African Education Entrepreneur is WEF Young Global Leader

Rapelang Rabana is the founder of Rekindle Learning


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Rapelang Rabana, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Rekindle Learning, South Africa; Global Shaper at the World Economic Forum on Africa 2016 in Kigali, Rwanda

Picture: World Economic Forum/Benedikt von Loebell

World renowned African learning entrepreneur Rapelang Rabana has another platform from which to change the world now that she has been appointed a World Economic Forum (WEF) Young Global Leader, which was announced yesterday.

The Botswana-born chief executive officer of Rekindle Learning was named among WEF’s latest cohort of 100 Young Global Leaders. The community of more than 800 enterprising, socially minded men and women "operate as a force for good in overcoming barriers that stand in the way of progress", according to a statement from WEF.

Aarti Takadoreen, Billy Mawasha and Mmusi Maimane are other South Africans on this year’s list of distinguished leaders under the age of 40.

Rabana is certainly not new to awards and recognition. She was featured on the cover of Forbes Africa magazine before she was 30 as well as being selected as a Fast Company Maverick and being named Entrepreneur for the World by the World Entrepreneurship Forum.

Rabana says she is "stunned" by all the acknowledgement and support she has received.

"11 years ago, when I started my entrepreneurship journey, all I knew was that I had to follow my instincts. I had no idea that tuning into the rhythm of my soul would take me so far," she said.

In 2006 she was part of the founding team of Yeigo, an innovative tech start-up based in Cape Town that built some of the earliest mobile VoIP applications.

Rabana has wide exposure to technology, business and leadership – from telecoms, through Yeigo, to fintech as a board member for Moro Group (an ICT and payment services group headquartered in Botswana).

Since then she has also been working hard to help develop other future young leaders. Rekindle Learning, of which she is chief executive officer, recently launched an online bridging programme, EnglishWordPower, for first-year university students to develop their English language skills and reach the proficiency levels required to tackle higher education.

She said: "The #FeesMustFall movement has highlighted how imperative it is that universities become more inclusive and I believe that improving English proficiency and achieving language equity is a fundamental empowerment strategy."

Towards the end of 2016, Rabana went beyond technology and joined financial advisory and private equity firm Nisela Capital as a partner and executive director.

"With this move, I intend to build my skills to be in a better position to support and grow tech investment in Africa in the future," she said.

"As entrepreneurs, we have long complained about the lack of smart capital for early stage tech businesses and now I seek to be part of the solution by working on the other side," she said.

Rabana is sought after as a speaker at international events and has shared the stage with the likes of Rwandan President Paul Kagame and Professor Mohammed Yunus of Grameen Bank. – African News Agency (ANA)

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