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Touch down for SA’s banking Siri
12 September, 2019

An African counterpart for Apple Inc’s virtual assistant, Siri, that focuses on banking and financial management, and speaks four of South Africa’s official languages, is breaking ground on the continent. A group of University of Cape Town (UCT) students are behind the novel idea.

They call her Naledi, and she is a multilingual personal banking and financial management assistant powered by artificial intelligence that reaches users via WhatsApp. In a world where tech trends reign, Naledi is guaranteed to make life easier. How can she not? She understands and speaks isiXhosa, isiZulu, Setswana and English and allows users to buy airtime, transfer money, check account balances, and gives users the financial advice they need, when they need it most.

Naledi was designed and developed by Thapelo Nthite, a fourth-year mechatronics student in UCT’s Faculty of Engineering & the Built Environment, in partnership with some of his peers: Xolisani Nkwentsha and Sange Maxaku are master’s students in electrical engineering currently conducting research into artificial intelligence, and Bonolo Malebo is a postgraduate accounting student in the Faculty of Commerce.


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Teaching al fresco saves the day
07 August, 2019

What to do when a booking glitch sees you and 180 students without a lecture venue? You take to the great outdoors, as Carla Fourie did with her financial accounting students last week, under an African sky on the steps opposite the AC Jordan Building, amphitheatre style.

Fortunately, the infamous Cape of Storms played along and so did her spirited first-year students. Scouts had told her the Jammie Steps were out – too busy on a rare sunshiny day.


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Tips for teaching business ethics
24 July, 2019

The toxic spill from State Capture and the Steinhoff saga has underscored the importance of business ethics. But how do you teach ethics to commerce students wired for hard facts and figures? Associate Professor Jimmy Winfield explored possibilities at the recent 2019 Teaching and Learning Conference.

Speaking at the University of Cape Town’s (UCT) recent annual conference, Winfield shared some of the lessons learnt during his 10 years of teaching the course, which is mandatory for commerce undergraduates. He was quick to give credit for the course’s successes to the entire business ethics teaching team.


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