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Africa Tech Festival 2024 – The Home of AfricaCom, AfricaTech & AfricaIgnite
Event dates: 11-14 Nov 2024
Exhibition Opening Dates: 12 - 14 Nov 2024Cape Town International Convention Centre, Cape Town

5 Questions With 2022 Rising Star Award Winner, Joseph Lumbahe

Almost a year has passed since Joseph was crowned the winner of the Africa Tech Festival 2022 Rising Star Award. We caught up with him to explore the impact of his success at the awards and discover what he's been up to since.In this exclusive interview, we delve into Joseph's inspiring story, shedding light on the immense potential of Africa's tech landscape and how one individual's brilliance can contribute to driving innovation on the continent.

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Almost a year has passed since Joseph was crowned the winner of the Africa Tech Festival 2022 Rising Star Award. We caught up with him to explore the impact of his success at the awards and discover what he's been up to since.

In this exclusive interview, we delve into Joseph's inspiring story, shedding light on the immense potential of Africa's tech landscape and how one individual's brilliance can contribute to driving innovation on the continent.


What has been your greatest career accomplishment to date?

Establishing and growing Bus54 has been my proudest career accomplishment so far. Witnessing our idea evolve into a platform that offers tangible solutions, create a ground-breaking mobility digital infrastructure and ecosystem for passenger transportation as well as financial institutions in Africa. This platform aggregates intercity bus transportation data across all 54 African countries, aiming to revolutionize the African road transportation industry with unique features., and makes real-world impacts on people's lives is incredibly rewarding. Seeing Bus54 successful in its initial market, and its potential to revolutionize African road transportation has been a fulfilling experience.

Bus54's acceptance into the Microsoft for Startups Founders Hub is a testament to the company's innovative approach to intercity transportation in Africa. With the support of Microsoft, Bus54 is poised to continue its growth and become a leader in the transportation industry in Africa.

In addition, my selection as an Obama Leader 2023 and getting the opportunity to meet President Barack Obama would undoubtedly represent one of the most significant and exceptional milestones in my career.


How has winning the Rising Star impacted your career? What opportunities and projects have you taken part in since then?

Winning the Rising Star Award has certainly amplified my career trajectory, opening doors to a wealth of opportunities. It has resulted in collaborations with industry leaders and enthusiastic investors who believe in our work. 

Since winning the award, I have been invited to speak at several events, and I have also been featured in several publications such as South Africa's leading tech magazine - SA TECH magazine and the BusinessDay Magazine.

I am currently co-founding a new venture with my Co-Founder Letumile Makobe, that will redefine boundaries in the tech landscape using Artificial Intelligence.


Why do you believe you won the Rising Star Award?

I believe that the Africa Tech Festival Rising Star Award was a recognition of my diverse expertise and my ability to bring together multidisciplinary fields - from engineering (AI) and business - to create meaningful and tangible results. My work in Aizatron Group, MTN and Bus54, where I have effectively used Technology and Innovation to address real-world problems, specifically in the context of African road transportation with Bus54, fraud detection with MTN, and Artificial Intelligence with Aizatron, I believe, made a significant impact.

Moreover, my efforts in mentoring young talent, staying ahead of technology trends, and contributing to the scientific community through associations like IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers), AAAI (Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence), and IITPSA (The Institute of IT Professionals South Africa) likely caught the jury's attention.

In addition to that, my leadership and effort in driving the Aizatron Group’s AI Division in the aim to be at the forefront in Africa also proved my track record of success in the tech industry. My strong academic background in engineering and computer science, and my wealth of experience working on a variety of innovative tech, AI-driven projects are a testament to my focus on creating high-impact solutions tailored to the African context.


Is there anyone you like to express your gratitude towards for your success? If so, who, and why?

I owe my success to several people, but first and foremost, I would like to express my deepest gratitude to Ansu Sooful, the Founder & Group Chief Executive Officer of Aizatron Group. His relentless dedication, exceptional leadership, and unwavering faith in my abilities have played a crucial role in my professional journey. His vision and innovative approach have not only propelled our organization forward but have also consistently pushed me to strive for excellence in all my endeavours.

Secondly, I must express my heartfelt thanks to Ezra Anajonu, my Co-Founder & CEO at Bus54. Our shared vision and complementary skills have been the cornerstone of our success. Ezra's entrepreneurial spirit, strategic insight, and profound understanding of the African market have been invaluable. Working with him has been a source of continuous inspiration and learning.

Last, but definitely not least, I would like to thank my fiancé. Her unwavering support, encouragement, and understanding have been my anchor through all the ups and downs of my professional journey. Her faith in me, even in times when I may have doubted myself, has been a driving force behind my resilience and success. It is her love and companionship that infuse me with the strength and motivation to overcome challenges and continuously strive towards my goals.

I would also like to thank the Africa Tech Festival for recognizing my achievements and for providing me with this opportunity to share my story with others.


What advice would you give to someone interested in entering the 2023 Awards?

My advice to someone interested in entering the 2023 Awards would be to stay committed to the purpose of your work and its potential to make a positive impact.

Success in the tech industry comes from the relentless pursuit of solutions that address real-world problems. The African tech community is vibrant and supportive, and there are many opportunities for young people to make a difference. If you are passionate about using technology to solve real-world problems, then I encourage you to apply for the 2023 Awards. 

Embrace challenges, stay resilient during trying times, and remember the transformative power of technology. If your work aims to make a difference, recognition will follow.