I am a facilitator, advisor and public speaker supporting business, government and civil society leaders to drive positive social change. My pursuit is implementing strategies that foster digital equality and innovation across Africa. My tactical focus rests on delivering impact at a community level, cost-effectively and efficiently. I serve on boards and provide cross-sector counsel to diverse leadership. In short, I facilitate conversations that inspire new directions.
As a serial entrepreneur focusing on the power, potential and contradictions of the digital and entertainment landscape in Africa, my skill and art has been my ability to see the gap between the frames. To ask the difficult questions that open up fresh perspectives. To explore the ingenuity and creativity of spaces that unsettle us. To look and listen for new ways of doing things.
Now more than ever, we need to re-look and re-design our societal systems. Fringe cultures, indigenous wisdom, surprising strategies of survival on the messy, less visible edges of society – all offer clues to richer, more effective, more meaningful ways of being, both in business and in our personal lives.
It took recovering from cancer to realise that I needed to come home to myself, relook at my own systems, and deeply question the unseen gaps in my own world. What has become clear: I am at a turning point in my life. Taking stock of decades of passion-fueled work, I can now be most effective sharing what I’ve learnt. Moving key issues forward in larger venues as a global speaker, advisor and facilitator.
I would love to be your field guide into the rich potential of Africa’s urban territories in our uncertain, fragile world.
Named one of the top 10 women in Science & Technology in Africa
Voted as one of the top 50 women globally in mobile entertainment for two consecutive years
Elected as one of South Africa’s top business women
Elected as one of the 20 most powerful women in technology in Africa
Elected as one of the top 60 Women in Africa changing the technology narrative
Judge for the Digital Emmies for the last five years
Founded the first animation body of South Africa, AnimationSA.org that set the tone for the animation industry at a Government level
Founded the first Animation Festival at the Sithengi Film Market of South Africa
Animation produced for Sesame Street won the Global Prize for Outstanding Animation Programming at the World Media Festival
Founded Mobfest, the first African festival for mobile videos
Co-produced South Africa’s first animated documentary (Beyond Freedom) that was solicited by National Geographic through the All Roads Film Project. The film premiered in Los Angeles and Washington DC, screened at prestigious festivals, including Toronto, and was nominated for a Golden Bear award (Berlin).
Was instrumental in the opening of Mobile Entertainment Forum (MEF) Africa office, fully funded by Vodacom and had a steering committee composed of MTN, Telkom, Vodacom, Nokia, Samsung, Barclays Bank, to name but a few
Board member of Wiki in Africa
"I remember sitting in the audience at my first SA Innovation Summit and seeing Emma on stage. She was up there amongst three other men, debating the topic of the 4th industrial revolution. The way she stood up for her views and what she believed in so strongly was such an inspiration to me. I made sure to go and meet and chat to Emma afterwards and since then I had the pleasure of working on a very special project with her. Emma is a thought leader and innovative thinker and I have been influenced very positively by her work."
Shannon McLaughlin, Ubuntu Baba Founder
"Emma Kaye is one of the original, most knowledgeable and true thought leaders in the digital space. I still remember seeing her keynote at Mobile Web Africa almost 10 years ago and was inspired by her genuine passion and willingness to share her hands-on learnings from her wealth of experience in the African economy. Emma, definitely raises the quality of any conference or panel discussion if she is on the agenda."
Lynette Hundermark, Co-Founder Useful and Beautiful
The Gathering – Daily Maverick
Cape Town, South Africa
Subject: 4IR Revolution: Grassroot Problems, Grassroot Solutions
Wilton Park - an executive agency of the
UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Sussex, United Kingdom
Subject: The Future of Cities, Regions and Communities
BM Global Innovation Outlook
New York, USA
Subject: Mobile Content in Africa, its Uses for Social Change
Google – Global Women Techmakers, Africa: Women Who Inspire
London, United Kingdom
Subject: How to overcome adversity, sources of inspiration and what are the future expectations
African Media Leadership
The Power of Digital and Access to the Internet
What People Have to Say
Chair Internet Watch Foundation
"What has impressed me working with Emma in various roles is that she is driven by achieving systemic change in Africa, focusing on the outcome of a project or programme rather than simply numerical outputs."
Nangamso Naydia Boo
"My experience with Emma has inspired me to carry on doing the good work in all communities that I can reach. I can make a positive and lasting impact in any community, and I can do that with integrity, respect and commitment."
Director Digital Leadership
Department of Economic Development and Tourism
"Her tenacity, innovativeness, and passion for digital inclusion impressed me and is really exemplary. She is strategically sound and applies governance principles with the meticulousness and character it demands. She is a problem solver and a solution-finder and works hard at building and maintaining relationships across a wide array of stakeholders.
What Emma achieved was phenomenal and she has been a champion for township integration into the digital economy.
Sea Monster Animation Studio
"Emma is without doubt one of the smartest, most accomplished people I have ever met. She manages to combine a deep understanding of technology, with exceptional skills and experience as an entrepreneur, facilitator and manager. She has a profound insight into how technology and media can be used to drive social and business outcomes at scale."
Co-author Moonshot Effect
"With her deep “insider” perspective, Emma is vigilant to ensure that investments and initiatives don’t just deliver feel-good numbers, bur rather create real and meaningful outcomes and impact."