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

Reino Erasmus


Technology & Innovation

Organisation / Company

Nelson Mandela University's Centre for Community Technologies (CCT)


Education is changing drastically due to new technologies such as artificial intelligence and natural language processing. Reino Erasmus, 34, is at the forefront of this revolution in learning, developing apps at Nelson Mandela University’s Centre for Community Technologies such as the eReady ICT Readiness Assessment Tool, a mechanism that can help implement technology-integrated learning experiences and foster equitable educational opportunities across African communities. A decade ago Reino and his friend and business partner Greig Timkoe started a small technology design consultancy called Ampersand, which now creates customised digital solutions for global companies. By embracing the diversity of South Africa and working with people from other backgrounds, he says he was able to break from a cycle of mediocrity and start to dream bigger. He was inspired by his PhD supervisor, Darelle van Greunen, who helped shape his views on technology design. Reino is involved in several initiatives such as the B-Wise Youth Health Access digital platform and the Innovation Bridge Portal, and works for local government and the departments of basic education and science and innovation. He is using digital solutions to address critical administrative and health problems.


PhD candidate in Information Technology, Nelson Mandela University’s Centre of Community Technologies
Master’s in Visual Arts (Design), Stellenbosch University
Bachelor of Technology in Visual Communication (Design), Nelson Mandela University


My most notable accomplishments include being honoured with Destiny Man magazine’s Power of 40 award, which celebrates young innovators and trailblazers in South Africa; and the Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber’s Top 40 Under 40 award, which recognises young business leaders and achievers in Nelson Mandela Bay.

The most significant project that I am currently working on is my extensive research, design and development work on the eReady ICT Readiness Assessment Tool project as an integral component of my ongoing PhD studies. This initiative, commissioned by the South African departments of basic education and science and innovation, in association with the Technology Innovation Agency, aims to address the significant disparities in ICT levels among South African schools.

With a mandate to be deployed across more than 5 000 schools nationwide, the tool is strategically aimed at fostering equitable educational opportunities across communities with diverse socioeconomic backgrounds. The tool will provide policymakers and educators with a robust mechanism to implement genuine and impactful technology-integrated learning experiences throughout South Africa. The pioneering nature of this initiative has garnered significant interest beyond South Africa’s borders, with fellow African states recognising its potential as a transformative asset, capable of laying the groundwork for enhanced technology-driven educational programmes in their own countries.

From my experiences in technology design and research, I’ve learned that effective and sustainable implementation hinges on sensitivity to the social environment in which it operates. Often, a simple and elegant solution that directly addresses grassroots needs proves more effective than the most technologically advanced artefact.


My PhD supervisor, Distinguished Professor Darelle van Greunen, has been instrumental in shaping my views on technology design, particularly in understanding how ICT can be harnessed to address fundamental social issues in South Africa. As the Director of the Centre for Community Technologies (CCT) at Nelson Mandela University, her guidance has deeply influenced my approach to designing technologies that foster genuine and sustainable change.