Technology & Innovation
Rich Sibusiso Hlatshwayo, 27, is a technologist who is making significant contributions to people’s lives in South Africa. “I have always been curious about the world and enjoy exploring new ideas and challenging myself to improve,” he says.
One of his notable projects is the MoovMe chatbot, which helps first-time car buyers select their best-suited car based on personality, lifestyle and budget. He also scaled up the Naledi NLP engine through Botlhale.ai Hackathon, which can now translate sign language into speech and text by using computer vision.
Rich is also the founder of Me2You, a meal kit delivery service in South Africa that empowers local businesses and reduces food waste by sourcing fresh ingredients from farmers, partnering with supermarkets, and donating excess food to those in need through the Amaqhawe programme.
The app has been a success, providing an easy and sustainable solution. Rich won the Sita Hackathon 2022 and a special ministerial award in 2022 with Me2You. He is quickly gaining recognition in the technology industry. An entrepreneur and senior devops engineer, his achievements speak for themselves. He has won 27 hackathons, including the Centre for Public Service Innovation special ministerial award and the Sita GovTech Hackathon.
- Bachelor of Computer Science at University of the People, 2021,
- Enrolled for a master’s in business administration at the University of the People
- Udemy courses and a few Amazon Web Services certification courses
- Centre for Public Service Innovation Special Ministerial Award 2022, Sita GovTech Hackathon 2022
- Motus Machine learning hackathon winner
- Music Imbizo Hackathon Winner. CiTi Hackathon and Pitch Competition 2022 Winner
- Polkadot Web3 Hackathon winner
- EPF and Microsoft hackathon winner
- Botlhale AI Hackathon winner
- French Pitch Challenge 2023 top 10 winners
In primary school, I won the department of education science regional competition. The feeling of accomplishment and recognition for my hard work inspired me to pursue a career in science and technology. It taught me the value of determination, creativity, and innovation. That memory has continued to motivate me throughout my life and has been a reminder to always strive for excellence in whatever I do.
It’s important to be patient and kind to yourself. Life is a journey full of ups and downs, and it’s okay to make mistakes along the way. Don’t be too hard on yourself, and always strive to learn and grow from your experiences.
In the next five years, I hope to see South Africa making significant progress in addressing its socio-economic challenges, such as poverty, malnutrition, unemployment, and inequality. I hope that the country can continue to build a stable and inclusive economy that creates opportunities for all citizens, regardless of their background. I also hope to see continued progress in promoting social justice, human rights, and democracy.
Furthermore, I hope that South Africa can make progress in addressing its energy challenges, particularly in promoting the transition to renewable energy sources and reducing its carbon footprint. Finally, I hope that South Africa can continue to play a leadership role in the region and contribute to peace, stability, and development on the African continent.