Be more, do more and give more

Virgin Unite Leadership Gatherings Are A Great Way To Connect Like-Minded People Who Hold A Passion For Creating Positive Change In The World. Yesterday Nathaniel Peat Shared Some Of His Learnings From The Week And Today We Want To Introduce You To The Founder Of Syafunda, Zakheni Ngubo.

Let’s Start With A Brief Summary Of Your Business – What Does It Aim To Do And Why?

Poor performance in Maths and Science continues to persist in South Africa due to shortages of teachers, books, resources and teacher training in rural and township schools across the country. With less than 10 per cent of young people getting access to quality education Syafunda provides universal access to free, quality education by leveraging the most accessible media technologies, such as smart and low cost feature phones.

Working with some of the best teachers in the country, Syafunda generates math and science interactive video and audio tutorials. These are then distributed for free through a wireless network for students in grades eight to 12 in a South African context, using a mixture of English and four South African languages.

Through online tests and assessments we are able to identify, capture and monitor performance data on students and close the feedback loop, while providing relevant supporting resources. Our system automatically creates a relevant and up-to-date digital profile for a simple and effective bursary application process, while distributing a wide variety of educational content in business, climate and environmental issues, current affairs and technology – all to ensure the next generation of Africans are empowered, inspired, informed and involved in creating a better world.

Why Do You Think Being An Entrepreneur Is So Important?
Entrepreneurship is the only way to effectively redirect resources and opportunities, regardless of who you are, and where you come from. It is the only field that rewards passion, ambition, integrity and work ethic while compounding abilities and potential with each experience.

…And How Do You Hope To Use Your Business To Create Positive Impact?
At the core of our organisation we are driven by the need to create a more equitable and thus fair world, where a person’s future is not determined or limited by their background but where we are truly able to create a world where every person – rich and poor – has a fighting chance at prosperity and a life they can be proud of. Education, entrepreneurship and technology all play a vital role in ending the burden of isolation and unite people of all borders, social class and race, in working together and sharing information to figure out this thing called life and our role and place in it.

You Recently Won A Place To Attend A Virgin Unite Leadership Gathering On Necker Island Due To Your Participation In Our Entrepreneur Programme – What Were The Top Learnings You Took From The Speakers During The Gathering And Why Did They Strike Such A Chord With You And Your Business?
I was really inspired by the passion and kindness of everyone from Virgin Unite and their aspirations to change the world.

I remember a debate between Simon Sinek, Richard Branson and Russell Brand about systematically creating change and Richard said “one cannot impose a system on people, but rather change the way people think, by educating them and empowering the early adopters and the innovators so they can empower more people.” Therefore lasting change can only come from within and can be driven by the people themselves and cannot be imposed on people or a society.

Simon said that “if you want to tear down a wall you cannot do it in one blow but by moving one brick at a time” and that “at first it doesn’t look like much, but soon people start to notice and the cause starts picking up momentum – not because it is imposed on people, but because they start to believe and feel empowered and inspired.”

I also spent a lot of time with Jean Oelwang talking about leadership and the role of leaders – particularly in Africa – and how The Elders came to be, and it made me realise that individuals really do have the power to change the course of history. People united are a force for good that can create an unstoppable movement.

Why Did These Lessons Strike Such A Chord With You And Your Business?
It taught me the importance and the value of empowering people instead of just providing aid. Empowering someone not only provides resource, but also instils a sense of pride and purpose in the person, hopefully giving them the confidence to change the lives of people around them too. Developing more leaders who can innovate, create and problem solve is of utmost importance – as the world changes we too must change and adapt with it, embracing the new solutions and possibilities that arise each day. Not only must we embrace change but we must drive it in the direction that achieves the greatest good.

If You Had To Summarise Your Experience On The Trip In One Sentence, What Would You Say?
I was inspired to be more, do more and give more.
Learn more about Virgin Unite’s upcoming trips
Zakheni became involved in the Entrepreneur Programme through his time at the Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship South Africa – find out more about the centre.

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