According to an email from Chris Anderson, the curator of the TED Conference, TEDAfrica due to be held in Cape Town at the end of September 2008 has been suspended. This news has also been posted on the TED Blog where I have already posted a comment and I encourage you to do so as well. This is a sad moment for Africa and more so for South Africa, which would have been the 2nd country to host the amazing TED Conference.
Last year I was blessed and honoured to attend TEDGlobal in Tanzania as a Blogger and Fellow. There were many, many connections and friendships established at this conference. George Ayittey described it as the most important conference about Africa at the beginning of the 21st century. And I agree wholeheartedly with him on this statement because never before has so many experts NOT politicians come together in support of Africa. There was a real sense of urgency among the speakers as the the aid vs investment debated heated up over the four days in Arusha.
Anyway why is this a setback for South Africa? We need to shift the focus from all the crap from Eskom, crime, Jakob Zuma, Zimbabwe and more. TEDAfrica in Cape Town would have been a dream come true for me because it represent an affirmation in our country and continent’s direction. The momentum built with the launch of the Next Einstein event in Cape Town, is a testament to the African’s ability to cope under the most severe circumstances. The students from the AIMS 2008 graduation represent the hope for future generations. So I held my breath when I first heard of the TEDAfrica announcement. But now we need to stand together more than ever before. The people on the TEDGlobal group on Facebook and members of the TED discussion group on Google need to find ways of following up and following through with promises made in Tanzania.
Remember we are the Cheetah’s and not the Hippo’s! Cheetah’s do not ask for permission from government to create value and opportunities for others. We are entrepreneurs and we stand on our own feet and make our own decisions. My dream would be that we can finally launch the annual African Bloggers Conference and an bi-annual TEDAfrica, maybe hosting the first one again, as originally planned in Cape Town in September 2009. In the mean time spread the word about TED Talks.