Kutlwano Tshatiwa developed a smart application to diagnose pneumonia and skin cancer: Image: GCIS Vuk’uzenzele

Young innovator strikes gold with app

Kutlwano Tshatiwa (17) developed a revolutionary phone application that is taking South Africa’s technology scene by storm.


Kutlwano Tshatiwa developed a smart application to diagnose pneumonia and skin cancer: Image: GCIS Vuk’uzenzele

Kutlwano Tshatiwa (17), is taking the South African technology scene by storm with his revolutionary phone application that can help to diagnose pneumonia and skin cancer in a matter of seconds.

Tshatiwa is a matric learner from Gabonewe High School in the North West.

Tshatiwa recently won a gold medal at the International Festival of Engineering Science and Technology that was held in Tunisia. His application ranked in the top 10 projects in the world.

Tshatiwa says he was inspired to develop the application at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic to help potential cancer and pneumonia patients get the treatment speedily. 

“When COVID-19 was really bad, I saw a lot of cases where late diagnosis led to delayed treatment, reducing their chances of survival.

“With an application that gives you a diagnosis within seconds or milliseconds, you can start taking treatment much earlier.”

The app runs on Android smartphones. To diagnose pneumonia, one simply uploads an X-ray image [of their chest] and the application produces either a negative or positive diagnosis.

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“With regard to skin cancer, the user just uploads an image of their skin and the application will give a diagnosis and also give a scale of what confidence it has,”

he says.

Tshatiwa started designing applications when he was 13 years old. “I learned from the internet by watching videos and reading blog posts.”

Tshatiwa says he began the project hoping to make money. “As time went by, the money part just went out the window and only the love for creating and coding remains,” he says.

Tshatiwa and his application came to prominence through the Eskom Expo for Young Scientists, which aims to encourage young South Africans to participate in Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Innovation at schools and vocational and technical and vocational education and training colleges.

Eskom’s Development Foundation Chief Executive Officer, Cecil Ramonotsi, says the power utility is committed to nurturing the country’s future scientists and innovators.

“Eskom is proud to be the funder of the Eskom Expo for Young Scientists, a platform which continues to enable learners not only to develop themselves but to also make a positive contribution to the country through scientific knowledge,”

says Ramonotsi.

For more information about the Eskom Expo for Young Scientists call 011 894 1365 or visit

Written by Neo Bodumela

This article was originally published in the GCIS Vuk’uzenzele.