Entrepreneur, Founder & CEO/ Rethaka

South Africa

Thato Kgatlhanye is one of South Africa's leading young entrepreneurs. She holds a BA in Brand Management from VEGA The School of Brand Leadership in Cape Town and started her career in New York. Upon returning to her home country, she noticed many kids in her community had plastic bags as book bags. To change that, she decided to repurpose these bags, making them durable and environmentally friendly. So, she founded Rethaka, a manufacturing, personally recognised by Bill Gates for its innovation. The new school bags were designed using upcycled plastic bags, integrating solar technology and batteries to provide light for children to study after dark.The goal is now to expand and enable mass distribution and production, this is her way of impacting more lives. Seeking real-world impact, she founded a second company, Seven Twelve, a personal development agency.

With such thrive and leadership attitude, she was recognised by several institutions. she was part of Forbe’s 30 under 30 list, won the International Elle Impact Award, and in 2016 she became the youngest woman on the cover of Forbes Women Africa. She also supports corporations like the MTN foundation, and PricewaterhouseCoopers. Thato is also a storyteller, being a keynote speaker for several events in South Africa, USA, Austria and Belgium inspiring new generations of entrepreneurs.