Kwanele Hlabangana is a seasoned businessman and social entrepreneur with vast experience in Deal Structuring and Investments. He is the Co-Founder and Trustee of the UNISA-Africa Girl Development Programme (UNISA-AGDP), an Africa-wide strategic programme that seeks to invest in Girl Thought Leaders for Africa’s renewal through vigorously developing, nurturing and grooming girl leaders and young women in African communities. At the UNISA-AGDP, Kwanele leads the Investment Portfolio responsible for growing the UNISA-Africa Girl Development Fund.
He is also a Trustee and Director for Special Projects at the Joshua Nkomo Cultural Movement Trust (JNCMT), an organisation that seeks to preserve and promote the legacy and vision of the late Vice President of the Republic of Zimbabwe, Dr. Joshua Mqabuko Nyongolo Nkomo (Father Zimbabwe). He is currently a member of the Organising Committee that spearheads the Joshua Nkomo Centenary Celebrations and the Joshua Nkomo Annual Lecture series in partnership with the Office of the President and Cabinet Government of Zimbabwe.
Kwanele was born on the 22nd of August 1971 in Bulawayo, He started his primary education at Magwegwe Primary School in Bulawayo and went on to complete his primary education at Mtshatshane Primary School in the rural Nkayi District, Matabeleland North Province before proceeding to Mpumelelo Secondary School for his secondary education in the same area where he obtained his ‘O’ Levels. In 1991, he then relocated to the Republic of South Africa to pursue his education where he enrolled at Damelin Business College affiliated to the University of South Africa (UNISA) and at Boston College.
Kwanele is married to Siduduzile Hlabangana nee Mnkandla and they are blessed with five daughters, Gugulethu, Malaika, Lusanda, Sithembile and Nokuthaba. He is a member of the Muzi Ka Nkulunkulu (MKN) Religion and is an Evangelist.
He is very proficient in Business Administration, Marketing, Advertising, Public Relations and Publishing. After graduating from college, Kwanele decided to pursue business interests and started his business career with South Africa’s telecoms giant Vodacom where he became one of the first Dealers of the new Technology at the early inception of the Cellular Phone Industry in South Africa. He would later establish a business venture with Hewlett Packard (HP) for the processing of recycled printer and computer accessories.
His other business venture was a below-the line Advertising Agency: Martprof Advertising which was contracted by Gallo Music Company to promote Maskandi and Kwaito music artists and market their products in black townships in South Africa through Trailer Billboard Advertising. He also co-founded, Kaizer Industries (Pty) Ltd, a company associated with South Africa’s Soccer giant: Kaizer Chiefs Football Club. In Zimbabwe, he established the country’s first herbal pharmacies and a Health Restaurant under the Healthways brand. He was also involved in Biotechnology Research and the commercialization of natural remedies in partnership with Scientists at the University of Zimbabwe (UZ), where an attempt was made to introduce the country’s first herbal HIV Antidote called: (Gundamiti).
A serial entrepreneur indeed, Kwanele has been involved in numerous successful business ventures and projects in Southern Africa, amongst them, leading successful negotiations between the Ministry of Home Affairs-Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP), Ministry of Transport – Government of Zimbabwe and the Department of Transport – Government of South Africa for the Implementation of an ICT project: Home Affairs Command and Control Systems (HACCSY) and the introduction of NaTis in Zimbabwe under the SADC Protocol for Communications, Meteorology and Transport. He was further contracted by the Department of Agriculture Government of South Africa as a Communications Director tasked with the conceptualization and implementation of a Marketing Campaign in all the nine Provinces of South Africa under the Land Care Programme funded by AUSAID (Australian Government). Kwanele was also very instrumental in the formulation of the Draft National Diamond Beneficiation Policy for the Government of Zimbabwe in partnership with the Ministry of Defence Economic Development Department (DEDD).
Kwanele is very passionate and vocal on issues of value addition and beneficiation of our natural resources. As a result in 2013, through his Botswana based Diamond Training and Development Institute (AFRIMOND), Kwanele facilitated the successful training of members of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, officials from the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development, Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe (MMCZ), Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC) and local Diamond Polishing and Jewellery manufacturing companies to undergo a Diamond Foundation and Jewellery Manufacturing Course. The said Training took place at the Josiah Tongogara Army Barracks in Harare formerly KGVI.
Kwanele has also worked on a number of Investment projects in Zimbabwe, amongst them; in 2014 he led a delegation of a team to the People’s Republic of China tasked with the securing of a suitable Investor for the refurbishment of Bulawayo Thermal Power Station, Harare Thermal Power Station and Munyati Power Station. The team successfully secured adequate funding and a sound Technical Partner to implement the Projects. However, the negotiations and the signing of Agreements were later aborted by our partners in the project, Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) who decided that the projects should rather go to tender. Kwanele has proved beyond reasonable doubt that he is a capable leader and can help take Zimbabwe to great heights.