Toby Shapshak

Technology writer
The publisher and editor of Stuff magazine, Toby Shapshak is a South African writer focusing on innovation — and the role it plays in Africa.

Why you should listen

Casual readers of Stuff magazine, with its smart and provocative gadget reviews, might not know the glossy comes from not London or New York but offices in South Africa. Toby Shapshak leads the magazine and news site; he's been called "the most high-profile technology journalist in the country" by GQ South Africa. Formerly a senior newspaper reporter covering everything from crime to politics, Shapshak shadowed Nelson Mandela when he was president, and covered the work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission after the abolition of apartheid.  

He's been writing about innovation, telecommunications and the Internet — and the impact they have on people's lives — for more than 15 years. He's now working on a book about a passionately held belief: that in Africa, necessity is the mother of innovation. 

What others say

“Toby reigns supreme as the major talking head for everthing and anything tech.” — Mail & Guardian

Toby Shapshak’s TED talks

Toby Shapshak on the TED Blog

Live from TEDGlobal 2013

Want to see real innovation? Check out Africa: Toby Shapshak at TEDGlobal 2013

June 13, 2013

The publisher and editor of the South African edition of Stuff magazine, Toby Shapshak is here to challenge our perceptions of his home continent. First, he asks us, who bought a pay-as-you-go SIM card on arriving in Edinburgh? Hands wave. “You’re using African technology,” he says proudly. “‘Pay-as-you-go’ was an idea pioneered in Africa by Vodacom […]

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Live from TEDGlobal 2013

Forces of Change: The speakers in session 9 of TEDGlobal 2013

June 13, 2013

In George Ayittey’s classic TED Talk from 2007, he describes two factions in Africa toggling for control — the “hippo generation,” the ruling elites riddled with corruption and inaction, and the “cheetah generation,” the fast-moving entrepreneurial leaders with the ability to create change. This session — guest hosted by TED Fellows Adrian Hong (who works […]

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