The TEDxSummerstrand event took place at the NMMU South Campus auditorium on Monday 6 May 2013. Leading up this event I experienced a lot of anticipation as in 2007 I attended TED Global in Arusha, Tanzania as a TED Fellow.
TED stands for Technology Entertainment and Design and the speakers at these organised events are usually representative of a wide spectrum of fields
TEDx is the franchised version of the big annual TED Conference that used to take place in California and Oxford. A wonderful team of NMMU students was lead by TEDx project manager, Blessing Jonamu and students from the architecture department helped to put together some of the props on the stage. The high number of views on Youtube for these TEDx lectures are a testament to the quality of the speakers and organisers worldwide.
Tha bar has been set very high by similar events like TEDxSoweto and TEDxCapeTown in the past few years. By 6:00 pm the auditorium was almost half full and I estimate we had between 80 and 100 people who attended, many students and some industry professionals from companies like Vodacom.
After a brief introduction by Chris Andserson, the curator of the TED Conference, we were off to a cracking start with Sabelo Sibanda. Sibanda’s talk was on developing new business ideas that are not just good but work. His company is developing a sub-R1000 tablet for the African market. This is in contrast to the Afripad I’ve seen already developed in Nigeria.
The second speaker was a truly passionate artist, Nomsa Mazwai. She is an economist who is developing an innovative initiative in arts, education and economic development in the Eastern Cape. The major focus of her talk was on the development of the Emthonjeni Arts centre in Hamburg at the mouth of the Keiskamma River in the former Ciskei. One funny moment was when the MC tried to walk on the stage and she was very firm in asseting her right to use her full 18 minutes allocated to each of the speakers.
As with all TEDx events there are videos live screened from the TED.com website. The two chosen were closely tied to the theme of this event, “Unlock the mind, Unchain the passion.” The first video show was featuring Ludwick Marishane who developed a product used for a dry bath, a bath without using water.
Ongama Mtimka blew me away with demonstrating how his Ubuntu Fund NGO is changing lives in Zwide township in Port Elizabeth They also have offices in London and use their resources to unlock potential from cradle to grave. They accomplish this by focusing on supporting orphans from townships through school and beyond to complete their education achieve higher goals. One of their students is currently a Top 10 student in United Kingdom. The video he showed during his presentation turned the tables on everyone in the audience. It’s too wonderful to describe, so I will leave it to your imagination.
Tariro Anifasi, a spoken word poet who’s also a student at the university, demanded our attention with the wonderful delivery of her poem, Clay or Stone for London Bridge. This was followed by a short video with 13-year old inventor Richard Turere who developed a new way to combat attacks by lions to his tribal cattle at night. He comes from the Masai people who still value herding cattle to this day.
My own lecture was about Cyberbullying – A Reality Check. After massive failure on using Prezi.com to develop a interactive presentation, I had to redo it at the last minute using LibreOffice. My main thesis was that we have sacrificed our privacy for the conveniences offered by social media. As we continue to give away our privacy, incidents of cyberbullying and online abuse as well as spam and scams increase.
The TEDxSummerstrand event was a major success when reflecting on the feedback from the audience during and after the event. Perhaps the limitations of hosting this on a Monday, impacted slightly on the attendance. I do recommend that on the follow-up events, the organisers places some emphasis on providing more time for networking.
For more information people may contact the organisers for future events in Port Elizabeth at email@example.com or on the TEDxSummerstrand Facebook page.
Visit the Speakers: