Not everyone who works in the quantum industry has a background in quantum science. Many join due to curiosity. For Lorraine Tsitsi Majiri, the organization OneQuantum Africa President, it was the community of talented individuals that pulled her in. “Initially, I didn’t understand what quantum technology was about,” she explained. “But the quantum community is just so warm and friendly, I had to stay.” Majiri’s journey into the quantum industry was far from straightforward. According to Majiri: “I never really studied sciences in high school, so the word ‘quantum’ for me was something that I had found from the movie Antman. My dad was an accountant and so was my sister, so I initially thought that was the path I would take until I realized I enjoyed computing more and was better at it.” She transitioned from one context of using numbers (accounting) to another (computer coding).
Yet, Majiri felt that even with her new interest, something was missing. During her studies at university, Majiri had a friend who told her about the OneQuantum Africa community. Because she felt like there had been something missing during her studies, Majiri decided to wholeheartedly jump into this new community. “That proved the way for my first quantum computing course by QubitxQubit, my first IBM challenge, and my first QWorld workshop,” Majiri said. “Doing all that, I had never been more confused, yet also so fulfilled in my life. I had found the missing piece, quantum technologies. I spent the following months attending workshops, courses, webinars, and any other quantum events I could get my hands on.” Majiri’s work helped establish her reputation as a quantum ambassador, leading to her becoming the President of OneQuantum Zimbabwe, and later OneQuantum Africa.
Now as the President of OneQuantum Africa, Majiri hopes to use her mission to help spread the benefits of this technology. “Our mission is to equip our members and the wider community with strong local networks and access to the bigger global community by offering events, summits, and impact projects,” Majiri added. “OneQuantum Africa is a supportive and authentic community platform for anyone active and interested in quantum tech in Africa.” Because many parts of Africa are still implementing basic technological infrastructure, such as telephone lines, many companies and organizations are better able to work on the ground floor with OneQuantum Africa to help implement quantum technology from the very beginning. With her position, Majiri believes she can really make an impact on her bigger community. “By creating awareness of the technology, I expose other Africans to opportunities in the quantum industry and help them think of how this technology could help solve problems that we are facing today as a continent.”
Majiri also hopes that her impact also breaks down barriers and makes this technology more accessible for everyone. “For the short time that I have been in the industry, I have seen the diversity increasing, which is amazing,” Majiri said. “I feel there was greater momentum that was created during the pandemic, like global collaborations. It was really a global village. But now, as the world is opening up, collaboration shouldn’t die, and diversity regress. Rather it should intensify and find ways to keep the momentum.” As the leader of OneQuantum Africa, Majiri has found some concrete ways that accessibility and equality can improve. “How to make quantum technology more accessible to people affected by digital poverty is something that could improve diversity,” Majiri explained. “There might be a need to supplement other skills, like soft skills. But it is also important to try out ideas in other cultural settings, not prevailing in the past, and see how they work there.”