Mzansi’s top 100: Disruptor, Zakheni Ngubo Founder of Syafunda


“I live by the words: Live and stand for something bigger than yourself,” says Disruptor, Zakheni Ngubo.
At school Zakheni Ngubo, 30, struggled with maths – probably because his school didn’t have a maths teacher.

His poor maths marks meant that, even with distinctions in four other subjects, he couldn’t attend university. Undeterred, he enrolled for maths classes and was accepted at university a year later. It was here he realised how many other people lacked access to quality education and the idea for Syafunda – a company that produces interactive maths and science video tutorials in local languages – was born.
As the founder and senior managing partner of Syafunda, Ngubo is changing the game, one tutorial at a time. Syafunda distributes videos directly to learners’ mobile devices through wireless networks at their schools, which are sponsored by various organisations. At present Syafunda reaches 60 000 students in 41 schools and has won a fistful of awards, including the University of Johannesburg’s Emerging Social Enterprise Award and the South African Impact Investment Network Award.

Through Syafunda students can also get support, career guidance and help with university scholarships. In 2015 Ngubo was one of a select few who participated in an annual leadership gathering hosted by Richard Branson at his home on Necker Island. “Your work ethic, integrity and character should determine your destiny and future, not your background, language or financial status,” says Ngubo. His track record confirms this as much as his words.
Find Ngubo on Twitter: @nzakheni