Rapelang Rabana: solving Africa’s education crisis

”The most powerful ideas come from solving your own problems. And that’s how you’re able to sustain a company because it’s solving something that’s real to you; and most likely, if it’s real to you, it’s real to many other people around the world.” – Rapelang Rabana (Tech Entrepreneur)


Have you ever wondered whether Africa’s problems can really get solved? Unemployment, hunger, health, governance, education…the list could go on until the cows come home. Does the task at hand ever appear insurmountable? On a continent which has been coined as ‘dark’ and lived up to its name in so many ways, there is a sure and steady dawning of a new day. A day whose glow burns stronger and brighter as men and women rise up –striving against all odds –to address Africa’s problems by providing concrete sustainable solutions. One key player contributing to the birthing of a new day in Africa is none other than Botswana-born and South Africa-based Tech entrepreneur Rapelang Rabana. Rabana is bringing a revolutionary change to the plight of education in Africa!

How Rapelang’s entrepreneurial journey started

It was while she was studying Computer Science at the University of Cape Town that Rapelang discovered the wide range of possibilities that technology provided in delivering solutions to problems which had plagued her as a young person.

‘Access to knowledge, information, education and 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,’ says Rabana.

Rapelang’s entrepreneurial journey started 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 in 2006. 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 manifested her belief that mobile and internet technology will play an instrumental role in addressing major socio-economic issues on the continent.


Rekindle Learning

The next step in her entrepreneurial journey was taken in 2013, when Rapelang founded learning technology company Rekindle Learning. The company provides digital learning experiences that improve learning efficiencies to deliver stronger performance at school and at work, with a particular focus on mobile devices. Knowing the opportunities that education and skills made possible for herself and her family, Rapelang is committed to contributing to the task of skilling the next generation –a huge requisite for growth in Africa.

McKinsey Global Institute Lions go Digital Report recognizes Rekindle Learning:

“Mobile learning aids will also help students learn in bite sized chunks while on the move, enabling them to use pockets of dead time. In addition, online teaching solutions create the possibility of scaling up the number of students that can have access to the best teachers, extending their reach beyond their immediate classroom via the Internet. Some striking innovations are already under way. Rekindle Learning, a South African startup, is based on the premise that mobile devices are particularly well-suited to reinforcing content presented in the classroom through additional drill questions that students can follow at their own pace.”

Rapelang Rabana delivers inspiring TEDxCapeTown talk on mobile learning:

“If we truly wish to address our educational development challenges on this continent, including the need to skill at significant scale, we must ask how to begin articulating a mobile learning experience that better equips us to reach our own potential – a learning experience that effectively imparts core skills and knowledge, that improves organizational performance, that gets more kids through school.”


Source: africancelebs.com
Source: africancelebs.com

Rapelang’s Achievements

The extraordinary entrepreneurial journey that Rabana has walked has resulted in remarkable achievements since 2006. During the last three years she has achieved and been recognized in the following:

  • 15 Women Changing the World in 2015
    World Economic Forum
  • Entrepreneur for the World – Youth Category
    World Entrepreneurship Forum 2014
  • Global Agenda Council – Future of Software in Society
    World Economic Forum 2014
  • Founded Rekindle Learning 2013
  • 20 Young Power Women in Africa –Forbes Africa 2013
  • Featured on the cover of Forbes Africa with Wendy Ackerman 2013
  • Selected as Harambe Entrepreneur Alliance Associate 2013
  • Invited to World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos
    World Economic Forum 2012
  • 30 under 30: Africa’s Best Young Entrepreneurs
    Forbes Africa 2012
  • O Power List – Oprah Magazine South Africa 2012

Other areas where Rabana’s influence is making a difference

Rapelang holds various leadership roles, two of which include: Chairperson for Morofin, an ICT and financial services company in Botswana and Chairperson for Generation Ubuntu, an NGO in Cape Town providing lifesaving holistic care to children living with HIV. She has also become an international speaker and is often hosted at prestigious events.

‘On her way to being a billionaire Rapelang will be one of the people who will solve the problem of the education and skills deficit on the African continent through powerful learning technologies,’ says Strive Masiyiwa (Executive Chairman of Econet Wireless)

“Africa must leapfrog the education and skills gap if it is to emerge as a global leader and this is where technology is critical in shifting our paradigm of thought. We can’t just be trying to catch up with the development world – we must use technology to develop new ways to build functional competence in shorter time. ” – Rapelang Rabana

To read more about this phenomenal woman’s journey and the impact she is making,visit www.rapelang.com

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