Collins Nji This 17-yr-old student in Cameroon overcame government oppression to become the first African to win Google's Code-In competition

His win is not the real gem here, it's how he won despite being faced with a government-sanctioned internet shut down.

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Collins Nji, a 17-year-old Cameroonian student, is the first African and Black person to win Google's Code-In hacking competition. play

Collins Nji, a 17-year-old Cameroonian student, is the first African and Black person to win Google's Code-In hacking competition.

(Afrohustler)
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A lot has been said about Africans being able to find ways to thrive in the face of near-impossible circumstances and a 17-year-old Cameroonian, Collins Nji, personifies that school of thought perfectly.

Collins is the first Black person and also the first African to win Google's yearly Code-In hacking competition. But his win is not the real gem here, it's how he won.

Google Code-In Logo play

Google Code-In Logo.

(Afrohustler)

 

Google Code-In is a competition for pre-university students between the ages of 13 and 17 where the students are given a variety of bite-sized tasks to hack open source software.

The government of Cameroon has shut down internet access in Anglophone parts of the country (for the past 23 days now) after English-speaking Cameroonians protested marginalization and systemic oppression in the country.

Bamenda, where Collins lives, is one of the locations where Internet has been shut down.

But he didn't let that stop him. In true African spirit, Collins defied the odds stacked against him and travelled to Bafoussam in Francophone Cameroon to work on, and submit, his solutions before returning to Bamenda despite unrest in the country.

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When GCI started I was anxious and nervous to some extend… I had to find ways to turn my nervousness into creativity and fun. Participating was super exciting and really exhausting,  and at the end, I discovered that I gained a whole new level of experience in the Open source world," says Collins.

On January 30, 2017, Google announced Collins as the winner of this year's edition of the competition, crowning his efforts and sheer will-power.

As a result, Collins will be travelling to the Google Headquarters in Mountain View, California to meet with Google's Open Source team and other members of the Google Software Engineering team.

The #BringBackOurInternet campaign is a protest of the government-sanctioned Internet shut down in Cameroon. play

The #BringBackOurInternet campaign is a protest of the government-sanctioned Internet shut down in Cameroon.

(Twitter)

 

His victory stands as a beacon of ambition and tenacity buried somewhere in Africa's collective spirit.

It is indeed unfortunate that African governments have made a habit to systematically hinder the progress of their own citizens but stories like Collins' are a reminder of Africa's potential despite its many problems.