition.
  • The winning code must be submitted to Zindi for review and validation immediately at the close of the competition. In the interest of logistics, code review will take place only after the competition has closed and winners have been announced.