Sometime last year, during that gap between uni and employment that is kinda forced on you in these parts, I was introduced to TED. I must say that I constantly heard about it from people close to me, but brushed it off because it required a stable internet connection and in my unemployed state the internet bundle struggle was REAL. If you know anything about the bundle struggle, you know that streaming or downloading videos will leave you feeling like you lost a limb. I was highly uninspired to get into the TED talk habit until I attended my first TEDx event, right here in Lusaka.

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Anyway, before we ignorantly jump aboard the TEDxpress, and because I love to share, let me introduce you to TED;

TED is a nonprofit devoted to spreading ideas, usually in the form of short, powerful talks (18 minutes or less, which is perfect for a generation with the attention span of a vine, snapchat video or 140 character tweet). TED began in 1984 as a conference where Technology, Entertainment and Design converged (hence the acronym TED, and today covers almost a wide variety topics — from science to business to global issues. Meanwhile, independently run TEDx events (like the one we’re about to jump on) help share ideas in several communities all over the world.

TED is a global community and welcomes individuals from various disciplines and cultures who seek a deeper understanding of the world. TED believes passionately in the power of ideas to change attitudes, lives and, ultimately, the world. On the TED website, a a HUGE database of free knowledge from the world’s most inspired thinkers is being built for a community of curious individuals (regular Joes, like you and I) to engage with ideas and each other, both online and at TED and TEDx events around the world, all year long.

I vividly remember my first TEDxperience; a friend of mine got me a ticket and asked me to tag along. I had a very basic idea of what TED was but curiosity and fomo won the battle so I tagged along. One of the best decisions I ever made!

I remember sitting in a dome at Mulungushi Conference Center, watching and listening in amazement as speaker after speaker came forward and shared their ideas. What got me most is the diversity in content, not a single topic was repeated or recycled. I sat soaking in all I could, learning things I though I knew and unlearning certain things. It was interesting to note how thought provoking but equally inspirational each topic was. This was not your regular motivational talk where the offering bag goes around after, this was a genuine in-depth sharing of ideas and concepts.

Now, note that speakers are heavily vetted. Thousands apply and are declined because they do not have an idea that is TEDx worthy (there are guidelines to this effect), some speakers are approached by organizers and they genuinely admit they do not have an idea that is worth presenting in the TEDx setting. Basically, your idea has to be mind blowing and conversation worthy…start a conversation that leads to action, action that leads to change. Got it? Maybe when one of y’all shares at TEDx in the future you could share that you heard about it from me 🙂

One speaker I was pleasantly surprised to see take the stage last year was a former High School class mate, Mwansa Mbewe. Not to embarrass him or anything (because he was AMAZING at it) but he never struck me as a public speaker all through high school. This time however I was sitting in the audience watching in awe as he gave a talk on the decentralization of Lusaka city so as to decongest the streets and reduce traffic. His talk was more architectural than social. He delivered his speech calmly, with bits of banter and I was shook, shook AND impressed. See it HERE for yourself.

Mwansa Mbewe
Mwansa Mbewe (TEDxLusaka 2016)
Pompi
Pompi (TEDxLusaka 2016)

One other speaker I was hype to hear from when I looked at the list was Pompi, my favorite local gospel rapper (yes, I am that predictable). Anyway you’d probably think Pompi, being a gospel artist, would be there to spread THE WORD. Not the case, he gave a poetic talk on how life will often give us the wrong test…”a fish with a degree in how to climb a tree.”. This one left me contemplating ALL my life choices, with regards education. I always felt like I didn’t know what I was good for, especially in university, so Pompi’s talk gave a new perspective to this feeling. Watch it HERE when you get the chance. It’s a BRILLIANT talk!

There were so many speakers last year, but one that I am 100% certain non of the audience will forget is the young Kelvin Doe. Remember that name because Kelvin Doe’s story is beyond inspirational, it’s the stuff entire documentaries are made of.

“Kelvin Doe is a self-taught Sierra Leonean engineer. A true inventor by age fifteen, Kelvin built his own radio station using discarded scrap metal and electrical items that he found in his home town. Kelvin finds solutions to problems in his community, for example, making batteries to light homes in Sierra Leone where electricity supply is inconsistent, or building a generator. Even the FM radio station was out of necessity – to give voice to young people in his country and enable them to discuss and debate the issues affecting them. Through his innovations and inventions, Kelvin participated in the Visiting Practitioners Program at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and has had many speaking engagements at technology and engineering events. “

Kelvin Doe spoke about the importance of Africans changing their own narrative about the continent. Because if we don’t, who will? Check it HERE, and get ready to give him a solo standing ovation like the audience did that afternoon.

Kelvin Doe
Kelvin Doe (TedxLusaka 2016)

Now that you’ve got a taste of what last year’s TEDxLusaka was like, I hope you’re hype for the TEDxpress because this year’s selection of speakers is just as diverse, unpredictable and inspirational.

The line up features names like Mafipe Chunga, a chartered accountant and lawyer, who as an Investment Advisor at KPMG Zambia. I have met Mafipe and he is a photographer too, so I am excited to see what he has to talk about.

Mafipe Chunga
Mafipe Chunga (SPEAKER: TEDxLusaka 2017)

Also a part of the line up is everyone’s favorite DJ at the moment, Mr El Mukuka. Our very own crossover act, with the success of his Something’s Coming Tour recently got signed to Universal Records. I’m definitely down to hear what idea he has to share on the TEDx stage!

El Mukuka
El Mukuka (SPEAKER: TEDxLusaka 2017)

I had never heard of Trevor Mumba until a couple of weeks ago, but when I did hear about him he was literally everywhere I looked – there’s a name for this phenomenon but i forget – with good reason too. He is a success story few of us (from his home country – Zambia) have heard of. Trevor, orphaned by the age of 10 rose to become a director and partner of Contacts Marketing Company, Real Promotions South Africa. By 33 he had become a wealthy entrepreneur based in Jo’burg with business branches in several parts of South Africa. I’m pretty damn excited for his TED talk because who doesn’t like to hear a self made man share ideas?

Trevor Mumba
Trevor Mumba (SPEAKER: TEDxLusaka2017)

I am also especially keen to hear from Namaala Liebenthal, an entrepreneur, choreographer, dance innovator and corporate attorney. I mean how versatile can one person be? Her versatility by itself is worth a TED talk, me thinks. She is the Founder of ZOCA Dance (Zambia’s Own Caribbean and African Dance Fever) and focuses on growing the ZOCA brand and uplifting and energizing her international teams of instructors and clients with the love of dance. With a foundation in classical dance techniques and a diverse experience of dance styles, Namaala has choreographed over 350 dances and was the lead choreographer for the 2015 Zambia Music Awards. She is the Co-Founder of two non-profit initiatives that use the positive attributes of dance to promote empowerment, leadership and self-expression. She is a member of the New York State bar, an Associate Arbitrator and a Specialist in Fitness Nutrition. A PHENOMENAL WOMAN!

Namaala Liebenthal
Namaala Liebenthal (SPEAKER: TEDxLusaka2017)

Another phenomenal young lady, repping girl power is Ms. Natasha Kaoma. She is committed raising awareness about reproductive health and menstrual hygiene. While in medical school at the University of Zambia, she co-founded Copper Rose Zambia to carry through the reproductive health work. At 25 she is already an award-winner, winning the Zambian Women of the Year Healthcare Champion Award 2017, and is the only Zambian to have received the Queens Young Leaders Award (2017). Natasha is a UN Local Pathways Fellow for Sustainable Development Goals. Kinda leaves you feeling like you haven’t achieved much, huh? Come through and be inspired to do better 🙂 

Natasha Kaoma
Natasha Kaoma (SPEAKER: TEDxLusaka2017)

That’s enough dyonko, the TEDXpress to enlightenment and wokeness is always ready for you. ARE YOU READY FOR THE RIDE? That’s only 5 out of 18 speakers. Check the TEDxLusaka website for the full list of speakers. It’s going to be an awesome day.

This year a little goodie bag has been organised for everyone attending. Come through and see what the TEdx sponsors have for us.

Buy your ticket at any Umoyo outlet or via Computicket ASAP. They’re selling like hotcakes.

tickets

ALSO, if you’re like me and you like free stuff SHARE THIS POST WITH THE HASHTAGS #TEDxLusaka #JumpOnTheTEDxpress and tell us why you’re excited about this year’s TEDxperience.

The posts with the most likes (Facebook) and RTs (Twitter) by Monday the 22nd of May WIN a FREE ticket from QUIRKYBOI. Tell a friend to tell a friend 🙂 

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