Mangi Tshikomba

Founder, Things Technologies

Growing up in a rural village in Venda, Mangi Tshikomba was all too familiar with the challenges individuals face in accessing education. His primary school was severely under-resourced and ran its classes in shacks.

Tshikomba credits a programme produced by an EdTech company televised on SABC for helping him pass grade twelve maths and science. These days, Tshikomba runs his own EdTech company, Things Technology, which helps schools and organisations use eLearning to supplement their teaching and training. The company achieves this by setting up learning management systems, or by advising them on the best way to develop digital educational content. It also hosts events targeting the senior management of companies, aimed at looking at how different stakeholders can leverage technologies to create a brighter future for South Africans. These events have featured the likes of computer scientist and entrepreneur, Rapelang Rabana, Stephen van Coller (vice-president for digital services, data analytics, and business development at MTN Group) and Allon Raiz, the chief executive and founder of Raizcorp.

Tshikomba recently negotiated a deal with Curiscope, a UK-based EdTech startup to bring their augmented reality technology – which helps learners with anatomy – to South Africa. His company is currently in discussions with the department of basic education about rolling the technology out nationally.

Tshikomba also contributes content to a technology radio show on Umhlobo Wenene FM which reaches more than two million listeners, and is partnering with a nongovernmental organisation to produce an early childhood development programme that will be broadcast on Alex FM. His company has also developed several educational websites including historyacademy.co.za, edtechdojo.co.za and prodemy.co.za.

Tshikomba believes that Africa needs a smartphone-type education system that is affordable, inclusive and of high quality. “The education industry has not been embracing technology and innovation in how people learn and the modus operandi has been the same for centuries,” says Tshikomba. “Technology has changed almost all other industries and we will be one of those companies leading the adoption of technology in education.” His sterling efforts in making education accessible to all have not gone unnoticed. He was named a One Young World Ambassador in 2013, a Queen’s Young Leader in 2015 and one of Africa’s Brightest Young Minds in 2016.

— Fatima Asmal

Twitter: @mangi_tshikomba