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Bongiwe Beja squarely confronts herself and her generation with a daunting challenge: Be the ones to see Africa developed.

Her passion for youth development and entrepreneurship has meant that she has been part of the Pan African Youth Dialogue as the head of Young Professionals, a founding executive member of the Sanlam Investments Young Professionals (SIYP), and a holder of the Allan Gray Orbis Foundation Scholarship for Entrepreneurship. 

Silulo Ulutho Technologies, a fast-growing technology and education social enterprise led by general manager Beja, has a significant impact in the emerging, townships and rural communities across South Africa.

She works directly with Schwab Foundation leader, founder, and CEO of Silulo, Luvuyo Rani, on the operational management and strategic direction of the organisation. Prior to Silulo, Beja worked in the investment management industry and was a specialist in business development and client relations of institutional clients.

She has also worked for leading institutions including Sanlam Investments and RisCura Investment Consulting. She is an African ambassador in the financial and technology space.

The young trailblazer holds a B.Com Economics and Finance degree, and a B.Com Honours in Financial Analysis and Portfolio Management from the University of Cape Town (UCT), and is about to complete an M.Com degree in Development Finance at the UCT Graduate School of Business.

Beja is the elected Curator of the Global Shapers Community in the Cape Town Hub, an initiative of the World Economic Forum.

Infographic by TYI

She looks up to her father, Reverend Canon Dr Samuel Vukile Beja, as her role model. He ran a successful surgery in the community of Mthatha in the Eastern Cape for more than 20 years; and would always go beyond the call of duty in dedicating his life to serving others.

Bongiwe’s inspiration comes from seeing peoples’ lives permanently changed for the better. In ensuring that she does developmental work, she ended up at Silulo Ulutho Technologies as the general manager. Undoubtedly, her parents’ confidence and belief in her from a young age has contributed immensely to her success.

Earlier this year, soon after being elected as the curator of the hub, Beja was invited to join the curators of hubs across the world in Geneva, Switzerland, for three days at the headquarters of the World Economic Forum.

The Cape Town Hub proposal was one of 157 from across the world, of which only five would be chosen to win grant funding.