Raymond Ledwaba

Raymond Ledwaba - Alumnus 2008 to 2013

From Innovation Manager at PwC to co-founding a not-for-profit company, to being selected as a Mandela Washington Fellow, Raymond shares his entrepreneurship journey with us.

Raymond joined our Sunninghill office in 2008 and later went to the Chicago office on a seven-month secondment.

Which department were you in?       

I was in CIPS (3.5 years), Capital Markets Group (18 months), and the Innovation Department (6 months).                                                   

What have you been doing since leaving PwC? 

I joined the world of investment banking and spent four years at Barclays Africa, where I worked in the Product Control team responsible for the deployment of a trading system in 11 African countries. I worked on deployments in Ghana, Egypt and Botswana. I also had an opportunity to work on a greenfield project where we built a stockbroking business in Kenya.

Whilst at Barclays Africa, I enrolled for an MBA with the University of Cape Town’s Graduate School of Business. This was a great opportunity to broaden my network locally and internationally and I was very fortunate to be one of 100 MBA students from business schools around the world selected to attend the 2015 MBA World Summit in Barcelona. My involvement with the MBA World Summit grew and I was appointed the Head of the Organising Committee for the very first MBA World Summit to be hosted on African soil. This Summit took place in March 2018 in Cape Town.  

I’m now pursuing entrepreneurship full time, running a software development and consulting company called ITTHYNK, based in Midrand. We have a staff complement of 36 people and we were awarded the 2017 Small Business of the Year Award (Top 20). We also won the Mail and Guardian Investing in the Future Award for our skills development programme.

Tell us about Diski Nine9:              

Diski Nine9 is a not-for-profit company that started in 2015. We’re based in Soweto and our goal is to use the game of soccer as a tool to engage, educate and empower young South Africans. I started Diski Nine9 with a friend of mine, Phehello Monamodi. We’re both passionate about soccer and community development.

Our programmes include an after-school programme in two primary schools in Soweto, where we work with 200 boys and girls on a daily basis and provide them with soccer training as well as educational support programmes such as debating skills, spelling bees and homework support.

We also have a holiday school programme that is intended to keep children off the streets during school holidays. We organise eight-day camps where we run life-skills workshops for over 500 boys and girls. The main attraction for our winter school programme is a competitive soccer and netball tournament that takes place in the afternoon after the learners have finished classes.

Running Diski Nine9 over the past three years has been extremely challenging, but rewarding at the same time. A key highlight has been partnering with Arsenal Football Club in 2017 and winning the 2018 Gauteng Premier’s Service Excellence Award.

You’re clearly passionate about helping others, what excites you the most about it?

I am a product of ubuntu; a philosophy that is difficult to translate into English but many refer to the philosophy with the following expression: “I am because you are”. 

So many people (too many to name) have played a crucial role in building my character and developing the person I am today. It’s my duty to pay it forward and to give back to my community                              

How did working for PwC help you achieve your career goals?

Working for PwC was instrumental in building my confidence, networks, social capital and problem solving skills. These are very important attributes required to succeed in any venture one undertakes.  

Your greatest career highlight:

A memorable career highlight so far is being selected as a Mandela Washington Fellow, in former US President Barack Obama’s flagship programme for young African leaders. I had an opportunity to spend six weeks at the University of Nevada, Reno in America and attend a Presidential Summit in Washington DC hosted by President Obama.

About you and your family:                     

I am the last-born son of three siblings (two brothers and a late sister). I have a very close relationship with my father and I lost my mother in 2015 after a long illness. I’m in business with one of my brothers and I am a proud uncle of five nieces and 1 nephew.                               

Your interests/hobbies: 

Playing/watching soccer, reading and travelling                                  

Your favourite book: 

Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

Your favourite quote: 

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” Theodore Roosevelt.

The best advice you ever received:

Don’t fall for the trappings of a materialistic lifestyle.                                                 

The two people (dead or alive) you’d invite to dinner:

Steve Biko and Robert Sobukwe                                                         

Bet you didn’t know this about me:

I was an accounting teacher for grade 11 and 12 learners at a high school in Soweto for two years.


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