We have all had a sobering experience with the atrocities that happenedon Friday 13th. From terrorist attacks in Paris to civilian attacks in Central African republic, to murdering innocent people Burundi out of trying to clinch on to power. All these events show that we are nearing a global state of emergency.
Through wars, selfishness and discrimination, we have deteriorated our planet maliciously. However, we can heal it through a change of mind-set – no matter where we are. Which makes Botswana’s first TEDx more relevant not only to the country but the global environment.
TEDxGaborone was not only a first in the city but made history by being the first talks in the country that had iconic figures engage with the audience in the most raw and confidential manner. Through an intimate seating shy of 100 people*, speakers shared moments of immense joy and victory (such as Nijel Amos taking us through how he nabbed his current record) to moments of thick lumps on the throat and watering eyes (particularly Mahube Mpungwa’s tear jerking story of climbing mountains for cancer). For the first time, we got to see accomplished people as humans, inspiring humans.
All 12 speakers made an impact to the audience, but I truly loved an unwritten theme that the speakers had. Without professing it, the speakers believed in an empowered young Africa, and through their stories, hope that we could make a change in our industries to the face of the continent.
Words of Kali Ilunga, DRC born entrepreneur based in South Africa struck a chord with me. When speaking of the power in idea relevance, Ilunga highlighted an ongoing issue in the DRC that the world continuously sweeps under the carpet. Today, smartphones are in demand, which means so is the coltan mineral – which is an imperative tool used in making chips for our cellphone. According to a report by MIT in 2011, the coltan mineral particularly in DRC is unearthed through horrid unethical practices in the country. Having the mineral mined in extreme conditions and smuggled across the border, into neighbouring countries and handed to licensed sellers for distribution.
At the event, Ilunga further stated that the smelter would receive 0.03% returns of the money made when selling the mineral. Using this as proof, he believes that the world doesn’t particularly care so much about our minerals, and neither should we. Human capital is our new commodity, and it is found in our ideas. Let us disrupt our local and global market with businesses that are relevant, innovative and unique. Through this, we can change the scope of our economies, increase job employment around young people and make a better world.
Without giving away too much detail (no spoiler zone, you deserve to be bewildered by the after movie that is soon to be uploaded) the first and hopefully annual TEDxGaborone was abundantly coat in inspiration. Although many people around the city were shocked were unaware of the event and suffered a severe case of FOMO throughout the day, we hope that the next TEDx can bring in numbers and more speakers to help change mindsets of young people – healing this world through creating a better one.
*Editors note: the article was published noting that the event was shy of fifty people. The head count at the day was 86