My TEDx experience, 21 July 2012

Gosh I can’t believe that it is almost a week ago that we had TEDx Cape Town at the Baxter. I was SO excited when I got a ticket for this. Thinking that I’d applied WAY too late, I never thought I would get ‘in’. But I guess that’s my European mindset again.. Cape Town is a kind of city where you don’t need to worry that much about being too late for anything. Events like this in The Netherlands (from what I remember) would be sold out months in advance and tickets would at least cost € 100. So to be able to register about 1 week before the event and pay a mere € 30 for a full day of thought provoking speakers, seemed flippin’ outrageous to me. But happy so! I didn’t know then that even tea breaks and lunch were catered / sponsored for as well. I mean, REALLY?? So can I please have a HUUUUUUGE round of applause for the organizers and sponsors who all put this together because I think you guys did a pretty incredible job.

We arrived around 8h30 and got registered quite quickly. I loved the simple, environmentally friendly name tags: a piece of rope and a paper. Perfect! Can please all events just implement this super simple solution? Then we had a look at the program. It was the most inventive program I’d ever seen. I couldn’t even figure it out how to read all of it. (I’m blond, female and foreigner so I will always have some excuse for not being able to do anything…..around 2pm I ‘got it’..). The theme of the day was: What we play is life. The program seemed like a combination of a Jigsaw puzzle and origami. You keep unfolding and new aspects about the program reveal. It’s the cleverest thing I’ve ever seen. I will not go into detail here about all the talks but here are some challenging thoughts that I walked away with:

Roderick Lim Banda: programming is just another language. You don’t need Maths to be able to program. It can be taught in each school to each kid as a language. How clever is that? I will def. make sure my kid will learn this language!

Ulrike Rivett: We all know how we can do a better job than the government, we all have solutions. But hey, the president doesn’t phone us to ask for advice.  Do you actually know enough to be able to give advice or judgments? Maybe sometimes the answer should be: I don’t know, let’s see if we can find out more.

Sue Harrison: Changing industrial processes in such a way that they’re build according to ecological processes rather than a  system where we put stuff IN and waste comes OUT; keep on re-using (this presentation REALLY went over my head but this is what I took away.. would have loved to see a practical example of such a process..)

Louise van Rhyn: Stop blaming government and take responsibility for the education of our children; connecting business leaders with Head Masters to turn around our schooling system -> amazing work!!

Shannon Royden-Turner: instead of moving people AGAIN to new homes, look at what is existing in their current community and see if through intervention changes can be made.

Peter Greenwall: the most entertaining talk of the day. I’m still trying to figure out what it was about..

So this is just to name a few. The creative facilitators were also incredible. All of the talks will be edited and can be viewed online at I’m making a daily ritual of watching 1 TED talk and just have my assumptions challenged. I think we all should.

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