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‘You can become an expert in anything – if you commit time to read extensively’

Unexpected strategies and corporate learnings from tech entrepreneur, Rapelang Rabana.

Rapelang Rabana’s celebrated business career is very definitely not the result of a desire for corporate success or power. In 2005, post university and a four-year computer sciences degree, Rabana was determined to live life – and work – on her own terms. The idea of getting trapped in a software development house as a coder who was being told what to build, or ending up as a business analyst at a
management consultancy, was anathema to this headstrong young woman. Her criterion for her future career was simply that she had to be the one who decided how she spent her time and to what she gave her attention. Hence, entrepreneurship.

After teaming up with some like minded, freethinking university friends, Rabala co-founded Yeigo – South Africa’s first free VoIP mobile services provider, pre-iPhone and android. She goes to great lengths to explain however, that the team basically Googled their way to the groundbreaking product development and business strategy. Originally, this happened simply because the technology was so new and there were very few mentors they could call on, but in the end she learnt a priceless lesson about expertise.

Following the acquisition of a majority stake in Yeigo by the Swiss Telfree group of companies, a resultant leadership position at Telfree, and the development of an entertainment website called Tomplaygo, Rabana started a new venture called Rekindle Learning. Once again giving birth to an innovative, cutting-edge concept, in a sector of which she personally had very little knowledge. In light of how she and her Yeigo co-founders had gained most of their development knowledge post university, it’s no coincidence that this new idea of hers was in the learning and education space.

Rabana’s concept for Rekindle Learning was centred on micro-learning that is enabled through mobile technology. Again, an area that was new and unchartered in 2013. So how did she turn herself into an expert in an area that wasn’t yet officially a commercially viable or practiced modality – anywhere in the world? In this Quick Insight video, extracted from a full length, face-to-face interview with
Rabana, she explains her somewhat alternative take on ‘self-mentoring’ through that process.

Keep an eye out for the full length interview due to be published here on 13th December.

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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