Driven by a relentless pursuit of progress, I challenge conventional wisdom and inspire new ways of thinking to create a ripple effect of positive change, fostering innovation, equity, and prosperity for all.

Technology & Innovation


Aizatron Group; Bus54

Joseph Lumbahe, 32, is the manager and lead artificial intelligence engineer at Aizatron Group and the co-founder and chief technology officer at Bus54. As well as heading the AI department at Aizatron, and training a team of engineers, he oversees the understanding of customers’ needs.

At Bus54, a mobility technology platform with a digital infrastructure that aggregates intercity bus transportation across all 54 African countries, he is responsible for setting the technology strategy, overseeing product development, managing technical teams and ensuring the organisation remains innovative and competitive in the ever-evolving technology landscape.

Lumbahe has an electrical and computer engineering degree from the University of Cape Town, a computer science and information systems degree from the University of the Western Cape, an MSc in financial engineering and an MSc in computer science from the University of East London in the United Kingdom.

He won the Rising Star Award at the Africa Tech Festival Awards in 2022 and was selected as a 2023 Obama Leader, participating in a growing network of changemakers driving positive change on the continent and around the world. The advice he would give to his younger self is, “Time is the most valuable asset that one can have — do not waste it.”

  • MSc, Computer Science (AI), University of East London, UK
  • MSc, Financial Engineering, WorldQuant University, US
  • BSc, Computer Science and Information Systems, University of the Western Cape
  • BSc, Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Cape Town

  • I was appointed to the Information Technology Professionals South Africa Programming Olympiad’s Scientific Committee in November 2021
  • Awarded the Africa Tech Festival Awards 2022 (Winner Rising Star) that celebrates the innovators enabling transformation, inclusivity, and digital democracy across the African continent 
  • Awarded the 2022 TransUnion national Blackbark Rising Star Award in the ICT sector in South Africa as the top five 
  • Selected as Obama Leader 2023 by the Obama Foundation 
  • Featured in SA Tech magazine 
  • Managed to have my venture Bus54 accepted to the Microsoft for Startups Founders Hub

While no specific childhood memory stands out, my enduring drive for exceptional accomplishments has consistently inspired me. I’ve always aspired to transcend the limitations of a single degree and develop a diverse skill set, transforming myself into a multifaceted and valuable asset.

Time is the most valuable asset that one can have. Do not waste it.

In five years, I envision South Africa as a thriving hub for technology and innovation, leading the way in digital transformation and technological advancement on the African continent. I always think of these five points: 

  • In digital Infrastructure: I hope South Africa continues to invest in robust digital infrastructure, ensuring high-speed internet connectivity reaches all corners of the country. That way, more people could access information, resources, and opportunities, bridging the digital divide and fostering inclusive growth.
  • In the innovation and start-up ecosystem: I would like to see South Africa become a hotbed for innovation, nurturing a vibrant start-up ecosystem that attracts entrepreneurs, investors, and talent. By creating a supportive environment for start-ups, the country can actually stimulate the development of homegrown technology solutions (because we do have the capabilities, I have worked with bright minds) and pave the way for breakthroughs in various sectors, including healthcare, education, agriculture and finance.
  • In education and skills in technology: I hope South Africa places a strong emphasis on equipping its citizens with the necessary skills to thrive in the digital era. By investing in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education and providing training in emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, and data science, the country can build a skilled workforce that drives technological advancements and innovation.
  • In adoption of emerging technologies: I would like to see South Africa embrace emerging technologies such as AI, blockchain, IoT, and renewable energy solutions (moving away from load-shedding). By adopting these technologies, the country can enhance the efficiency of public services, improve resource management, and create sustainable solutions for pressing issues like energy production and climate change.
  • About fostering global partnerships: I envision South Africa actively engaging with the global technology community, forming strategic partnerships and collaborations with leading tech companies and research institutions. These partnerships can facilitate the exchange of knowledge, resources, and best practices, enabling South Africa to remain at the forefront of technological advancements. This will also help bring investments into the country.

In short, what I would like to say is that I believe that by focusing on technology and innovation, South Africa can significantly accelerate its progress and create a prosperous, inclusive, and sustainable future for its citizens.

View previous winners from 2018 to 2022

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