Rapelang Rabana was born in the city of Gaborone, Botswana and started her secondary school education in Botswana before relocating to Johannesburg to finish it at Roedean School. She gained admission to the University of Cape Town and graduated with an honours bachelor’s degree in Business Science and a specialty in Computer Science.
She is currently a world class entrepreneur, a computer scientist, a digital education expert and a keynote speaker. What is interesting about this powerful woman is that she admitted that as an adolescent, she didn’t have any idea which career path she was going to take but knew that the tradition of high school, university and getting lost in the corporate world was not for her. Less than two decades later, she has become a force to be reckoned with in the world of business and technology.
Rapelang Rabana is a young CEO who is paving the path for a lot of aspiring entrepreneurs in Africa. She is a well known South African entrepreneur who is the CEO of Yeigo Communications, a company that she co-founded at the young age of 22 upon her graduation from the prestigious University of Cape Town. Yeigo Communications is a company, created in 2007 that is responsible for the creation of the Yeigo mobile application.
Yeigo is one of the first ever company in the world to utilize voice over Internet Protocol (VOIP) and this app allows a person to make calls free once your phone is connected to the internet rather than through the traditional networks. Yeigo has become increasingly popular since its creation and this is because it not only offers free mobile calls between users of the app anywhere in the globe but it also offers up to an 80% discount on international calls to people who do not use the app.
Her success in technology and communications has earned especially as a youth has earned Rapelang Rabana quite a number of impressive titles. While many refer to her as a maverick, CNN labelled her as one of Africa’s Marissa Mayer’s. She was listed under Forbes Magazine ’30 under 30′ and was placed on the ‘O Power List’ in 2012 on Oprah Magazine. The World Entrepreneurship Forum also listed her in 2014 as one of the top Entrepreneurs in the world.
Apart from heading a company, Rapelang Rabana also spends a lot of time giving speeches at both local and international forums. In 2012, she partook in the World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland as she was picked as a Global Shaper; here, she shared a panel with Klaus Schwab and Mohammed Yunus.
She has also spoken at the Black Management Forum Entrepreneurship Workshop, the Pioneering Young Women Conference, the Wits Business School Global Entrepreneurship Workshop, the Ministry of Communications’ ICT Indaba and the World Export Development Forum in Indonesia. She also serves as an ambassador and a juror for the United Nations World Youth Summit Awards. In 2015, she delivered the Keynote address at the Gartner Symposium which held in Capetown, South Africa.
With a focus on technology and communications, Rapelang Rabana is also the founder of Rekindle Learning. Rekindle Learning, as the name suggests is a South African based company that is focused on providing both online and offline courses on mobile and computer technology. She is also the Chief Digital Officer at BCX, an international company, based in South Africa that is focused on providing advanced information and communication technology.
Rapelang Rabana is also the Global Head of Research and Development at TelFree, a Swiss based company that focuses on the provision of communication services such as calls, chats, SMSs and push emails via a mobile and PC-based app. Telfree acquired a majority of Yeigo’s shares in 2008 and Rapelang has been affiliated with the company since then.
Rapelang Rabana participated in the World Economic Forum on Africa which held in Kigali, Rwanda and lent her voice to the debate of designing digital education for Africa. The panel explored some of the major challenges of education in Africa including an access to digital education. This panel consisted of experts in the field of digital education and government officials from across the world and Rapelang opined that while Africa may fancy the idea of a total overhaul in the education system, a complete and sudden switch to digital education may not be feasible and that Africa would have to build on what she already has.
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Chisom Anastasia Nwaezuoke is a physiotherapist, writer, public speaker and yogi. She is also a sexual health and reproductive rights advocate and volunteers for HandsOff Initiative.