Amaz­ing peo­ple shar­ing their ideas

An ea­ger Cape Town au­di­ence gets ready for sto­ries of in­no­va­tion from the third TEDX

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - NEWS - REBECCA JACK­MAN

CON­VER­SA­TIONS about amaz­ing peo­ple and crazy places are on the agenda to­day, as the global phe­nom­e­non TEDx (Tech­nol­ogy, Ed­u­ca­tion and De­sign) comes to Cape Town, and with it an ar­ray of amaz­ing speak­ers com­mit­ted to the aim of be­ing in­for­ma­tive, creative, and pro­vid­ing ideas to in­spire pos­i­tive change.

Al­though the lo­cal event, at the Bax­ter Theatre, is sold out due to pop­u­lar de­mand, the or­gan­is­ers have ar­ranged for free live stream­ing to en­sure ac­cess for ev­ery­one.

TED is a global set of con­fer­ences owned by the pri­vate non-profit Sapling Foun­da­tion, un­der the slo­gan “ideas worth spread­ing”. Founded in 1984 as a once-off event, its pop­u­lar­ity mush­roomed world­wide, tak­ing lo­cally driven ideas and giv­ing them a global stage.

In 2009 TED be­gan li­cens­ing its con­cept to third par­ties, al­low­ing them to hold TED-like events un­der the con­cept of TEDx.

Now in its third year in Cape Town, the TEDx theme this time is “Amaz­ing Peo­ple, Crazy Places”, with speak­ers rang­ing from stand-up co­me­di­ans to sci­en­tists.

Rapelang Ra­bana was in­vited to to talk about her en­trepreneur­ship. Her talk fo­cuses on us­ing cell­phones as a study aid, which she be­lieves will sig­nif­i­cantly change learn­ing. She says im­prove­ments in learn­ing pro­cesses are es­sen­tial, and the best way is to em­brace mo­bile tech­nol­ogy.

Orig­i­nally from Botswana and then Joburg, she moved to Cape Town and fell in love with the city’s beauty, food and wine. Af­ter grad­u­at­ing from UCT she started Yeigo Com­mu­ni­ca­tions with friends. With Yeigo she launched tech­nol­ogy of­fer­ing voice- over- in­ter­net- pro­to­col ser­vices for cell­phones.

Af­ter sell­ing Yeigo, Ra­bana read pro­gres­sive ed­u­ca­tional re­search and de­cided to de­velop ways to use tech­nol­ogy as an aid to tra­di­tional ed­u­ca­tion.

“I wanted to look at how the tech­nolo­gies would be ap­pli­ca­ble in the South African con­text,” she said.

With per­son­alised learn­ing pro­grammes, the tech­nol­ogy will be suited to each stu­dent’s per­for­mance, of­fer­ing them “im­me­di­ate ac­cess to sup­port­ing in­for­ma­tion and feed­back that tra­di­tion­ally you have to wait for an ex­ter­nal party to pro­vide”.

The www. rekindle­learn­ing. com web­site will be launched at the end of the month.

Jil­lian Reilly pub­lished her mem­oir last year, Shame: Con­fes­sions of an Aid Worker in Africa – an ex­pose, cri­tique and re­flec­tion on aid in Africa.

Orig­i­nally from At­lanta, Ge­or­gia, she moved around the US be­fore com­ing to South Africa in 1993 as an “ide­al­is­tic 21-year-old” who saw an ex­per­i­ment in so­cial change, and wanted to ex­plore the po­ten­tial for change and trans­for­ma­tion here.

Armed with a de­gree in South­ern African his­tory, she de­cided to come and work on the elec­tions as soon as she grad­u­ated.

Reilly worked in Zimbabwe be­fore mov­ing to Lon­don, where she met her South African hus­band, and worked as a con­sul­tant for a de­vel­op­ment and aid agency. There she be­gan de­vel­op­ing strate­gies for how or­gan­i­sa­tions around the world could work more ef­fec­tively.

In her talk she’ll share per­sonal ex­pe­ri­ences in Mozam­bique which don’t fea­ture in her book, which fo­cuses on broader prob­lems in aid.

“It’s per­sonal and rooted in my own ex­pe­ri­ence,” she said.

“I don’t want to point the fin­ger at any­one.”

For­mer doc­tor- turne­den­trepreneur Johnny An­der­ton’s talk fo­cuses on his e-khaya pro­ject which de­vel­ops tran­si­tional hous­ing mod­els aimed at re­plac­ing shacks and pro­vid­ing sim­ple cost-ef­fec­tive ways to im­prove life in in­for­mal set­tle­ments.

The model uses sim­ple tech­nolo­gies and so­lar power for heat­ing, and is de­signed to be sim­ple enough to be built by home­own­ers, so elim­i­nat­ing the cost of labour.

“The labour com­po­nent is the en­ergy and en­thu­si­asm of the home­owner,” he said.

Each unit mea­sures about 14m² and can com­fort­ably sleep two adults and three chil­dren. Sleep­ing plat­forms can in­crease the size of the unit to about 20m². The cost comes in at about R9 000, not much more than the cost of ma­te­ri­als for a shack. But the dif­fer­ence is that it will be safer be­cause it’s fire and flood-proof, and will have hot wa­ter, a ba­sic stove and cell­phone-charg­ing fa­cil­i­ties.

An­der­ton wants to pro­vide train­ing to “e-khaya en­trepreneurs” in com­mu­ni­ties to build the units and use the base frame to start a small busi­ness, so spread­ing the ex­per­tise fur­ther and pro­vid­ing bet­ter homes for more peo­ple.

“It’s the same foot­print as a shack,” says An­der­ton. “It’s sim­ply about re­plac­ing that struc­ture with a bet­ter, safer one.”

For more in­for­ma­tion on the speak­ers, and how to ac­cess the stream, see www. tedxcapetown.org.

THE FORK: Al­most ev­ery­one in Cape Town is fa­mil­iar with this Sea Point in­ter­sec­tion where the Main Road splits into Kloof and Re­gent roads, but no one seems to re­mem­ber the name of the lit­tle round church in the ‘then’ pic­ture sup­plied by the Cape Ar­chives. St Ge­orge’s Cathe­dral his­to­rian Ju­dith Gor­don be­lieves it was the chapel for the cathe­dral ceme­tery that was on this spot, and closed in the late 1800s. Week­end Ar­gus pho­tog­ra­pher Ian Lands­berg took the pic­ture of the Sea Point Fire Sta­tion and a se­cu­rity com­pany build­ing that oc­cupy the site to­day. If any­one knows any more about the lit­tle round chapel, please con­tact Gor­don on 021 689 1800.

Send in pic­tures of old Cape Town, with any date and back­ground in­for­ma­tion you have, to Box 56, Cape Town, 8000; to 122 St Ge­orge’s Mall, Cape Town, 8001; or to arg­pix@inl.co.za. Please mark them clearly for the Week­end Ar­gus Pic­ture Edi­tor – Then and Now. If you would like your pic­ture back, please in­clude your ad­dress.

PIC­TURE: TRACEY ADAMS

BUILD­ING: Johnny An­der­ton works to de­velop sim­ple, cost­ef­fec­tive ideas to im­prove the lives of peo­ple liv­ing in in­for­mal set­tle­ments.

AID WORK: Jil­lian Reilly’s mem­oir is a cri­tique of aid pro­grammes in Africa.

CALL­ING: Rapelang Ra­bana fo­cuses on us­ing cell­phones as ed­u­ca­tional aids.

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