Mosa Mkhize speaks to us about her role in the technology sector and shares her thoughts on Women in Tech Africa, taking place 18th-19th March in Cape Town.
Mosa Mkhize is Public Policy Senior Associate for Uber in South Africa. She will be sharing her wisdom on a panel entitled 'Tech's Role in Solving Africa's Unemployment Crisis' on 18th March at 12:05 where she and other female tech leaders will have an honest conversation about what can be done in Africa's foremost tech hubs to tackle the continent's high unemployment rates.
There's still tickets available, book now!
We caught up with Mosa ahead of the conference, here's what she had to say.
Why have you decided to get involved with Women in Tech Africa?
My involvement simply boils down to the fact that I am strongly passionate about technology, its growth on the African continent, and, most importantly, the development of women in the tech industry. Technology has been the driving force of change in various industries, it affects everything we do today and it influences most of our plans for the future. It has been embraced and incorporated into our daily lives. The way technology is shaping the future of Africa and its development opportunities is outstanding. However, when it comes to the issue of gender diversity and inclusion in the tech industry, as a woman myself, I personally understand that this is a pertinent issue that needs to be highlighted, understood and tackled in order to resolve it.
This conference aims to bring people and various organizations together to understand and resolve this issue, and this is something that I am so proud to be a part of.
What are you speaking about at Women in Tech Africa?
I am looking forward to unpacking some of the extraordinary ways in which Uber has and continues to play a role in creating employment opportunities in the country and how Uber has truly disrupted the way in which we move around.
Uber has created real opportunities for local entrepreneurs to enjoy flexibility and enhanced earnings potential - for themselves and, ultimately, for individuals that many of them bring into their thriving and growing transport businesses. The growing uptake of technology platforms such as Uber on the African continent has increasingly changed the narrative of how people are choosing to travel in local cities. Not only are the modes of transport quick, simple and reliable, but they are also reducing congestions in cities across the African continent which is impacting the environment positively.
What will people learn from listening to your talk?
People will learn how technology apps like Uber are continually at the forefront of improving and empowering the lives of people across the country and beyond. They will understand and learn how this organisation plays a role much bigger than just moving people from A to B in four-wheeled vehicles, as mobility is much more diverse and complex - Whether it’s a ride, a sandwich, or a package, Uber uses technology to give people what they want, when they want it.
More and more the business is unpacking the role that we can play in using our technology as a enabler for transportation across modes, in other words seeing ourselves as a platform for increased mobility. Exciting times lie ahead as we explore this to greater depths as a company, motivated by the sheer passion of increasing mobility for millions across nationalities, race, class and gender.
What are you most looking forward to at Women in Tech Africa?
The future of technology and the mark it has left on the world is undeniably remarkable. I am so excited to learn more about what the future holds for women in this industry as well as expanding my knowledge beyond my current field and finding solutions to challenges that we are constantly faced with within the industry and connecting and networking with new people. I look forward to presenting my ideas, experiences and work with others so that they may gain a thorough understanding of the tech industry at large.
Who is your female tech inspiration? What have they done and why do they inspire you?
There is a number of remarkable women, who are making moves (big and small) in technology across the continent and the world. It is truly difficult to identify a specific person, as I am inspired by all women, for various reasons. For the purpose of this platform, I would like to highlight a South African Woman, Barbara Mallison, co-founder of Obami. Barbara developed a social e-learning platform that is used by schools and organisations in Africa, Europe and America. In 2007 Barbara created a platform which connects distinct parties within the education space - teachers, learners, non-profit organisations and government - and in so doing enables them to share educational resources and also provides an assessment module to improve learners' participation and performance.
Improving education and literacy levels across the continent and beyond has and continues to be a challenge for the government, educators, parents, learners and society at large. It is through individuals finding solutions such as Obami, that solutions will be developed. I have profound respect for and draw much inspiration from the innovation that Barbara and her co-founder developed. They saw a challenge (a big one at that) and are doing their best to find solutions to an important reality for society. This is true inspiration at its best. As an author, I am truly inspired by work that many people have done in the education sector and look forward to collaborating with many in the future.
What’s a typical day like for you?
Each day of the week offers something different, some days are really hectic and I may find myself in back to back meetings, travelling on a business trip or sometimes I am behind the desk throughout the day. Being a working mom is a blessing and a privilege that I am truly honoured to live every day.
With that being said, balancing my career, motherhood and being my own person, has come with its own challenges. However, it is definitely easier with the flexibility that Uber provides. So, regardless of how hectic the day may be at work, I am always grateful that I am still able to manage to be the best mother I can be to my children, as well as having a successful career.
Are you working on anything exciting at the moment that you’d like to share with our readers?
The advent of Uber disrupted the way in which individuals move around the city. In many ways, regulations are playing catch up to the reality of the role that technology has played in transportation. I lead the companies engagement with regulators, parliament and government in this regard.
On a personal level, I have launched my publishing business, called Origins Publishers. Inspired by the need to make South African and African languages more accessible, I have written a series of children’s books and developed educational materials to celebrate our diversity. I was motivated to start this venture, due to the unavailability of bright, beautiful, stimulating books for me to experience with my own children.
The response from South Africans, of all races, cultures and ethnicity has been phenomenal. I have been blown over by the interest that nationalities beyond South Africa have shown, across the oceans in America and Canada, to Australia, as well as across our continent, including Namibia, Zimbabwe, and Lagos to mention but a few.
What advice would you give to women who want to pursue a career in tech?
Be your authentic yourself. You are worthy of being in tech. Trust your intuition and judgement.
Interested in mastering the art of disruption like Mosa has?
Women in Tech Africa is taking place 18th – 19th March in Cape Town, South Africa. In addition to speeches and workshops, there will be a MEETUP stage so that attendees can converse with prominent tech innovators from across Africa on a range of subjects. This includes AI, cloud computing, blockchain, tech career paths and empowering female leadership in male-heavy industries.
There's still tickets available, book now!