Class of 2017

The MTN Solution Space is delighted to announce the selection of our second cohort of scholars, who make up the "Class of 2017". These exceptional individuals have both bold and visionary ideas for the future and demonstrated strong track records of action. Together they comprise our second cohort and a new network of next generation technology leaders and entrepreneurs across the continent.

Short biographies of our new scholars are available below.


Kaashief Hartley, MBA

Kaashief Hartley's career goals lie in technology and solutions development.

Kaashief has a keen interest in social entrepreneurship and its relevance in South Africa. He is passionate about building systematic solutions for real world problems, and has completed a research project on how business intelligence systems can be used to improve public service delivery in South Africa.

Currently the data integration manager at Infovest, Kaashief has been involved with entrepreneurial activities there to further enhance the company's product offering. He is also a trustee on the Strandfontein Business and Development Forum, where he plays a major role in project research and feasibility assessment.

Kaashief holds an MComm in Information Systems and BSc Hons in Computer Science (Business Computing) from the University of Cape Town (UCT). Through the MBA studies at the UCT Graduate School of Business he hopes to grow his understanding of business and consolidate his experience in solution development.


Thulani Mahlangu, MPhil

Thulani describes himself as a dynamic, energetic and persuasive individual and a creative problem solver.

He is passionate about inspirational stories from ordinary everyday people. For the past few years his biggest business interest has been how marketing, branding and design can be used for good to improve people's lives. His future focus is to how mobile technology can have a significant positive impact in the medical and health industry.

Thulani has had significant multi-national marketing exposure through his role of managing a global restaurant brand — Nando's — in the Southern African markets. He also helped to market a wide portfolio of local retail partners in the financial services sector for The RCS Group; and was recently involved in developing and implementing integrated communication strategies in the advertising industry through Foxp2.


Lorna Okeng Atim, MPhil

Lorna says she is a creative misfit, tech enthusiast and girl child evangelist. Her passion lies in unconventional works which converge the worlds of art and technology. Her goal in life is to make the world feel a little better and a little smaller. She is committed to narrowing Africa's digital content divide and creating a connected inclusive world where culture is reflected as both a driver and enabler of sustainable human development.

Lorna seeks to take a proactive role in driving Africa's digital inclusion, by creating accessible and locally relevant content that empowers people to become active members of the internet economy, and to benefit from its knowledge and opportunities.

Lorna has worked with tech companies Google and Vodafone. She is also the founder and creative lead of TeleMusuem, a heritage travel platform that embodies the spirit and energy of Africa's diversity and its people: connecting us through extraordinary experiences.

Lorna holds a BSc in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the University of Cape Town.

NEO MARUATONA, MPhil

Neo believes high impact enterprises are formidable catalysts for meaningful economic growth. Neo's passion lies in diversity and financial inclusion, to enable small, micro and medium enterprises (SMMEs) and women-led enterprises to access to capital and markets.

Drawing on her professional experience in facilitating funding for SMMEs, Neo co-founded Everest Ventures with an objective to demystify finance and to serve fast-growing, privately owned SMEs. She is also the founder of Capital Raising Africa projects which seeks to deepen private capital markets by connecting investors with growth companies in the 'missing middle'.

Neo has over eight years' corporate finance and financial services experience, covering the renewable energy, logistics, infrastructure, retail and media sectors. Before she established Everest Ventures, she was instrumental in key transactions for Maya Group, a boutique investment and advisory firm. She also previously held financial and investment analysis roles at FNB Leveraged Finance, Standard Bank Corporate & Investment Banking & CNBC Africa.

Neo holds an BCom (Honours) (Investment Management) from the University of Johannesburg, a Postgraduate Diploma in Investment Analysis and Portfolio Management and a BCom (Accounting) degree, both from the University of Johannesburg.


Ntombezintle Raziya, MPhil

Zintle Raziya is on a quest to empower as many communities in Africa as possible, to ensure a bright and sustainable future for all. She is founder of Igniting Humanity (IH), an initiative aimed at empowering off-grid communities through inclusive rural electrification. IH builds partnerships with women and youth with the goal of building sustainable rural communities.

As a development specialist in the energy sector, her long term aspirations are to be a recognised contributor to and driver of the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals in the African context.

With four years' experience in the alternative energy sector, she is the owner of Tasol Solar Northern Suburbs, providing energy-efficient solutions for commercial, residential and government clients. She has been instrumental for a number of projects in the energy sector, and brings to the programme invaluable strategic planning and execution experience.

Zintle is a media and political studies graduate with an Honours degree in Development Studies.

VARAIDZO MURERIWA, MPhil

Varaidzo Audrey Mureriwa is a passionate advocate for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education.

She co-founded and currently runs the P-STEM Foundation, an organisation established in 2013 to promote and advocate for STEM education. Through the organisation, Varaidzo Audrey has championed the potential of STEM education, careers and entrepreneurship to solve the dual challenges of youth unemployment and a growing STEM skills shortage in Southern Africa's historically disadvantaged communities.

She is also the Director for Delivery and Operations for Buzitech Innovations, a boutique management and technology consulting firm. She holds a degree in Information Systems from Edith Cowan University in Perth, Western Australia, and has over 10 years' experience in digital, content management and technology consulting.

She worked for Accenture's Digital Data and Analytics Consulting division for eight years before moving to Buzitech Innovations. During her time at Accenture, she was exposed to numerous systems integrations and digital implementations in a wide variety of industries including health, insurance, retail, mining, manufacturing and government.

In the near future, Varaidzo Audrey intends to continue to juggle her two passions of STEM education evangelism through the P-STEM Foundation, and to broaden her technical and management skills, through Buzitech Innovations.

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