TEDxPortElizabeth launches in Nelson Mandela Bay

[Port Elizabeth, Monday, 27 June 2016] – Sharing a world of dreams with the global TED and TEDx community, TEDxPortElizabeth will launch their first conference this year with the theme Through the Looking Glass in partnership with the new AFDA Film School in Port Elizabeth.

TEDxPortElizabeth continues on from TEDxNMMU (2012) and TEDxSummerstrand (2013), both organised by students from NMMU. TED (Technology, Entertainment & Design) started in 1984 in California as an elite conference for visionaries and innovators. By 2012 TED Talks had been viewed more than 1 billion times online.

This TEDx conference features 15 speakers and performers from Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban, George, Jeffrey’s Bay, Uitenhage and Port Elizabeth.

TEDx Conference Port Elizabeth 2016

The audience will be captivated by international business coach, Deshun Deysel, who will open the conference speaking on Peak Performance. Her family moved from Uitenhage to Johannesburg when she was 12 years old. She powered into the history books in 1996 as a member of the first group of South Africans to plant the new democratic flag on Mt Everest.

Another highlight is Farah Fortune, known in the entertainment industry as the “pit bull in heels.” She is the CEO of African Star Communications, with offices in Lagos, Nigeria and Johannesburg and her clients include AKA, Casper Nyovest and Pam Andrews.

TEDx 2016 Conference line-up

After attending the TEDGlobal conference in Tanzania in 2007, I have become very active in speaking and organising TEDx events in China and South Africa,” says Ramon Thomas, TEDxPortElizabeth founder. After returning home with an MBA degree from China, Thomas started recruiting a team of enthusiastic volunteers from Nelson Mandela Bay.

Speakers from Port Elizabeth include mama Nomhle Nkonyeni, who recently won a SAFTA life-time achievement award; Xhosa poet Siyabonga Ngcai aka Gqoboz’imbawula Mbawula, Alexander Road High school learner; Thulani Ndzotyana who wants to be the first female president of South Africa in 2044; and youth artist, Mdali group.

Speakers from Uitenhage include 7-year-old child palaeontologist Caleb Zealand; Mr Joe Slingers, who was featured in the book, Great South African Teachers by Prof. Jonathan Jansen; Mrs Elizabeth Muller, head librarian for 25 years until her retirement in 2009; and artist Colleen Grewar.

TEDx Conference Port Elizabeth 2016Wikipedia editor, Bobby Shabangu, contributes to the world’s largest encyclopedia writing articles in isiSwati and English. “I discovered that if I don’t edit, no one will edit,” he says. “[I wanted] to activate people into talking about Wikipedia and the work they do and everything that’s actually how I got involved with the whole thing.”

AFDA is sponsoring the venue for this conference. Their students will film all the speakers and performers and the videos will be uploaded to the TEDx YouTube channel. This is an opportunity to showcase Nelson Mandela Bay’s talent on the global stage.

The 2016 TEDxPortElizabeth conference takes place at AFDA Port Elizabeth campus, 28 Bird Street, Central on Friday, 1 July 2016. Only 100 tickets for this conference are on sale online.

Event details:

  • Venue: AFDA Port Elizabeth campus, 28 Bird Street, Central
  • Date: Friday, 1 July 2016
  • Time: 09h00-15h00
  • 15 Speakers, Performances, Networking and 4 curated TED Talks
  • Our Social Media: Facebook | Twitter | Google+ | Website

TEDxPortElizabeth 2016 Conference line-up

About TEDx, x = independently organised event. In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organised events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organised events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organised. (Subject to certain rules and regulations.)


Jade Redcliffe, Communications Manager

Mobile 072-5659132

Email: tedxpe@gmail.com


Solving The Port Elizabeth School Tragedy

The school tragedy in Port Elizabeth is the latest episode in the ongoing Eastern Cape education disaster. Recently public intellectual, Professor Jonathan Jansen, wrote about the school tragedy in Port Elizabeth’s northern areas. Read his original column here: The real education calamity. He asks “why is there no public outcry about the fact that since the school year started more than 50 schools had not started classes?

A friend sent me the article via Facebook. My first reaction was anger and blame and I want to share it with you below:

RT: Yes, this is a fact in the northern areas (Coloured townships) of Port Elizabeth. Now what is Dr Jonathan Jansen doing about it besides writing newspaper columns that he gets paid to write every week? [I am referring to all journalists who offer grand solutions from the comfort of their laptops].

AQ: I don’t know him or his responsibilities/capacity to do anything, but it’s not just about him tho. This eventually becomes everyone’s problem. Poorly educated children become ignorant and frustrated adults

RT: My point is this is common knowledge in Port Elizabeth area. And the parents are fighting SADTU union [and the MEC for Education, Mandla Makupula] which is virtually impossible to defeat.

Jonathan Jansen always writes these kinds of articles, and it’s easy to write about the problems and much more difficult to do something. HE, being a respected “Coloured” leader has been to Port Elizabeth (and Uitenhage) before, and can easily organise public meetings to mediate this conflict.

The MEC in Education in the Eastern Cape is useless as you know, so people like him with authority must can step off his high horse and engage more directly.

AQ: Why isn’t he being challenged on it then

RT: I am challenging you for believing everything he is writing.

AQ: Why haven’t you challenged him

RT: I have. He blocked me on Twitter when I asked him difficult questions. We have also spoken at the same conference at St Stitians College in Johannesburg in 2011.

AQ: My view is we are all responsible for the resolution of these problems part of that responsibility is consciousness and awareness. In this particular case I’m too far removed from the Port Elizabeth social discourse to engage meaningfully, however such situations grate me wherever they are. So my responsibility is to firstly be conscious of what is happening and in that regard I’m limited to what is available online and interacting with people like yourself, fortunately/unfortunately I cannot always judge character/political alignment and have to take the articles at face value, bottom line I feel it’s my responsibility to understand that there is a problem, extent of the problem and in my way and spaces contribute to its containment and hopefully resolution

AQ: I think we sometimes put people on pedals of responsibility when we know that they either lack the capacity or will (moral or otherwise) to be there

School tragedy in Port Elizabeth turned to violence
WHEELS COME OFF: Residents of Arcadia in Port Elizabeth have been blockading roads with burning tyres in ongoing protest action demanding more teachers for the 50 local schools. The stand-off with government has meant no schooling in the northern parts of the city so far this year Image by: EUGENE COETZEE

RT: Sure. I fact I am challenging you (to question the Prof. Jonathan Jansen’s responsibility) because you sent me the news story without any context or opinion.

— end of Facebook Inbox discussion —

Mandla Makupula MEC for Education in Eastern CapeThere was some flaws in my argument. Teachers are not fighting teachers union SADTU, they are both fighting the provincial Eastern Cape MEC of Education, Mandla Makupula. The school tragedy in Port Elizabeth is exacerbated by the gang and drug problem similar to that on the Cape Flats.

And after re-reading the original column, Professor Jansen does indeed offer some good practical advice:

  1. Activists must use social media to o signal for public attention flashpoints around the country where children are being denied education.
  2. Responsible media needs to draw attention to these hot spots with, say, a running front-page spot carrying a reverse count-down message like “#32 days still without education in Port Elizabeth’s northern suburbs”.
  3. Similar public notices can be carried for “Schools still without textbooks” or more pointedly “School X still without principal after three months.”

After all, I want to put his suggestions into practise. This is the type of challenge I thrive on.

Critisism of Professor Jonathan Jansen:

Government and The School Tragedy in Port Elizabeth

Eastern Cape’s MEC for Education Mandla Makupula unsuccessly tried to solve this teacher shortage problem in Port Elizabeth in 2015. This seems to have reached a stale mate.


Alarm as high number of motorists chat on move

AN alarming number of Port Elizabeth motorists are guilty of talking on their cellphones while driving – which is almost as dangerous as drinking and driving. And the worst offenders are women.
In a survey over a five-day period in the city last month, more than 7000 drivers were spotted tapping out messages or chatting on their hand-held phones while on the road. Of the 7650 culprits, 59% were women.

The survey was done by Port Elizabeth research company Listen To Survey.
Hundreds of tests around the world have already shown the dangers of using a cellphone while driving, with some comparing it to driving under the influence of liquor.

Listen To Survey principal Richard Holton said yesterday that the findings of the survey were shocking.

The company placed 20 people at various points around the city. They counted the culprits at traffic lights, shopping centres, the beachfront, government buildings, schools and on freeways.

“The traffic department has some work to do to educate all of us about the dangers of using cellphones while driving,” Holton said.

He said the cellphone spotters also tried to record the offenders’ ages. It was found that almost half of the culprits fell in the 36 to 55 years age group, while the 26- to 35-year-olds trailed slightly behind at 37%.

Surprisingly, 18- to 25-year- olds comprised only 17% of the total number of offenders. Only 5% of the culprits were over 55.

The Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality can fine offenders R750 at present.  The survey was carried out for a cellphone company which plans on launching a new hands-free kit.

Michael Kimberley

Source : http://www.peherald.com


Vista University – I salute you

They say there is a time to reap, a time to sow. There’s a time to be happy and a time to be sad. Today as I’m preparing for exams on Tuesday, 8 June, I’m thinking back to my initial tertiary education at Vista University. In 1992 they visited my high school, Uitenhage High, and gave a presentation on the benefits on joining Vista. Thinking about it as logically as possible I concluded it was in the best interest of the family for me to go an do my BSc at Vista instead of University of Port Elizabeth, or even PE Technikon. These institutions are all being merged as from 1 Jan 2005. Vista itself will cease to exist from the end of June 2004. So it was with a heavy heart I can say goodbye to this institution that blessed me with so much. I wish there could have been closer co-operation with alumni, and that may yet happen. The changes in the South African tertiary landscape is for the better. I am convinced of this and it is in the best interest of the entire population we support these changes, embrace them and start to use the facilities and opportunities more. Viva Vista Viva!


Speed Networking launched at next PETweetup

Port Elizabeth has a thriving social media community. Unlike Gauteng or Cape Town there is no SilconCape initiative. However, people like Alan Straton have pioneered city focussed blogging with his MyPE portal. He has over 1000 followers, and follows nobody else. With over 8000 Tweets, the WeFollow directory lists him as the most influential Twitter user in the Bay area.

So what is a Tweetup? It’s simply a real-life meeting organised on the social networking site Twitter. In the past year Port Elizabeth hosted two Tweetups, a Blanket Drive, and also another hosted by Dave Coates, Head Developer at Poken Africa. The purpose or function of the Tweetup is to bring together people for discussion in the real world. You can meet those you’ve been following and get to know them better. Building stronger relationships helps everyone move forward. And should encourage even more vociferous tweets.

So what’s different this time? This month we’re introducing speed networking. Speed networking was developed for use in South Africa to facilitate the creation of a culture for open communication within larger groups and high quality business relationships. A friend Jenny Ceresto, founder of SMARTdate pioneered this concept primarily in Gauteng and Cape Town. Now speed networking is

The venue for this event is the beautiful Blue Water Cafe situated on Shark Rock Pier, on the beach front area opposite the Boardwalk Casino. Previous 27Dinner events, also focussed around promoting social media, were held at the PE Yacht Club. We found this venue to be ideal for the presentation style meetings with speakers, but Tweetups are more informal. And hence the concept of speed networking seems a perfect synergy with the shorthand language used on Twitter.

Event Details:

  • VENUE: Blue Water Cafe, The Boardwalk Shop 7 Shark Rock Pier, Marine Drive
  • TIME: 19h00 on Friday, 26 August 2011
  • DRINK: One FREE Sherry or Cappuccino on arrival sponsored by yours truly
  • FOOD for your own account.

Questions?  Call the host, Ramon Thomas on 081 4399 555. The Speed Networking starts at 19h30. Looking forward to meeting fellow Bay area Tweeple.


MXit Drug Counselling at 27Dinner in Port Elizabeth

Marlon Parker, Brent Williams and Ramon Thomas at Highway Africa, Rhodes University in GrahamstownMarlon Parker will be visiting Port Elizabeth this week to present an inspirational talk at the regular 27Dinner event this Thursday in Port Elizabeth. The 27Dinner events are free events where geeks and non-geeks get together and discuss technology. The purpose of the 27Dinner events is to create awareness about how technology can be used to change in society and also for entrepreneurship and income generation. And the events happen on the 27th of the month in Cape Town, Johannesburg, Pretoria and Durban. This will be the 3rd 27Dinner event in the Nelson Mandela Bay area.

A big part of the motivation for bringing Marlon Parker to Port Elizabeth is to kick start the DAS@MXit in Nelson Mandela Bay area. Over the last three years MXit has grown to over 10 million registered users. This platform, the most widely used instant messaging platform among people 12-25 years old is the most practical method of providing online counselling. In North America and other parts of the world Internet-based online counselling has been available for years now. However, due to the cost of bandwidth in South Africa, cellphone-based online counselling is more practical alternative.

The other guest speakers will be confirmed today and their information posted on www.27dinner.com where you have to register and add your name to the particular event you would like to attend, in the city of your own choice. Stormhoek wines have sponsored free bottles of wine in Cape Town and Johannesburg. I have yet to persuade them to send some wine to Port Elizabeth for our enjoyment.

This is also the final function for the year that the NETucation team will be organising because we are shifing our focus inwards until 1 March 2009. Planning my 2009 schedule is going to be one of the key success factors to grow the audience to this blog as well as to my other online efforts.


Algoa Sun interview with Ramon Thomas

The following interview was published on page 8 of the 31 July 2008 issue of the Algoa Sun, a community newspaper in Port Elizabeth. The title for the article was fascinating choice by the editor, The Ethics of IT Dating. I will add a scanned copy of the interview with their own intro to this post later today…

Question: You say that children below the age of 13 should not have cell-phones for health reasons do you not think that in todays world all kids should have access to an adult in case something does go wrong?

Yes, kids should have access to adults. However, the access that is required has always been there. Before cellphones parents had a relationship and understanding with the schools they go to as to when and how they are dropped off and collected after school, from sporting events or when traveling with the school. When visiting friends, arrangements were made with the parents of the friends to look after your children as if they were your own. This is a fear-based myth that cellphones is the only or safest way to make kids safe. The more you buy into a fear mindset, the more you create a dependency on technology or anything outside yourself. So in a very warped way technology has made people more insecure than ever before.

Question: Do you have kids? If so, are they allowed MXit and Facebook?

No I do not have any children because I am not married. I would only allow my own children access for for a limited time per day or on weekends. I recently bumped into a guy who was at school with me, and he has one son in high school and one in primary school. He treats them like this: they only get access for 1 hour on Saturdays between 5-6pm. This is radical, yes, but he succeeded as father by setting the ground rules from day 1.

Question: Do you believe parents should be more “internet and cell-phone aware”?

Parents need to understand that the technology is growing and improving at a vast rate. The best way they can maintain some sense of confidence about the technology is to cultivate an open discussion on a regular (weekly) basis with their children about technology. This is much easier than you may think, simply because technology is so high on the values of children. What I mean is you cannot stop them talking about it when you ask the right questions.

Question: Do you believe the internet is a good way to meet people and start dating?

I have used Internet dating successfully because I have been so persistent and made a tremendous effort to educate myself about the best ways to write my online dating profile. After hundreds articles, books and interviews, and comparisons with other forms of dating and the psychology of attraction, I do not believe its the best way to meet people. You will always have some uncertainly about that elusive obvious called “chemistry” with the opposite sex. So overall your chances are very slim to find a compatible match and sustain the relationship. I consider my last relationship, which lasted about 18 months; as well as best friend of mine, who married a woman he met on www.datingbuzz.com, the exceptions.
Continue reading “Algoa Sun interview with Ramon Thomas”


Avoiding long distance relationships

You will always find people who have had success in a particular way of dating because there is such a vast number of variables at play. Long distance relationships for the most part give people a false hope or a lack of control in the outcome, and in my opinion kills your self-esteem.

When I think back to a girl I was dating during my time at university in Port Elizabeth, I recall how the tension escalated when I moved to Johannesburg. A year later she moved to Stellenbosch to pursue an Honours degree in Chemistry. I would never again get involved in a long distance because it was doomed from the beginning. The signs were there but I chose to ignore them.

Some fascinating research from the Journal of Family Relations is that couples who marry from a long-term relationship may still be in the idealized state. This impairs their ability to be realistic in their evaluation of the other. Your biggest challenge today is not even that the person you are dating is another city. Imagine where they are in their minds when they are chatting away on Facebook or MXit?


27Dinner launches in Port Elizabeth

Ramon Thomas and friends27Dinner for the uninitiated are meetings arranged by and for bloggers or people interested in social media. They take the form of an informal dinner with a few speakers and have been a hit across South Africa. In Johannesburg and Cape Town these dinners have drawn sometimes as many as 100 people at a time. At least half the audience tends to be geeks or technically oriented people, while the others are a mixture of marketing, public relations, journalists or spectators. Last year I had the opportunity to speak at the 2nd 27Dinner in Durban, hosted by Marc Forrest and was excited once more to be a speaker because it’s may way of giving back to the community from which I have learned so much.

Now I’d like to give this some context because Port Elizabeth is often ignored by people running events, whether they be entertainment (music) or business related events. And I have taken it upon myself to find ways of bringing more important events like 27Dinner or Women4Women to this beautiful part of South Africa. After all I will be spending more time here from June 2008 while I take a mini sabbatical. The biggest thanks has to go to Alan Straton from MyPE for organising the venue, and doubly so for persuading the restaurant to open on a public holiday (27 April – Freedom Day). Greig Timkoe, my friend, and client did the introduction and delivered very short talk on handling workplace conflict created by email. This is a topic of tremendous importance that I would like to see expanded on in future talks or articles on his Peacemakers blogs.

Mark Bloomfield & wifeThe first speaker for the evening was Mark Bloomfield, South Africa’s only Adobe Community Expert. He gave an overview of the Adobe AIR platform which I have used to run the StomperNet Scrutinizer. The AIR platform sounds like a good idea in principle, especially if you are technically minded and understand things like bandwidth, processing power, database calls, etc. Most people don’t, not even people working in the broader technology sector. And therefore this has a limited market potential. Java is similar because it’s platform independent, however it’s different because it’s become more of a middleware application. Adobe AIR created beautiful application which run on your Desktop and reduced the dependence on bandwidth to some extent. Mark closed off with an introduction of a new development platform from Adobe who already owns Dreamweaver and Photoshop. There’s not much I can say about this software because it has not been launched yet. Now to go by the quality of Adobe’s other project this will be a boon for developers professional and amateur alike.My own presentation was an updated version of my Blog your way to becoming and Expert presentation.

Overall this was a smaller event with maybe 20 people attending. There were several who listed their names on the 27Dinner wiki page but didn’t show and that could be because of the week ahead filled with 3 public holidays and I know for a fact many people have chosen to go on holiday somewhere else.