Thato Kgatlhanye


Co-founder & Brand Manager Rethaka (Pty) Ltd


"Dancing with Fear"


The world is waiting on who we are becoming, question is how long will you make everyone wait?” Fear is a factor for many who choose to postpone their joy in doing work that matters to them. For students this statement holds power. Many young people wait to go through internships, graduate programmes, and countless promotions all in the hopes of one day reaching that CEO position. What many don’t realise is that, each day spent on that tried and tested path, is a day those living on the margins have to brave yet another day of struggling with problems that we young people hold the solutions to. We need young people having audacious dreams of employing a staff of 20 people at the age of 20. We need young people serving 20 000 Africans in 20 different countries across the continent. And there’s no reason why we can’t do it by the year 2020. I plan on living this reality. This is how: We to need to move to the rhythm of audacious dreams that have a social impact. What we need to do is: dance with fear.


“After Bills Gates tweeted about our social start-up, I knew then that if you do purpose driven work, the world will pay attention. At the age of 22, I believe the world is waiting for who I am becoming. You can usually find me up at 4AM getting ready to hustle and live up to my potential as a social entrepreneur, author and speaker. Known as the “Struggling Billionaire” to many, I decided to stop knocking on doors and built my own. As a social entrepreneur, I co-founded “Rethaka” the social startup behind the Repurpose Schoolbag. Made from upcycled plastic shopping bags, the schoolbag has a solar lantern for a child to study after dark. With a BA degree in Brand Management from VEGA, I put it to the test by landing an internship in New York, with American Marketing guru Seth Godin. I am humbled to have received recognition for doing work that has a social impact by being named a Redbull Amaphiko Entrepreneur, a 2014 LEVIS Pioneer, 2014 Anzisha Prize winner and a One young world Ambassador. All in all, I am on a journey that tells a different story about what is possible for an African woman who dares to have audacious dreams and the humility to work to see them realised.”


Why do you want to be part of UCT Upstarts? “There’s power in starting where you are, with what you have. UCT Upstarts sets the stage for what this looks like.”

HOW DO YOU ‘IMAGINE A NEW AFRICA’? ? “An Africa which sees developing countries turn into developed countries. That's the story I am willing to tell about my continent.”