Barbara Mallinson

Barbara Mallinson

Barbara Mallinson is the young South African entrepreneur who founded Obami. She was born and schooled in Johannesburg, matriculated with a university scholarship, and went on to study a B.Bus.Sci in Marketing at UCT.

Fresh from her studies, Barbara moved to London, where she climbed the online marketing ladder, working for large corporate organisations. After gaining invaluable experience, she decided to follow her life long dream of starting up her own business. And so, with the backing of a UK Government Grant, Obami was born.

Obami ( is a social networking site that’s been developed specifically for schools; facilitating communication and collaboration between and amongst pupils, teachers and parents. Understanding the importance of online safety, Barbara built Obami as a walled garden – a safe environment for kids to interact with each other, and the adults in their lives. She also chose to offer Obami for free so that any school would be able to realise the beneficial role that social media can play in support of face-to-face communications (a number of other well thought out revenue streams allowing for this).

Barbara then made the decision to bring Obami back to South Africa to try and make a difference in the country that she’s always called home. It hasn’t arrived unnoticed, and Obami was selected as IS Labs’ first incubation project, with schools lining up to join those already on board.

When not glued to a computer, Barbara enjoys kite-surfing, wake-boarding, snowboarding and breathing in nature. She currently resides with her partner in Knysna, although spends the majority of her time in other cities, spreading the good news about Obami to SA’s schools.

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