You love to see it. Luvuyo Rani has been on an epic 15-year journey since his humble beginnings in Khayelitsha, and now, the founder and managing director of IT services company Silulo Ulutho Technologies is building his own personal empire in South Africa.
The former township resident gave a rousing speech at the annual Association of African Business Schools (AABS) Conference hosted by the University of Stellenbosch Business School earlier in June. His keynote address turned into a powerhouse performance, where he recalled a life-long struggle to get his business off the ground.
Khayelitsha entrepreneur blazes a trail
Back in 2004, Rani’s office was his clapped-out car. He used to sell computers to schools and businesses and keep the equipment in the back. Sadly for the former teacher, his less-than-formal workplace put him on the back-foot from day one.
“When I began this business, my brother had to make a personal loan of R10 000 as seed capital. Within two months, all that money was gone. When I went to schools, people said that I was crazy for leaving teaching to sell second-hand computers. Others suspected that I was stealing computers from schools and selling them back to the schools.”
How Luvuyo Rani became a self-made businessman
But Rani always had a business plan in mind: He allowed certain groups to form a stokvel and pay for the computers in R400 instalments. This manageable payment method helped both his own business and local schools flourish. One thing lead to another, and he soon opened a chain of internet cafes across Khayelitsha.
His services became a source of extremely high demand, and the self-made entrepreneur ended up teaching locals how to develop their own IT skills. He established Silulo Ulutho Technologies soon afterwards, and Rani has never looked back. Recently, his company opened its 42nd branch in South Africa – a phenomenal achievement.
Advice for the youth
Luvuyo Rani was also on hand to give advice to any other aspiring entrepreneurs from similar backgrounds. You can tell why this guy has succeeded, by the way – if you can find us a more well-balanced dose of pragmatism and ambition, we’d love to see it…
“Always remain as passionate as you can about what you do because you will face some extremely challenging times where the passion will keep you sustained and breathe a fire to your spirit.”
“You should always have an attitude that is positive and believe that anything is possible as long as you put your mind to it. And lastly, work hard, dream big, start small but always have a bigger picture in mind.”
His company have also started to establish a presence outside of Mzansi, and Rani now has branches in other African countries. It seems that “fire-breathing passion” of his cannot be contained by our borders!