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Zakheni Ngubo,

Social Entrepreneurship

Zakheni Ngubo, founder and CEO of Kelo Digital Bookstore and founder of Syafunda Digital Libraries, unpack the joys and challenges of social entrepreneurship.

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Born in Umlazi township in Durban, Zakheni Ngubo passed matric with four distinctions. However, not having had a maths teacher meant his maths results prevented him from going to university. A year of maths evening classes rectified the situation, but also left him with the ambition to give pupils the education he had been denied.

Fast forward to 2014 when Zakheni left his job at Virgin to found Kelo Digital Bookstore and Syafunda Digital Libraries. In just over a year, Syafunda has become a key player in the edtech sector, developing localised digital content for high school maths, science and accounting, while also creating a free wireless content-distribution and data-analytics platform.

Zakheni is a Mandela Washington Fellow, a graduate of the Branson Centre SA’s advanced business programme, and an alumnus of Village Capital and the Pearson Affordable Learning Fund (PALF). He participated in Sir Richard Branson’s Disrupting for Good leadership gathering on Necker Island, attended the Spark/YGap and Red Bull Amaphiko academies and was named one of Mzansi’s top 100 young, independent and disruptive entrepreneurs. He was also ranked among Destiny Man's top 30 young achievers and Top 40 under 40 industry leaders and innovators in South Africa (Powerof40).

Zakheni is a business mentor and coach at the Impact Hub SA, SAB Foundation, Business and Arts South Africa (BASA), ADHE Entrepreneurship Intervarsity Competition and Further Impact.


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10 Tasty Bites 

Below is a preview of what you can expect to learn in this recipe. 

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About This Recipe


Social impact is an objective many South African entrepreneurs set out to achieve, but balancing making a difference with making a profit can be a challenge. Among many other topics in this recipe, Zakheni Ngubo shares his take on this juggling act.

The edtech innovator also shares why creating value for everyone in the education value chain is the key that unlocks a solution’s potential to scale and remain sustainable. He makes a compelling case against entrepreneurs regarding a government contract as the pinnacle of success, and explains why true industry disruption hinges on inclusivity.

Perhaps the most powerful element of this recipe is Zakheni’s take on partnerships and how important it is that all involved should benefit and derive value from the relationship.

What You'll Learn


In this recipe you will learn that it is possible to succeed and add tremendous value in a sector you know little about, given the right support, a true and powerful vision, and values that guide your decision making.

You will also learn that a government contract should not be your highest ambition, that funding from the wrong partner can cost you dearly, and that it is possible to balance impact and profitability.

The recipe contains valuable tips on how to approach partner relationships, what it takes to work in the education sector, and the importance of an inclusive approach when entering an industry with the aim of changing some of its tenets.


Learn from someone who speaks from a position of real authority, perspective and experience.


Implement practical tips and techniques learned in the trenches - doing, rather than talking.


Join a cohort of like-minded entrepreneurs in our growing community and share your learnings as you go.

Get Learning

This entrepreneurial micro-course will take you only a few minutes per day (or you can binge if you want to). Feel free to skip around and please let us know what you think. 

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Deep Cuts 

Love this recipe? Here are some additional videos to delve even further into the topic.


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