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The Rapelang Rabana business leadership journey

Lessons from a (successfully) free spirited tech entrepreneur and business thought leader.

The success story that is Rapelang Rabana, internationally recognised computer scientist, technology entrepreneur and presenter at the World Economic Forum, began with discontent.

As early as her high school years, Rabana was dismayed at the thought of a life of predetermined outcomes, controlled by ‘the system’, adults, bosses and corporate business.

She also had a realisation early on in her life, that basically, everyone in business, in life and in her world, was ‘winging it’. Whether they were her parents, other adults, corporate bosses or respected experts. The insight not only severely shook all of her preconceptions of what constitutes success, but also profoundly informed her approach to business.

In this face-to-face, full length interview, it’s evident that ‘winging it’ and learning on-the-fly is a common theme in all of Rabana’s achievements. Admittedly, this was partly a function of the fact that she operated in areas where she was very much a pioneer or part of a small group of early adopters.

Whether she was co-founding South Africa’s first free VoIP mobile Services provider in the days before
the iPhone or android, or creating a cutting edge, micro-learning platform, there weren’t many peers or mentors around. She talks passionately about the concept of ‘self-mentoring’ and the importance of committing to becoming an expert in whatever you do.

One of the other unusual aspects of Rabana’s character which clearly comes across in this video, is that many of the business lessons which she shares with the viewer were precipitated by deep self reflection.

She makes a compelling case for the interdependence of personal development and commercial success.

In partnership with FNB, Moneyweb presents this bespoke leadership video series with top business people. The interview draws on the person’s life, failures and the lessons they have learnt on their journey to the successful leadership positions they hold today.

Other business leaders share their stories here.

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