Speakers

Catherine Foxcroft – Pianist

Hailed as one of South Africa’s finest concert pianists, Catherine Foxcroft combines a vibrant career in music as soloist, chamber musician, teacher, and researcher. She holds a BMus from UCT, Performer’s Licentiate from UNISA, and the Konzertdiplom from the Hochschule fur Musik und Theater, Hannover, Germany. While studying in Germany, she was a prize winner at several international competitions before returning to SA in 2003, where she is senior lecturer at Rhodes Department of Music and Musicology. Her CD recordings of solo and concerto performances, such as Gershwin Rhapsody in Blue, Prokofiev Piano Concerto No 3, Beethoven No 3 are frequently broadcast on SAfm and FMR. A DMus student at the University of Pretoria, she is passionate about her research in music psychology. She has presented her research findings at national and international conferences since 2010. In 2011 she initiated an interdisciplinary course at Rhodes – Music, Health, and the Brain – which explores the complex roles that music plays in society, and the direct health benefits which humans enjoy when engaging with music.

Catherine’s TEDx talk: “The Sound of Survival”


Harry Owen – Poet & Sanele Ntshinagna – Student | Rhodes University

Harry Owen is a highly experienced poet, performer, teacher and writer.  He served as the inaugural Poet Laureate for Cheshire (UK) in 2003, before moving to Grahamstown, South Africa in 2008, where he resides today.

His work, which has been widely published in literary journals and anthologies in the UK, USA and South Africa, includes five collections of poetry of which he is the author: Searching for Machynlleth (2000), The Music of Ourselves (2004), Five Books of Marriage (2008), Non-Dog (2010) and Worthy: poems for my father (2011) as well as two poetry anthologies of which he is the editor: I Write Who I Am: an anthology of Upstart poetry (Poets Printery, East London, RSA; 2011) [featuring the work of nineteen young poets from township schools in Grahamstown] and For Rhino in a Shrinking World: an international anthology (Poets Printery, East London, RSA; pending 2012).

Harry has performed in a diverse set of venues ranging from schools, universities and theatres to community centres, churches and even a prison! He has proven to be a highly successful workshop facilitator and also hosts the hugely popular open-floor poetry event -Reddits Poetry – which is held monthly in Grahamstown.

Sanele, 19, grew up in Hlalani, just outside Grahamstown, and attended Nathaniel Nyaluza High School. A friend from America, Jason Torreano, a volunteer at the school, introduced him to poetry and creative writing, and in the same year (2008) he joined Shireen Badat’s Upstart programme as a founder member. It was then that he started composing his own poems, and attending poetry workshops and shows.

Sanele’s writing, as demonstrated in his lyrical contributions to the anthology I Write Who I Am, is vibrant, confident and moving. He is now in his first year as a BSc student at Rhodes University.

Harry & Sanele’s TEDx talk: “How to Make Nothing Happen”


Morongoa Masebe – Poet, Student

Morongoa Masebe is a third year B.A. student at Rhodes University, majoring in English Literature and Politics. Morongoa is a strong believer in empowerment through poetry and uses spoken word to create awareness. She believes passionately in the ability of art to be used as a medium of change or “betterment”. Africans have a rich history of spoken word, and she believes it can still be used as a means to communicate a narrative that encourages the mindset of the youth to incline towards a more positive direction. She believes that poetry is something all Africans understand and appreciate and that poetry/art can therefore be used to speak to the heart of all African people; to capture the attention of the youth and encourage them to participate in discussions regarding more serious issues as well as inspire them to work together to foster change.

Morongoa’s TEDx talk: “The Teacher Named Art”


Harry Dugmore – Media fundi | Rhodes University

Few people are more connected to the pulse of Africa and its future than Professor Harry Dugmore, currently the Director of the Discovery Centre for Health Journalism at Rhodes University’s School of Journalism and Media Studies.
Harry helped coordinate the South African Presidency’s “2014 – Memories of the Future” project and “2025 -The Future we Chose” scenario building exercise. He also helped develop Gauteng Province’s “Vision 2055” programme. Before joining Rhodes University in 2009 as MTN Chair of Media and Mobile Communication, Harry was co-programme manager of “Khomanani”, government’s large-scale HIV and AIDS/TB and STI awareness campaign, having also worked on “Soul City” TV and Radio programming. Harry created”On the Money – the Big Five Secrets of Money Management”, for Old Mutual, a highly regarded financial education program. Harry edited the best-selling book book “Nelson Mandela, a Life in Cartoons” and was part of the “Madam & Eve” team until 2002. Harry has a PhD from the University of the Witwatersrand.

Harry’s TEDx talk: “The Laughing Child”


Lethabo Ntshudisane – Techno Fan | Rhodes University

Lethabo Ntshudisane is a technology fanatic whose goal in life is to create technologies that will aid people in their everyday lives. He fell in love with technology at the age of 12 when he used a computer for the first time. Since then, he is constantly discovering and interacting with interesting and innovative technologies. In his early years of high school he aspired to become a multimedia specialist, but in his final year he discovered his passion and love was for innovation and thereby recognized his goal to be an innovator in the technology world. Lethabo is a 3rdyear Rhodes University student, studying for a Bachelor of Social Science majoring in Industrial and Economic Sociology, Economics and Information Systems. So far, he has developed concepts for two systems to aid the education system and for graduate employment. He intends on using his love for people and technology in order to better their lives and help them use technology to inspire their own creativity and innovative nature.

Lethabo’s TEDx talk: “Keep Dreaming Investment”


Glenda Venn – Creative Director | It’s a Go

Glenda Venn is the founding member of It’s a Go! A niche, idea’s orientated studio which tackles strategic branding, design and digital development projects. In its twelve year history it has won awards for design, both locally and internationally, and has received recognition from global clients for best practice case studies. It has also launched its own successful sports brand under the It’s a Go! Products label. She has been a judge in the design category of the South African Loeries Advertising and Design Awards for six years and in 2010 she was a design judge at the Cannes Advertising Festival. Glenda was a founding member of the SA Graphic Design Council 10 years ago and served as the Chair for 3 years. She is currently a director on the Brand Council of South Africa. She has lectured on ideas and entrepreneurship at the University of Johannesburg and served on a number of advisory panels on design education. Her formal studies consist of three years of Graphic Design in Johannesburg and four years of Fine Arts at the University of Cape Town. Her experience of 15 years, prior to opening her own studio, has included being an award winning Creative Director of design and multi-disciplinary units for three different international agencies. Her interest in ideas and the role of design and digital technology in entrepreneurial business are key to It’s a Go!’s practice.

Glenda’s TEDx talk: “Digital Ubuntu – Everyone’s Invited”


Rob Smorfitt - Entrepreneur, Author

Rob Smorfitt has an MBA (University of Wales) and a PhD in Entrepreneurship (University of KwaZulu-Natal).  He is a part-time lecturer at the University of KwaZulu-Natal as well as the University of Johannesburg.  He has been self-employed since 1982 and has started or purchased in excess of 50 businesses since then, most of which were sold again and a few of which were shut down because of lack of profitability.  He is the author of 6 books and has written articles for various magazines, newspapers and websites.  He is experienced in research within developing countries. Rob is passionate about innovation, change and entrepreneurship.  He loves working with enthusiastic, positive young people and believes it to be incredibly important to ‘motivate and build young people up to prepare them for the future’.

Rob’s TEDx talk: “Innovation – Squashing the Box”


Corinne Knowles – Lecturer | Rhodes University

Corinne Knowles is passionate about teaching. She taught English, Literature and guidance for 13 years at Secondary Schools in the Eastern Cape before joining the NGO sector. There she worked with and initiated projects to address poverty, HIV, job creation, homeless children and community building. She started work at Rhodes in 2002 as a fundraiser for university projects, moving to teaching in the Extended Studies Unit in 2009. She has run workshops on a variety of subjects, and read widely on concerns in Higher Education. She graduated with an MA in Politics, using Judith Butler to explore gender transformation at Rhodes, in 2011, and is plotting her PhD. Corinne is a social justice activist, a poet, a feminist, kitchen alchemist, alternative thinker and an incurable optimist.

Corinne’s TEDx talk: “Know. Be. Do”


Andrew Buckland – Theatre Legend | Rhodes University

Having tripped and fallen from Physical Education Studies into Theatre Studies in 1974, Rhodes University Professor and Award Winning Theatre Legend Andrew Buckland has continuously nurtured a growing obsession with live theatre and performance and the notion of theatre as a necessary function of life. Employing a dynamic and exciting combination of visual comedy, sophisticated political satire, clowning, physical theatre, mime and an explosive performance style, the works of Andrew Buckland have become synonymous with provocative, entertaining and stimulating theatre both in South Africa and internationally. Since July 1992 he has been employed in the Drama Department at Rhodes, and the opportunity to combine research and teaching of new performance forms and contexts with professional practice has resulted in the creation of 24 new theatre works many of which have been toured internationally. His original plays have won a total of 18 national and international theatre awards including several for best performance, best script, best production and play of the year. Professor Buckland spent 2008/2009 performing for Cirque du Soleil in Las Vegas. In July 2010 he was appointed Head of the Drama Department.

Andrew’s TEDx talk: “Theatre or Extinction – Choose!”


Megan Easey – Director | Megan Easey and Associates

A child of Africa, Megan had her first sip of beer at 4 years old and swears that her 6ft 8 father was grown in fertilizer.  Working as an international consultant with her base firmly in Cape Town, Megan is sharp and savvy with a special gift in connecting people to their purpose.  Megan studied a BA in Psychology and Communications and works as a business consultant and coach, specialising in people, strategy and operations with a passion for a specialised kind of agriculture: self esteem.  Oh, and by the way, she’s mad about her Schnauzer named Robert.

Megan’s TEDx talk: “On Being Barefoot”


Justin Jonas – Scientist | SA SKA/KAT

Justin Jonas is the Associate Director for Science and Engineering in the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) South Africa Project Office. Justin obtained his PhD in Physics at Rhodes University in 1999.  His PhD thesis, entitled “The Rhodes/HartRao 2326 MHz radio continuum survey of the Milky Way” is regarded as the seminal record of the radio astronomy view of the southern skies before the interference of cell phones and a copy of his thesis can be found in every major radio telescope around the world. Justin is also Professor of Physics and Electronics at Rhodes University. His passion for the SKA South Africa project as well as the MeerKAT precursor for the SKA is evident in conversations with him. The tremendous sense of pride in our nation that he creates in his listeners whenever he explains how South Africa has created world-class radio astronomy facilities is truly inspiring.

Justin’s TEDx talk: “War, Poverty, and Radio Astronomy”


Roddy Fox – Futurist | Rhodes University

Roddy Fox was born in England and obtained his PhD at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, Scotland in 1978.  After that, he worked at Kenyatta University in Nairobi, Kenya for six years.  He came to Rhodes University, South Africa in 1985, where he was appointed Professor of Geography in 2002 and was awarded the Rhodes University Distinguished Teaching Award in 2004.  Roddy’s research on how to develop higher education within Economic Geography, coupled with his passion for being creative in the classroom, resulted in the development of a model in which a combination of traditional teaching, web based learning and role play is used.  These role-playing simulations, including ‘The African Development Game’ enable players to gain a better understanding of Africa, including future scenarios which encourage players to question and examine different lifestyles.  Roddy also believes strongly in open access research and many of his games are available freely online through his website.

Roddy’s TEDx talk: “Africa: Space, Time and Educational Futures”


Mark Horner – Fellow | Shuttleworth Foundation

Physicist turned Open and Collaborative Resources champion, Shuttleworth Fellow Dr Mark Horner is beyond busy.  Mark co-developed Free High School Science Text (FHSST)  in 2002. FHSST aims to provide free science and mathematics textbooks for Grades 10 to 12 science learners in South Africa. Mark and co-developer Sam Halliday were post-grad students at UCT when they struck on the idea of getting volunteers together to produce textbooks for the South Africa school system. With more volunteers then they could handle FHSST began. Siyavula ProjectFullMarks and OpenPress all bridge off from FHSST. Siyavula Project is working to ensure that South African teachers have access to open licensed, sustainable curriculum. FullMarks gives educators some tools to help generate tests and analyse results.  Finally OpenPress is a crowsourcing project that works off the back of FHSST allowing schools purchase texts at reduced prices with collaborative purchasing. Mark has a PhD in physics from the University of Cape Town and conducted his research at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California on the results from the STAR experiment at Brookhaven National Laboratory in New York. He is also on the 2011 Mail & Guardian list of 200 Young South Africans.

Mark’s TEDx talk: “Open Your Textbook”


Tracy Hammond – Director | Angus Hammond Africa

Tracy Hammond (@TraceAdjoa) owns and manages the research consultancy Angus Hammond Africa, is a full-time volunteer at Nkanyezi Stimulation Centre and a little obsessive about sharing news about our continent that helps people see Africa differently.

Having worked , lived and/or travelled in 17 African countries (Angola, DRC, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe) her experience is varied and extensive.

Born in Port Elizabeth, former BA Hons student of Rhodes Univeristy and regular African nomad, Tracy is soon to embark on her greatest adventure yet. Her and two team mates will be driving from Tsitsikamma (South Africa) to Tataouine (Tunisia) via all four sides of the continent and just under 29000km. Her focus today however is based on the time she spent living and working in Ngong, Kenya in 2008/2009.

Tracy’s TEDx talk: “The Tea Shop that taught me to listen”


Eusebius McKaiser – Political Analyst | Wits Centre for Ethics 

Eusebius McKaiser is a political and social analyst at the Wits Centre for Ethics. He is a weekly contributor to the New York Times, and hosts Talk at Nine on Radio 702. His political analysis and social comment have appeared widely in print: Business Day (where he was a columnist, and contributing editor), Mail and Guardian, Sunday Times, Sunday Independent, City Press, Newsweek International, BBC Focus on Africa, The New Republic, Financial Mail, Destiny Man, and other platforms. He also regularly briefs corporate clients on political risk assessment about the SA political environment in order to inform operational and strategic business decision-making by helping clients understand how their business may be affected by the dynamics, and policy debates, emanating from the body politic. Eusebius is both a former National South African Debate Champion and the 2011 World Masters Debate Champion. He has also coached debate, critical thinking and public speaking and lectures in ethics, logic and argumentation. Eusebius studied law and philosophy at Rhodes University and Oxford University.

Eusebius’ TEDx talk: “Of course I don’t have a backbone – I’m a liberal! Duhuh!”


 Steuart Pennington – CEO | South Africa – The Good News

Steuart Pennington is Founder and CEO of South Africa – The Good News, is co-editor and publisher of 9 books on South Africa and Africa, starting with ‘SOUTH AFRICA-The Good News” in 2002 and most recently the “Promise of Leadership” in 2009, published for the Nelson Mandela Foundation. In 2007, Steuart was awarded the “Public Service Entrepreneur of the Year Award – 2007” from the African Heritage Society and in 2008, he was one of the nine finalists for the Johnnie Walker Striding Man Award for exceptional entrepreneurship. He sits on the 2010 National Communication Partnership Task Team, is involved in promoting Volunteering in South Africa and is a co-founder of the Movement for Good run by Heartlines. Steuart’s core competence is as a strategy consultant. He holds a B.A.(Hons) degree from Rhodes University, a PDM from Wits and a Certificate in Management from Oxford.

Steuart’s TEDx talk: “Is Good News No News?”


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