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Q&A with Social Entrepreneur, Kekeletso Khena

Tell us about who you are and what you do for a living

My Name is Kekeletso Khena I am 39. I am the Chief Technology Officer of K Squared Group,  a multi divisional company founded in 2012. As a social entrepreneur whose quest for an appropriate response to the call to find bio tech based industrialised, socio economic solutions to the South Africa’s challenges, I was inspired to establish K Squared Cosmetics and K Squared Agro Processing divisions.

K Squared Cosmetics is responsible for research and development of a 3600 virgin ethnic hair care system, which is a combination of a unique product range supported by specialised in-salon treatment protocols to meet the needs of the growing natural hair community. K Squared Agro Processing is responsible for securing, sourcing and the extraction of the unique Southern African Development Community (SADC) indigenous ingredient Alpha, required for our unique hair care system.

What’s your favourite quote?

“Do not remove the kinks from your hair, remove them from your brain.”

What is your definition of an entrepreneur?

Someone who solves societal challenges for a fee/ profit

Three words that best describe you?

Resilient, Innovative, Passionate

Please share with us one of your childhood memories that you can never forget.

I think being raped at 14 by 3 men epitomizes my childhood. It cost me a lot; my best friend, my youth, my sense of self, my sense of security, faith. It changed the cause of my life. It also shaped the person I am today because it taught me to keep going. It taught me that what people think of me and what they do does not define me or what I can be

What does heritage mean to you?

It mean Roots, it mean a foundation something for me to build on. A celebration of the ones who came before me and a reminder to carry on the legacy of my people.

What makes you proud to be South African.

South Africans make it happen, when push comes to shove we get it done, we have the ability to overcome challenges and just make it work.

What’s the one unpleasant thing that you have experienced in this career that you want to share with people?

Industrial research facilities steal IP/ working with unscrupulous scientists can derail your plans as they advance your ideas and make them theirs. My advice is to ensure you have an NDA and it is enforceable.

What’s the one thing that makes your blood boil?

Government institutions that misuse startup development funding.

What is this chapter in your life called?

Growing roots.

Tell us about your fears?

I am scared of failure, I am scared of dying without a legacy, I am scared that I will have come and left and had no impact on anybody or anything except my negative carbon footprint on the earth.

What is your advice to the 13 year old version of you about her professional future?

Be a kid, be happy, you are going to be great, You are going to change the world bio sciences, you are going to be the voice that speaks to the prevalence of great African Science and driver of healing African technologies. YOU ARE GOING TO BE OK!