Rapelang Rabana, the young global leader shaping Africa in her own way
July 14, 2017 | 12:44 am| | | Start Conversation
Recently honoured by the World Economic Forum as a Young Global Leader for 2017 and featured on the cover of Forbes Africa by the age of 30, Rapelang Rabana is an entrepreneur and thought leader in the burgeoning technology industry.
A founding member of Yeigo Communications, one the first mobile VoIP applications, her latest project Rekindle Learning has been profiled as a ‘striking innovation’ in mobile learning for both academia and corporate training environments. Selected as a Fast Company Maverick and named Entrepreneur for the World 2014 by the World Entrepreneurship Forum, Rapelang has extensive experience in tech and business.
According to her, “Becoming an entrepreneur marked the end of life by default and the start of intentional living”
Rapelang also serves on the Advisory Board of Project Literacy – a campaign founded and convened by Pearson to address global illiteracy levels.
In the course of 2013, Rapelang tapped into her long-term interest in learning and education and founded Rekindle Learning. Rapelang holds the belief that mobile and internet technology will be instrumental in solving a number of socio-economic challenges at scale. Having spent several years in telecommunications, she is has now turned her focus to learning and education.
Rekindle Learning is an education technology company founded on the belief that every person should be able to develop their knowledge and learn. Computer and mobile internet devices are transformative in their capacity to overcome inefficiencies, socio-economic barriers and weak infrastructure. Now these benefits can be translated to education, training and development with Rekindle Learning.
While studying Computer Science at the University of Cape Town, Rapelang discovered the wide range of solutions provided by technology in solving long standing problems both in her life and in the world at large. ‘Technology is what allows us to put our values into practice. Access to knowledge, information, education, to other people and opportunities – the ways in which technology can be used to make an impact are endless. Using technology to bring about inspirational change is my life.’
Rapelang’s journey began in 2006 as part of the founding team of Yeigo, an innovative Cape Town based company that developed some of the world’s earliest mobile VoIP applications. The group of UCT graduates created ground-breaking applications and services that took advantage of the internet, mobile and cloud computing technologies. Yeigo was acquired by the Telfree Group in 2009. This formative entrepreneurial experience affirmed her belief that mobile and internet technology will play a pivotal role in addressing major socio-economic issues in Africa.
In 2013, Rapelang took the next step in her entrepreneurial journey by founding learning technology company Rekindle Learning. The company provides digital learning experiences, that improve learning efficiencies in order to deliver stronger performance both at school and work. Cognisant of the opportunities afforded to her through education, Rapelang is passionately committed to the goal of aiding Africa’s economic growth through upskilling Africa’s next generation.
A serial entrepreneur on an extraordinary journey, Rapelang was featured on the cover of Forbes Africa, named Entrepreneur for the World by the World Entrepreneurship Forum, selected as a Global Shaper by the World Economic Forum and all before the age of 30. In 2017, Rapelang was among the 100 distinguished leaders, under the age of 40, selected from around the world as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum.
Rapelang’s experience and achievements have established her as a thought leader in the areas of learning technology, entrepreneurship and the impact of self-discovery in understanding how we live our lives. A sought-after international speaker – audiences are inspired by her life’s story, her insightfuly researched personal and professional solutions as well as her humble charm despite her growing influence.
Donning many hats, Rapelang has wide exposure to tech, business and leadership from telecoms through her first startup, Yeigo, to fintech as a board member for Moro Group (an ICT and payment services group headquartered in Botswana), to social innovation as an Advisor to Project Literacy (a Pearson initiative to reduce illiteracy around the world), to green tech as a board member for Meniko Records Management Services (a digital records & document management company), to the role of private sector in creating self-sustaining social impact as a Chairperson of the Board of Standard Chartered Bank’s Education Trust in Botswana, to trend analysis as part of World Economic Forum Global Futures Council on Innovation & Entrepreneurship.
She is sought after as a speaker in addressing thought-leading organisations the world over and has shared the stage with the likes of President of Rwanda, Paul Kagame, and Professor Mohammed Yunus of Grameen Bank.
Big Read |