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Meet Dithapelo Medupe, young African Woman, from Botswana who invented ‘scrabble in binary code’ based on an Ancient African code

Watch out World: ‪#‎AfricanWomen‬ ‪#‎Brains‬ ‪#‎Genius‬ ‪#‎Viral‬ ‪#‎First‬ ‪#‎Invention‬

This young African Woman, A Stanford graduate from Botswana invents ‘scrabble in binary code’ board game based on an ancient African code she cracked.

Now Wait for the interesting bit:

In her own words:
I cracked an ancient code that has been used by Southern African medicine men for many generations and then worked with leading American ethnomathematics expert Professor Ron Eglash to fully describe the code. Read about the ancient code that I cracked to make African tablets spell words at see Newsletter 7.1, page 24. Please contact Professor Eglash at [email protected] to ask about the amazing little known Southern African code I cracked. A class at Stanford led me to the code.

Soon after cracking the code I realized that the code could be used to code for the letters of the alphabet allowing the African tablets to spell words. I used this idea to create a memory testing game. The game introduces young children to coding and decoding or cracking codes in a special four bit code. The game is like scrabble in that you come up with a word and then you code the word for friends and family to decode. It is really a combination of scrabble and word cracker.

The board game gives players the thrill of cracking codes with the hope to spark an interest in Computer Science in African youth and other youth around the world. The U.S manufacturer of the game can ship it anywhere in the world. Several board games have already been successfully shipped to the U.K and to Botswana.

I hope my story can inspire African youth to use our ancient traditions to come up with modern innovations. The game uses an ancient Southern African code but teaches coding and decoding which are key skills in today’s world. It also celebrates that Africans have been using binary codes for centuries in divination practices. The Ifa divination practice of West Africa also uses binary codes.


Here is a video explaining the game using a hand made version of the game. Read the description for more information.

The game is available at:
Many Africans play board games invented by non-Africans. Infuse African pride into your children by giving them a fun game invented by a young Stanford educated African woman.

I hope to turn the game into an App in the future and several App production companies say the game would make an amazing App.

Here’s a picture of the board game with the tablets spelling the word CODE.


Her story has been in Botswana newspapers:

…Dithapelo, Thanks for making Africa proud.


Article by How Africa


Written by How Africa


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  1. It looks to like this girl can be looks to me at a glance that these codes could give hackers nightmares if properly put to use.Someone should tell her to shut up as of now.

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