Women in Intelligent Automation – Tholang Mathopa

We are privileged to speak with Tholang about her mission to train 1 million African women in Robotic Process Automation and Intelligent Automation by 2025;

Hi Tholang, I am excited to have you join us today. Thank you for accepting the invitation
This is perfect Winnie, I am honored to be here. I thank Waithera for introducing me to the work you do.

Kindly tell us who you are and what you do
My name is Tholang Mathopa, born and bred in Atteridgeville, Pretoria in South Africa. I am an Artificial Intelligence (AI) Specialist, Founder, and CEO at Leriba AI, an Artificial Intelligence-Automation company in Johannesburg, South Africa that leverages cutting-edge research based on Deep Learning Artificial Intelligence methodologies to process documents similar to the way the human mind does

I studied Computer Systems at Heriot-Watt University in Scotland, with a major in Artificial Intelligence. My background is in Management Consulting with 9 years of experience in Business Intelligence, Enterprise Architecture, and Analytics. For the past 6 years, I have been specializing in future-proofing businesses using Intelligent Automation and AI solutions for corporates across the US, UK, and Asia, during my tenure at a company in New York.

I realized the dire need for Future of Work skills development in my home country, South Africa, and returned to start RPA Nuggets, now Leriba AI, to alleviate unemployment through Future of Work skills development. RPA Nuggets has since morphed into the AI-Automation solutions provider that it is today.

My vision is to up-skill a million women in Africa in Intelligent Automation by 2025 to increase representation and leadership for African women in technology, through the 2025 1M Women in Robotic Process Automation Initiative. This is a proactive approach to ensuring that women are equipped with key skills and qualifications to become active players in the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) economy.

It’s wonderful to meet like-minded women who believe in the bright future that Africa has!

Let’s talk about some of your challenges and inspirations in entrepreneurship and life in general
Challenges – Experiencing gate-keeping in business has been a great challenge. I believe this can be resolved if people understood that there is a pie big enough for all of us. Also, up-lifting someone doesn’t come at the expense of taking yourself down. If anything, it is more rewarding and fulfilling because you get to positively impact someone’s life.

Inspirations – As a natural problem solver, going through the ups and downs of life inspires me to think broadly and find solutions. Although the ‘low lows’ of life can seem to defeat, I never allow resistance to discourage me from taking action and staying the course in what I believe in, and that is quite inspiring.

Tell us about your most prestigious moments as you navigate life and its challenges

  • RPA Nuggets received the Go Be Human Award from Automation Anywhere for our 2025 1M Women in RPA Initiative.

  • I received a nomination as one of the speakers at the AI Expo Africa Exhibition in 2021 and 2022

  • We have trained and qualified 1000 women in Robotic Process Automation and Intelligent Automation. 70% of our trainees have become employed within the first 3 months post the program and 30% have started their own businesses.

What do you enjoy doing outside work?
I love gardening, cooking, and baking; I pride myself in knowing how to grow things from the ground and turn them into scrumptious meals. Travelling is like therapy to me, once a month, I go to a different place to recharge and draw inspiration. I also learned knitting during the first hard lockdowns in 2020 and now and then, I sit and make beanies for my friends and family.

My baby brother and I

What is your favorite quote?
“It always seems impossible until it is done” ~ Nelson Mandela.

How would you encourage a young African girl who is passionate about Intelligent Automation?
Don’t feel qualified for that job? Apply. Don’t feel ready to start a business – Start. Don’t feel encouraged to send an application to that prestigious school? Send it. BET ON YOURSELF!

Thank you so much, Tholang! With your busy schedule, your perfect response to emails challenges me a lot! Thanks for the amazing work you do with women in Intelligent Automation. I look forward to what we can do together for Africa.

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