Dlulisa was inspired by the story of Mfundo Radebe, a Harvard student from South Africa. Mfundo was born in a township to a single mother, Nobuhle, who had him when she was high school which meant she could not continue with her education. She named him ‘mfundo’ which in Zulu means ‘education’ reflecting her desire to ensure her son would be educated. At age thirteen, he wrote to an American foundation asking for a high school scholarship. He was able to then attend a boys’ school. Further, Mfundo wrote constantly for two years to South Africa’s biggest educational company asking for a private high school scholarship. He was constantly turned down but never gave up until he was awarded the school’s first ever full scholarship. While there, Mfundo became a national debate champion, an international speech contest champion, and attained the school’s summa cum laude award. He was awarded a full scholarship to Harvard.
At Harvard, Mfundo met Miles Weddle, a South-African born American from New Jersey. Mfundo and Miles instantly connected over their passion for education and increasing access. Miles had founded an ed-tech startup from high school providing tutoring to hundreds of people in the American Northeast. He was inspired by Mfundo’s story and knew and understood the need for education intervention in South Africa having lived there as a child. The two reflected on what they could do and Dlulisa came about. Miles brings a sharp understanding of and experience in business while Mfundo has worked with non-profits in South Africa and has a clear vision and strategy for Dlulisa having grown up a vulnerable child in the township.