This collaboration brings together Ashoka’s extensive experience in social innovation and Lenovo’s technological expertise to foster positive change in this diverse region.
Equipping the Youth
With a shared vision of creating a global community of Changemakers and Kind Cities, Lenovo and Ashoka aim to equip young individuals with the necessary tools, resources, and mentorship to become leaders in driving social impact and social innovation.
Bringing Digital Inclusion to Rural Communities in SA
Award-winning Thembiso Magajana partnered with Lenovo and Ashoka to share her powerful story of how she is contributing to a Kinder Johannesburg. She is an inclusion activist and technophile who partners with companies, government, and foundations to help bring digital inclusion to rural communities in SA.
Lenovo recently donated $100K USD to Ashoka to accelerate innovation and support initiatives based in Guadalajara, Mexico; Puerto Princesa, Philippines; Salta, Argentina; and Johannesburg, South Africa. Ashoka themselves have invested circa $5m USD to support social entrepreneurs and projects in South Africa.
Embracing SA’s Tech Hub to Drive Inclusive Innovation and Social Empowerment
South Africa is one of the top three tech hubs in Africa. Nestled in the southernmost region of the continent, it offers a variety of technological advancement, cultural diversity, and a complex social landscape. It is also home to significant challenges descending from its history of apartheid and ongoing issues of inequality.
With a robust infrastructure, skilled professionals, and a growing pool of startups, the country has attracted major technology companies, entrepreneurs, and investors. This has resulted in the establishment of numerous tech hubs, incubators, and accelerators across the nation, fostering an environment of creativity, collaboration, and technological breakthroughs.
However, even with this progress, the country is faced with social and economic inequalities, where disparities in wealth, education, and opportunities persist. To address these issues, the tech community in South Africa is working towards inclusive innovation, using technology to bridge divides and create opportunities for all.
Meet the Local Changemakers
The following changemakers are honored as Ashoka Fellows, a prestigious title awarded to social entrepreneurs that are driving meaningful change:
Thembiso Magajana is a visionary leader dedicated to education and digital inclusion. As the co-founder and CEO of Social Coding SA, she leverages technological innovation to bridge the digital divide and empower marginalized communities.
Through Social Coding, she has provided digital skills training to over 5,000 youth in 45 schools since 2016. By embracing cutting-edge technologies like virtual reality, Magajana ensures that the education offered by her organization remains relevant and equips students for the advanced digital age. Her outstanding contributions have earned her recognition as a World Economic Forum Global Shaper and a TEDx speaker.
Neo Hutiri is an accomplished engineer and the founder and CEO of Technovera, a pioneering organization focused on improving last-mile access to medication for chronic illnesses. With a passion for leveraging technology to overcome access barriers, Hutiri has cultivated a more patient-centric and collaborative healthcare ecosystem.
The Invention of Pelebox
Recognizing that over 4.5 million man-hours are lost per month due to patients spending hours in queues at primary healthcare facilities, Pelebox was invented.
This is a smart locker system that enables patients to collect their repeat chronic medication in under 22 seconds. It has been successfully implemented in hospitals across the country, positively impacting the lives of countless individuals.
Neo’s groundbreaking work has garnered recognition and accolades. He, among others, is the recipient of the Royal Academy of Engineering’s 2019 Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation.
Revolutionising Value Chain Behind Food Production
Claire Reid is an innovative architect and entrepreneur known for her visionary work in green spaces and food security. At the age of 16, she invented and patented a groundbreaking process for planting seeds, now known as Reel Gardening. This innovative method has revolutionized the value chain behind food production in home and school-based gardens.
Reel Gardening offers a simple, cost-effective, and convenient way to grow vegetables, herbs, and flowers from seed. It empowers communities throughout South Africa to implement their sustainable food projects, contributing to alleviating food shortages and fostering self-sustaining communities. With an emphasis on user-friendliness and education, Reel Gardening has already impacted over 2 million people.
Promoting Understanding, Trust and Reconciliation
Garth Japhet, a medical doctor turned entrepreneur, is the founder and CEO of Heartlines and ForGood. Recognizing the power of storytelling in breaking down misconceptions and fostering unity, he initiated “What’s your Story?” through Heartlines.
This initiative promotes understanding, community, trust, and reconciliation by encouraging the sharing of personal stories in schools, workplaces, and churches.
Garth’s belief in the transformative nature of storytelling extends to building kinder cities through authentic conversations. His groundbreaking drama series Soul City, which educated and empowered viewers on a national scale, continues its legacy.
Championing the Pursuit of a Better Future for All
“We are honored to partner with Ashoka and recognize Social Coding SA, amongst others, as impactful organizations. These organizations share our commitment of driving socioeconomic inclusion and creating smarter technology and Kinder Cities for all,” says Jane Govindsamy, CSI Champion at Lenovo, South Africa.