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Reagan Tembo is an innovator and a household name in Zambia. When lack of funds put a stop to his education after school, Tembo continued inventing electronic scraps that were lying around his house.
When he didn’t have money to call his family, he didn’t fret. Instead, he invented ‘free call,’ an application that enabled communication without the need for airtime. He developed this project within the confines of his home by using ordinary electronic materials.
He ‘demonstrated’ his device and ‘skill’ to people in the town and tried to raise money for college education. During this time, Zambia Information and Communications Technology Authority (ZICTA) invited this passionate innovator to join its Zambia ICT College on a 100 percent scholarship.
He pursued further studies and completed his Bachelor of Science in Information Technology at Texila American University.
“The Bachelor’s degree in IT opened doors to a new future, he says.
Describing the program, Tembo said, “the curriculum was well structured, and we had a lot of practical assignments to do, and the labs were a class apart.”
“The modules provided 100 percent satisfaction,” he said, adding, “the mentors were greatly supportive and pushed us to complete tasks.”
“The teaching faculty was efficient and offered to help complete assignments.”
Tembo says that he struck good friendships during his days at Texila, and “some of my friends helped choose a good career in this competitive world.”
Today, he is a cyber-security officer with the Zambian Technology Authority. He is part of a team responsible for protecting the IT infrastructure, network, and data.
“There is also a constant battle a cyber-security expert has to wage against hate speech, fake news, and bank account takeover,” he said.
In an earlier role, Tembo was responsible for tracking down bad guys, who gain access to personal information by fraud and resort to blackmail or extortion.”
Citing a case, he said that he rescued about 150 women from an extortion racket by tracking down the group demanding money in exchange for compromising photographs the women had shared in return for jobs.
“It was a case of desperation and helplessness,” and had impacted him a lot. “I was happy to solve problems for people.”
He invented a GPS-tracked device that can help recover just about any belonging that was stolen, for instance. You can have your car or television fitted with this device to “call you back” and reveal its “whereabouts.”
He got shaken when his ailing grandmother died of a drug overdose and created a ‘reminder’ device designed to alert you when it is time to take your medication. It’s a constant companion which manages the medication regimen for those under treatment, sometimes for life.
Reagan Tembo, who has been felicitated by no less than the President of Zambia, continues to innovate while traveling in safety vehicles and living a limited social life due to the risks associated with this job.