Amazing people sharing their ideas
An eager Cape Town audience gets ready for stories of innovation from the third TEDX
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Please mark them clearly for the Weekend Argus Picture Editor – Then and Now. If you would like your picture back, please include your address.
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.