GROWING up in a tavern run by his mother, with police coming to raid it and having to hide the alcohol taught Silulo Ulutho Technologies founder Luvuyo Rani and his brother Lonwabo resilience.
So said Luvuyo Rani, who has won a number of awards including the 2016 Schwab Foundation Global Social Entrepreneur of the Year, during a gala dinner to honour him at The Gallery on Saturday.
“Today is an emotional day for me. I was born here, I grew up in Mlungisi. There was nothing special about me. I was taught to get an education and get a job. But to be honoured like this, I ask myself who am I?” said Rani.
He said he was grateful to the people of Komani for having raised him and that his knowledge of business skills came from his mother.
“Here we are parents, we have succeeded. But this is no longer about us. We must now plant a seed for the next generation.”
Rani said he worked well with his brother and they now had 22 stores in the province. They plan to expand the stores to 60.
“My wife [Zanele] has been with me through a hard journey. She brought stability, clarity and balance into my life.”
The event was attended by Chris Hani District Municipality executive mayor Mxolisi Koyo, Lukhanji executive mayor Nozi Makanda and Communications Deputy Minister Stella Ndabeni Abrahams.
She said the country’s leadership had to find ways to respond to the challenges of the 21st century.
“Part of the National Development Plan is to ensure that everyone has access to broadband. People must know what to do with it to create entrepreneurs.”
She said Luvuyo’s story needed to be shared. “This will inspire others to want to do something.”
Metropolitan Life chief executive officer Dr Khanyi Nzukuma said Rani had been a trendsetter. “Luvuyo has given the black child access to technology. He gave people information to empower themselves,” Nzukuma said.
Dimension Data Middle East and Africa chairman Dr Andile Ngcaba said state intervention was not enough to solve the problems faced by the country. “We are here to celebrate leadership. Good leadership requires humility and a quest to always seek knowledge.”
Koyo said the country was facing a ticking time bomb with the unemployment of young people.
“Some of these young people are unemployable. They can not benefit from economic transformation because they don’t have skills.”