Tebogo Mokwena (25)

2019 Mail & Guardian 200 Young South Africans

Business & Entrepreneurship

Tebogo Mokwena (25)

Tebogo Mokwena (25)

Co-founder and Chief Technology Officer, Akiba Digital


“I hope my contribution to Africa will empower women and others so that they push the boundaries of what is deemed possible.”

Skilled software engineer and entrepreneur Tebogo Mokwena (25) has taken part in some significant moments throughout her dynamic career. She was part of the team that built the first digital bank in Southeast Asia; she has cofounded a financial technology company, Akiba Digital; and she completed a triple major in biochemistry, computer science and genetics at the University of Cape Town and the University of California, simultaneously. Furthermore, she is the owner of digital consulting firm, Bold, and a fellow at the Peace Revolution African Fellowship.

“My role today as an African female entrepreneur with software engineering expertise is to make use of technology to create experiences that fundamentally make the lives of Africans better,” she says. “I hope my contribution to Africa will empower women and others so that they push the boundaries of what is deemed possible.”

Mokwena’s plans for the future are as bold and bright as she is. Her plan is to spin up highly innovative technology start-ups led by women, start-ups that solve social challenges in new ways. She wants to create an innovation consortium that brings together African innovators across different industries and sectors to engineer world class products.

“I want to solve specific social problems such as health, education, security and finance for Africans,” she says. “We need more young women in technology, creating and building new things and pushing boundaries. The software engineering space is highly dominated by men and for this to change, we need to be at the table. We need to participate and cocreate the narrative.”

For women looking to change their lives as they move forward, Mokwena says: “Start learning how to code now. This is how you will learn to think of solutions. The beauty of technology is that it is created and shaped into anything by creativity and that is something we all have.” – Tamsin Oxford