Social entrepreneurs that are driving meaningful change in SA and globally

TECHNOLOGY company Lenovo, and Ashoka, a global organisation dedicated to promoting social entrepreneurship, continue to partner and inspire the next generation of changemakers in South Africa (SA).

With a shared vision of creating a global community of Changemakers and Kind Cities, Lenovo and Ashoka aim to equip young individuals with the necessary tools, resources, and mentorship to become leaders in driving social impact social innovation.

Award-winning Thembiso Magajana partnered with Lenovo and Ashoka to share her powerful story of how she is contributing to a Kinder Johannesburg.  She is an inclusion activist and technophile who partners with companies, government, and foundations to help bring digital inclusion to rural communities in SA.

Lenovo recently donated $100K USD to Ashoka to accelerate innovation and support initiatives based in Guadalajara, Mexico; Puerto Princesa, Philippines; Salta, Argentina; and Johannesburg, South Africa.

Ashoka themselves have invested circa $5m USD to support social entrepreneurs and projects in South Africa.

Meet the local changemakers

The following changemakers are honoured as Ashoka Fellows, a prestigious title awarded to social entrepreneurs that are driving meaningful change:

Thembiso Magajana is a visionary leader dedicated to education and digital inclusion. As the co-founder and CEO of Social Coding SA, she leverages technological innovation to bridge the digital divide and empower marginalised communities. Magajana strongly believes that digital literacy is essential for expanding socioeconomic opportunities, particularly for young people in peri-urban and rural areas.

Through Social Coding, she has provided digital skills training over 5,000 youth in 45 schools since 2016. By embracing cutting-edge technologies like virtual reality, Magajana ensures that the education offered by her organisation remains relevant and equips students for the advanced digital age. Her outstanding contributions have earned her recognition as a World Economic Forum Global Shaper and a TEDx speaker.

Watch this video to experience the impact of Social Coding SA in local communities.

Neo Hutiri is an accomplished engineer and the founder and CEO of Technovera, a pioneering organisation focused on improving last mile access to medication for chronic illnesses. With a passion for leveraging technology to overcome access barriers, Hutiri has cultivated a more patient-centric and collaborative healthcare ecosystem.

Recognising that over 4.5 million man-hours are lost per month due to patients spending hours in queues at primary healthcare facilities, Pelebox was invented. This is a smart locker system that enables patients to collect their repeat chronic medication in under 22 seconds. It has been successfully implemented in hospitals across the country, positively impacting the lives of countless individuals.

Neo’s groundbreaking work has garnered recognition and accolades. He, amongst others, is the recipient of the Royal Academy of Engineering’s 2019 Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation.

Claire Reid is an innovative architect and entrepreneur known for her visionary work in green spaces and food security. At the age of 16, she invented and patented a groundbreaking process for planting seeds, now known as Reel Gardening. This innovative method has revolutionised the value chain behind food production in home and school-based gardens.

Reel Gardening offers a simple, cost-effective, and convenient way to grow vegetables, herbs, and flowers from seed. It empowers communities throughout South Africa to implement their sustainable food projects, contributing to alleviating food shortages and fostering self-sustaining communities. With an emphasis on user-friendliness and education, Reel Gardening has already impacted over 2 million people.

Garth Japhet, a medical doctor turned entrepreneur, is the founder and CEO of Heartlines and ForGood. Recognising the power of storytelling in breaking down misconceptions and fostering unity, he initiated “What’s your Story?” through Heartlines. This initiative promotes understanding, community, trust, and reconciliation by encouraging the sharing of personal stories in schools, workplaces and churches.

Garth’s belief in the transformative nature of storytelling extends to building kinder cities through authentic conversations. His groundbreaking drama series Soul City, which educated and empowered viewers on a national scale, continues its legacy. 

If you are keen to join Ashoka and Lenovo to support social entrepreneurs and changemakers in South Africa, please contact Xabiso Lombo,

This is an excellent opportunity to engage with like-minded individuals and make a meaningful impact in your community.

Image supplied (Lenovo and Ashoka representatives at the roundtable held in Joburg).

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