“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” —Nelson Mandela

Dumisani Mthethwa



Organisation / Company

Standard Bank and founder of TOPTD Annual Sports Tournament


Dumisani Mthethwa, 32, is a software engineer at Standard Bank responsible for systems integration. He also runs the TOPTD Annual Sports Tournament, which he founded 10 years ago. This initiative, hosted in deep rural KwaZulu-Natal, is themed “Rural Communities Anticipating 4IR”, and is aimed at promoting technology and data science. Dumisani organises the tournament, fundraises and provides participants with laptops loaded with Python, SQL and HTML programming languages, along with tutorials from beginner to expert levels. But TOPTD is more than just a sporting event. Dumisani’s goal is to inspire and upskill young people, offering them a pathway out of poverty. In addition to the sports tournament, the TOPTD Queen Check Annual Chess Tournament for girls is held every year on 9 August. This event also campaigns against gender-based violence. This year’s event included for the first time the Python certification, a precursor to a larger project being developed: a community-based coding workshop series aimed at teaching young people programming and data science skills. Dumisani says this initiative seeks to provide ongoing education and mentorship to foster a new generation of tech-savvy youth in his community.


Bachelor of Social Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal
Bachelor of Social Sciences (Honours), University of KwaZulu-Natal
Business & Systems Analysis Certificate, University of Pretoria
Higher Certificate in Information Technology, University of Johannesburg.


One of my proudest achievements is the successful establishment and continuation of the TOPTD Annual Sports Tournament. This project started as a small community event and has grown significantly over the last decade, demonstrating true rainbow-nation spirit as it includes all races we have in South Africa, hosted in deep rural KwaZulu-Natal. Initially, it was challenging to secure funding and resources, but through persistent efforts, I managed to garner support from various donors and big businesses. Last year, we had our first corporate sponsor in the form of Standard Bank. Additionally, for the first time in nine years, we had government involvement, with the KwaZulu-Natal department of sport, arts, and culture joining as one of our sponsors. The project has had a profound effect, encouraging young people to participate in sports while learning valuable IT skills.
The key lesson I learned from this experience is the power of perseverance and community support. Despite numerous obstacles, the unwavering belief in the project’s vision kept me going. I also realised the importance of adaptability; we had to continuously innovate and improve the tournament to keep it relevant and effective. This project taught me that real change requires dedication, collaboration and a relentless commitment to one’s goals.


Yes, my local hero, the late Sbu Mseleku, former sports editor of City Press, started what we grew up knowing as the Sbusiso Mseleku Easter Tournament. As a kid, I admired this initiative, having never seen so many people in my community so happy and united for three days because of sport. Although I never met him personally, he was a great role model. Additionally, my late grandfather, Nkunz’emnyama, who was a community leader, greatly influenced me. He taught me the importance of giving back and being a pillar of support for others. His dedication to community service inspired me to start the TOPTD Annual Sports Tournament. Finally, two senior executives in the IT space, who are my mentors, have taught me the importance of staying the course and being accountable to myself first.