The origin

More than 2 decades ago, an impact organisation was born at the tip of Africa in Cape Town.

The Cape IT Initiative and the Bandwidth Barn was established in 1999, by a group of civic activists with a vision to build a future-fit, inclusive society through technology and innovation. They dreamed of a future where all Africans could become part of the digital economy to build an innovative, resilient society through entrepreneurial and digital skills development and by stimulating economic clusters with opportunity for growth within the ecosystem.

The journey

The organisation evolved into the Cape Innovation & Technology Initiative (CiTi) in 2015 and the Bandwidth Barn, known as the oldest tech incubator in Africa, expanded to the informal economy and the township of Khayelitsha to provide dedicated support to entrepreneurs that have been excluded from participating in the digital economy.

CiTi identified the lack of financial inclusion as being a constraint to participation for many people in the economy. In 2015, a FinTech cluster was launched to support innovation and financial inclusion in the financial services industry and to support blockchain initiatives. Barclays Rise selected CiTi’s Cape Town FinTech cluster as the home for its Africa FinTech Accelerator and Innovation Hub resulting in a substantial investment in the local economy. CiTi’s FinTech cluster was internationally recognised as being a major catalyst for Cape Town’s FinTech boom and becoming the tech capital of Africa.

The organisation also initiated bespoke interventions to address specific areas that could unlock substantial growth such as CapaCiTi Digital Career Accelerator, which produces digitally skilled labour for a growing tech sector and a campus was opened in Cape Town and Johannesburg. As an answer to the question of how we support the improvement of education outcomes in Africa, CiTi established Injini, an edtech-focussed incubator helping businesses in Pan Africa to grow and scale.

The latest addition to the group, BioCiTi, was established to stimulate access to the bioeconomy and unlock opportunities for entrepreneurs and scientists with a state-of-the-art shared laboratory and incubation programme.

The future

Growing our physical presence and impact from Cape Town to Johannesburg and in 2022 to Kigali and supporting entrepreneurs in East Africa, CiTi and the Bandwidth Barn is now evolving its brand to reflect our future vision more clearly. Our new name and visual identity reaches back into the wisdom of our past and stretches forward into the possibilities of our future!

UVU Africa designs and builds a future-fit inclusive society through innovation & technology. We drive inclusive growth of the digital economy through business incubation, skills development, and through key projects that unlock industry growth as well as ecosystem development through open innovation and collaboration. We build future societies, today.

UVUmbuzi is a Swahili verb for invent, discover, or reveal and used as a synonym for innovation. UVU also happens to be a palindrome (a word fractal). UVU in sound, design and meaning takes our core mission and manifests it in the world.

We take our lead from our core purpose of designing & creating an optimal future through innovation. We draw inspiration from nature’s optimal design structure – fractals – and the conscious use of fractal technology in centuries-old African artisanal, civic, architectural, design, cultural and spiritual practices.

A fractal is a simple pattern that repeats itself at different scales – a tree is a branch of a branch of a branch; mountains are peaks within peaks; clouds are puffs of puffs, and so on. Fractals are patterns, that can be described mathematically, that allow the most innovation, creativity, and resilience to exist, and their emergent intelligence powers the universe. It’s been shown that fractal code systems used in ancient African practices are the basis of what we now know as binary code, which powers the digital world.

A powerful modern African brand that reflects our inclusive values while being inspirational, ambitious, and trusted. Established in 1999, the organisation has significantly impacted the growth of the Cape Town and South African technology and entrepreneurship ecosystem.

UVU Africa is extending & evolving its existing work and impact achieved in the last two decades even further throughout the African continent.

About us 1
About us 1

Over 20+ years of Innovation

Cluster Muster of ICT
A catalytic event that brought like-minded individuals together that wanted to ensure a future-fit, inclusive society in Cape Town, South Africa and Africa.
Incorporated CiTi
CiTi was established as a NPC (not-for-profit company) to build and energise an inclusive digital economy in Cape Town.
CiTi in Ovenstone House - incubator for Bandwidth Barn
 First physical premises/office dedicated for CiTi.
Launch of Bandwidth Barn in Lower Long Street
Milestone to bring likeminded people together and first shared co-working space for tech businesses. The Barn becomes the centre of tech ecosystem and events in Cape Town. Co-funded by Department of Trade and Industry (national government).
VeloCiTi launches
Incubation and entrepreneurial programmes for tech startups and businesses that want to scale.
Bandwidth Barn expands to new premises in Buitengracht Street
 Bandwidth Barn moves to bigger premises to allow for expansion.
CapaCiTi is launched
Industry indicated a shortage of tech/digital skills, CapaCiTi launched to assist with training young South Africans for the digital/tech skill needs of business.
Bandwidth Barn expansion and move to Woodstock Exchange Building as anchor tenant
 Bandwidth Barn moves to Woodstock to enable further expansion. ‘Anchor tenant’ in developing this underdeveloped part of this city as a tech and creative node.
CapaCiTi launches BASA
Focus on skills development of unemployed graduates with the first post-grad diploma (with the University of Cape Town) proves to be a very successful programme to launch digital career as Business Analysts.
BWBK launches
Launch of Khayelitsha Bandwidth Barn to contribute to Township Economy and digital skills transformation in informal settlements.
First Women In Business programme launched
Helping female-owned businesses adopt tech tools that can improve efficiency within their businesses.
Telkom Futuremakers
Partnership for Innovation, Incubation and Acceleration, CiTi signs a multi-million rand 3-year project investment with National Telco.
FinTech cluster launched
CiTi identified the lack of financial inclusion as being a constraint to participation for many people in the economy. A FinTech cluster was launched to support innovation in the financial services industry and to support blockchain and cryptocurrency initiatives.
Blockchain Academy launches at the Bandwidth Barn
The Blockchain Academy was established in 2015 and was the first of its kind in Africa.
Name change from Cape IT Initiative to Cape Innovation & Technology Initiative
Poised for growth and focus on creating a future-fit, inclusive society through innovation and technology, recognising that IT/ICT is no longer a sector but that a digitisation of the entire economy is taking place.
Barclays Rise becomes a member FinTech cluster with $1.5m investment
Barclays Rise (now known as Absa Work in Progress), provides shared innovation space and incubation for fintech startups and facilitates co-creation of FinTech solutions.
Launch of The Hub @ Media24
CiTi in partnership with Media24 (Naspers) opened The Hub @ Media24, with the purpose of training developers to fill the digital media skills pipeline.
Launch of Thomson Reuters Labs
Thomson Reuters launched the Thomson Reuters Labs™ in Bandwidth Barn. The Lab’s purpose was to engage with the region’s vibrant innovation ecosystem and dynamic startup community to fuel growth and empower success for customers worldwide. The Lab delivered Bankable Farmer, connecting banks through data and technology to small farmers in Africa, creating financial inclusion by providing Banks the confidence to lend to farmers with no credit profile.
Launch of TravelTech Cluster
The TravelTech cluster has a focus on creating linkages between developers, entrepreneurs, innovators and business within the digital travel value chain.
Launch of high-speed (300mps), low latency, uncontended connectivity in the Bandwidth Barn
Telkom and CiTi partnered to launch a high-speed network targeting big data analysts and gamers. The organisations unveiled a 300Mbps fibre connection at the opening of The Basement co-working space and innovation lab in the Woodstock Exchange in Cape Town.
Launched Africa’s first EdTech cluster
CiTi believes that technology has the power to transform education in Africa. Africa’s first EdTech Open Innovation Cluster was launched to support and encourage startups that are looking to impact and change the education system in South Africa and indeed the entire continent.
Launch FinTech Academy in South Africa
Combined international expertise, along with local core capability to bridge the cutting edge of FinTech trends internationally with relevant South and African applicability.
First Royal Academy of Engineering programme facilitated by CiTi
First Pan African initiative when CiTi was appointed as training and incubation partner for the Royal Academy of Engineering’s Africa Prize for 2018 and 2019. Cohort finalists included Kenya, Nigeria, Uganda and South Africa.
BCX and CiTi partnership with CiTiX
BCX (a premier end-to-end digital solutions partner in Africa) committed to investing $7.6 million to grow scarce digital skills in ICT infrastructure and software programming alongside cyber security, fintech and artificial intelligence over three years, in partnership with CiTi.
CiTi unlocks $19m to support technology skills and job creation in South Africa
South African National Treasury (part of SA government) ran a competitive bid process through an initiative aimed at stimulating employment, called the Jobs Fund. In a year-long selection process over a 1 000 competitive bids were evaluated and CapaCiTi were one of a handful of winners and were awarded a $5.7m grant over 3 years, with the obligation of raising another $11.5m in match funding and creating 3 000 jobs for unemployed youth.
Launch of new CapaCiTi campuses in Cape Town and Johannesburg
To accommodate the scale up of students, CapaCiTi launched two state of the art campuses in two major cities in South Africa accommodating 300 students in total.
Launched specialised EdTech incubator - Injini
Specialised incubator for startups across Africa that can influence education and learning across the entire education value chain from early childhood development until tertiary education (and later).
Publication of Endeavor Insight Report
An evaluation and network analysis of the Cape Town - Stellenbosch Tech Sector, part of a world-wide best practice (as developed by Endeavor Insight), was conducted, concluded that Cape Town is the most productive tech ecosystem in Africa. The conclusions of the report recognised CiTi’s significant role in cluster creation and catalysing the digital ecosystem, which led to this outcome.
Explore Data Science Academy launches campus at Bandwidth Barn
The Explore Data Science Academy is leading the way in teaching students how to solve real world problems with the latest tool, algorithms and platforms. Providing credited 1-year long Data Science training to young people from across South Africa.
Digital skills partnership launch
It is a powerful national partnership to grow South Africa's youth talent for the digital economy with founding organisations Harambee Youth Employment Accelerator, Cape Innovation & Technology Initiative (CiTi), Explore Data Science Academy, WeThinkCode, Tshimologong and the Johannesburg Centre for Software Engineering at WITS University.
Launched specialised incubator and lab for Biotech - BioCiTi
Specialised incubator for startups across Africa within the biotech sector and first non-university open innovation laboratory.
CapaCiTi launched learning platform and App
CapaCiTi’s experiential learning focus has resulted in the  development of a holistic training and internship programme that is designed to integrate Future World of Work skills and technical training. CapaCiTi developed a learning platform that is hosted on OpenEdx (platform behind Harvard and MIT's edX) and a data sensitive application that compliments the online learning platform they use while on campus.
Rebranded to UVU Africa

The board

UVU NPC board is made of a mix of experienced entrepreneurs, business executives and scientists.

Joshin Raghubar

Chair of the Board

Ian Merrington


Ashley Minnaar


Brendan Hughes

Greg Reis

Raven Naidoo

Fabian Whate

Ian Russel