Founder, Kuwasha Afrika
Jimmy Kalombo was a talented soccer player with every intention of going professional. But he had to give it up when he was seriously injured during a soccer match.
Soccer’s loss was society’s gain. Kalombo, a chartered accountant, is the founder of Kuwasha Afrika, a company made up of a financial advisory (Kuwasha Advisory) and a tech/development subsidiary called KuwashaTech.
Although Kalombo has no formal training in software development, his passion has seen KuwashaTech building an online mentorship platform that has been sold to the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (Saica). Each week the platform (which will officially be launched later this year) has a select number of mentors — all qualified chartered accountants — share their journeys with students and answer their questions via blogs, podcasts and live video streaming.
“Of the 45 000 chartered accountants in the country, only 20% of the population are black,” Kalombo says. “I believe this is a legacy issue that came about with black students not having parents or family and friends in senior corporate positions. As a result, many black students do not have sound advice and guidance on their CA journeys … I wanted to build a platform that will bring the entire ecosystem to aspiring chartered accountants, by allowing them to engage with qualified chartered accountants, companies and products aimed at students.” KuwashaTech has also developed an online app called Sebenza CV Builder.
Kalombo has been selected by the Barack Obama Foundation and the US embassy as a 2017 Mandela Washington Fellow.
He grew up in a one-roomed house with his five siblings. However, his mother never failed to inspire him. She began her career as a nurse, and embodied the spirit of an entrepreneur, sewing and knitting skirts for her colleagues. She later returned to school and qualified as a physiotherapist, serving as the head of physiotherapy at Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital and then opening her own practice, as well as a bottle store. The apple has not fallen far from the tree. — Fatima Asmal