Mastercard entrepreneurial learning journey

10 Oct 2017 - 10:15

As part of the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program, a week of activities aimed at developing the entrepreneurial skills of the scholars on the programme did just that and more for scholars who joined the township tour.

Stereotypes were challenged and UCT’s Mastercard Foundation Scholars found themselves inspired on a recent walking tour through the Cape Town township of Khayelitsha. The event was part of a series of workshops, leadership and personal development sessions on entrepreneurship. As part of the tour the scholars engaged with a number of local entrepreneurs. Two current scholars share their experiences of the day-long adventure.

Ayanda Mahlaba is a second year Mastercard Scholarship holder and is currently studying towards his master’s in historical studies.

Ayanda Mahlaba, a second year Mastercard Foundation Scholar.

“I’m in the humanities and we are taught and empowered to not treat society as a monolithic entity, and not to take things for granted,” says Mahlaba.  

“There is a particular trope about the township that gets peddled: that is that people are waiting for the state to provide resources; that people are lazy and that crime, disease and other social ills are rife. But the entrepreneurial journey exposed us to the immensely mind-blowing innovations in township spaces right now.”

Mahlaba says that his personal experience, growing up in a township, has taught him that each township has its own distinct features that distinguish it, and the work done by township entrepreneurs is characterised by that. “Each enterprise is catering for the distinct needs of the community.”

 “The experience reignited in me the desire to make a change, to grow and to learn,” he says. “So it was really life-changing and I am really grateful for it.”


Astridah Samobwa is studying for her Masters in Digital Curation. This is her first year as a Mastercard Foundation Scholar, and so far she has found the time personally fulfilling.

Samobwa says the entrepreneurial journey matched her expectations. Her highlight was meeting Bongo of Tekkie Wash Kings, a Khayelitsha-based startup which offers an innovative cleaning service. 

Bongo Mahambehlala, Raymond Ackerman Academy of Entrepreneurship alumni (Founder of Tekkie Wash Kings)

While Samobwa says she is not a business-oriented person, the experience really inspired her to believe that you can do anything you set your mind to and make a success of it.

“What I have learned from all the training is that if you are passionate about something, you should go for it,” she says. “You will get discouragement and challenges along the way, but you must remember that it’s something that you want to do.” 

She says the experience really got her thinking about what she wants to do with her life, what her passions are, and what will happen if she follows her passion. 

“What do I want to give other people, what legacy do I want to leave in my community?”

*The event was part of a series organized by the MasterCard Foundation in Partnership with the Raymond Ackerman Academy of Entrepreneurial Development. The week included a series of workshops, leadership and personal development sessions, as well as experiences like the Entrepreneurial Learning Journey walking tour through Khayelitsha and Gugulethu Township in the Western Cape.

Story: Lerato Mokhethi Pictures: Lerato Mokhethi