“You might be locked into a world, not of your own making, but you still have a claim on how it is shaped.” — Barack Obama




Moya Money

Thulani Masebenza, 28, is the co-founder and CEO of Moya Money, a fintech startup whose mission is to make self-employment sustainable in Africa by making it easier for businesses to manage and pay freelancers.

Since launching in September last year, it has signed up more than 10 businesses as clients who have a network of over 7 500 freelancers.

Moya Money was selected as the first South African startup to participate in the Tenity F10 Global Fintech Accelerator Program, an incubation and fundraising program in Barcelona, Spain, in 2021/2022.

The company was recently selected as one of 29 top emerging startups across the continent to be part of the MultiChoice Africa Accelerator programme in March 2023. In 2019, Thulani co-founded Young Aspiring Thinkers, a non-profit that exposes learners in township high schools to careers through a mentor model.

It has reached over 2 000 learners, has over 150 mentors on its database and has projects with Oracle, Trevor Noah Foundation and Cornell University in the US. Thulani has been invited to pitch on behalf of Young Aspiring Thinkers by the ChangeNow Summit in Colombia (2020) and Paris (2022) after being nominated as one of the top 1 000 impact solutions in education.

  • Bachelor of Arts in International Relations and Politics, University of Witwatersrand
  • Postgraduate Diploma in Management, Wits Business School

  • Selected to take part in the global fintech incubator Tenity as the first South African startup.
  • Selected as one of 29 startups across 11 African countries to participate in the Multichoice Africa Accelerator.

I taught myself how to ride a bicycle without trainer wheels. The first time I ever rode a bicycle, I was with my older brother. I got onto the seat and rode down the street without knowing how to steer or use the brakes and crashed into a wall. Luckily I didn’t get injured and, from that moment, I learned what not to do and got back on the seat and tried again. This memory is always a personal reminder for me to keep going and sometimes you don’t have to have it all figured out, you just need to try.

The advice I would give to my younger self is that, in life, you can have anything that you want, but you can’t have everything that you want. By trying to achieve everything or many things in a short period you overestimate what you can accomplish, instead, if you focus on one, or a few, very ambitious goals over a long time span, you can achieve more than you imagined In life. If you’re passionate about something, you should learn to prioritise the things which you enjoy, focus on the things which make you happy, and realise that not everything is for you.

In the next five years, I’d like South Africa to be the technological capital of Africa, a land of hope where pursuing ideas which will advance our collective future is accessible to anyone who dares to dream it. Tech solutions are reducing the amount of inequality, and increasing the amount of inclusion, from financial services to health and the resources available for individuals to be able to pursue their ideas.

View previous winners from 2018 to 2022

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