When Luvuyo opened an Internet café in Khayelitsha, many people told him he was mad. Ten years later, with customers queuing up to make use of these precious resources, he has proved his doubters wrong. An inspiration to the community, Luvuyo Rani‘s is the ultimate rags-to-riches entrepreneurial tale and his business is improving the lives of many people in Khayelitsha who, without him, would be left to watch the digital age pass them by.
Born and raised in the Eastern Cape, Rani came to Cape Town in 1996 to get a tertiary education and pursue a career in teaching. The entrepreneurial seed was always present, however, as Rani had looked up to his self-employed mother from a young age. After graduating from Cape Technikon with a National Diploma in Commercial Education, and a B Tech in Commercial Education a few years later, Rani started teaching accounting and entrepreneurship at a Khayelitsha high school while continuing to study for a B Tech in Business Administration.
After three years, however, he decided to take a risk and resign, and shortly thereafter he started his business - Silulo Ulutho Technologies - with his brother Lonwabo in 2004.
Silulo Ulutho Technologies started out by selling refurbished computers and soon expanded to basic IT training and writing business profiles and plans for local businesses. In the school’s 7 years, 20,000 students have completed the 6-month course and this year 1500 people have already enrolled. Now Rani and his partners are struggling to keep up with demand.
In 2006, Rani was looking to improve his own skills and attended the UCT Graduate School of Business (UCT GSB) on a full Institute of Directors (IoD) bursary to add some concrete business know-how to his natural entrepreneurial flair. He maintains that the Associate in Management (AIM) course prepared him to grow his business with confidence.
In 2014, Luvuyo was honored by the Junior Chamber International as one of the Ten Outstanding Young Persons in the world for his work in entrepreneurship. This accolade could not have come at a better time as Silulo celebrated its 10 years of changing lives through technology.
“We know that there is a hunger for technology in townships and we want to feed this demand,” said Luvuyo. “My business partners and I have a vision that will see us opening up Silulo centers in every township and rural area in South Africa.” In June 2016, Luvuyo received the Schwab Social Entrepreneur of the Year award for 2016 at the World Economic Forum in Kigali, Rwanda.