x = independently organized TED event

Theme: Open Access Control

This event occurred on
August 15, 2015
8:00am - 5:30pm SAST
(UTC +2hrs)
cape town, Western Cape
South Africa

The balance between freedom and control is a constant tug of war. In all areas of our lives - personal and professional, spiritual and practical, as individuals and as groups - we experience an ongoing tussle regarding whether and where boundaries should be drawn. This year, TEDxCapeTown's main event brings speakers and audience members together to explore the paradox "Open Access Control" in different contexts.

2015 marks the 5th year of TEDxCapeTown, which for the team and the community highlights five years of a fascinating journey. We have navigated our way through ups and downs and with retrospection have uncovered common threads that embody our journey, and TEDx as a movement. We have embraced the challenge that putting TEDxCapeTown together each year brings, almost as strongly as we have embraced the community that supports it. We too have experienced the daily dichotomies between openness, access and control that creep in when being part of any endeavour. Sometimes, we work within the parameters and sometimes we challenge them.

Is there a fine line between openness, access and control? Do constraints provide us with a safe and free society in which to thrive, or do they hinder our existence? We will be tackling these difficult questions at TEDxCapeTown 2015.

Cape Town City Hall
1 Darling Street
cape town, Western Cape, 8001
South Africa
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Speakers may not be confirmed. Check event website for more information.

Ntombe Thongo

Ntombe Thongo is a musician and traditional healer, born and raised in Mthambalala village near the Ntafufu river mouth, about 25 kilometers from Port St Johns in the Eastern Cape. He became a sangoma (traditional healer) at the age of six, having undergone training which included dream interpretation, and the use of traditional plant medicines. Ntombe Thongo's musical career as a guitarist began in 1992, and he he subsequently combined his healing skills with his musicality, which afforded him a new platform of communication. "Seventy percent of the things which I sing about come from my dreams", he explains. "Music and healing go together. I am healing those who listen to my music." Ntombethongo's style is unique and the audience is totally taken in by his incredible dance moves, innocently beautiful voice, and crazy traditional beaded dress, with mini skirt and high heels.

Ryan Coetzee & Band

Cape Town based singer/songwriter, Ryan Coetzee performs with friends at TedxCapeTown 2015. Originally from KwaZulu Natal, his music is heavily influenced by his love of Afro acoustic reggae, developed during a year spent living in an informal settlement in the rural midlands.

The Unbinding


Adriana Marais

Adriana Marais studied theoretical physics and philosophy at the University of Cape Town. She completed her MSc summa cum laude in quantum cryptography at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN), and was awarded her PhD in quantum biology at the same institute earlier this year. She is a member of the Quantum Research Group established by Prof. Francesco Petruccione at UKZN, and plans to continue doing research in quantum biology, specifically studying quantum effects in photosynthesis as well as the origins of prebiotic molecules and life itself. Adriana has published a number of scientific and media articles on her research. Most recently, she and her team published an article “A quantum protective mechanism in photosynthesis” in the Nature journal Scientific Reports. In 2014 she was one of 200 Young South African achievers recognised by the Mail and Guardian. In 2015 she was one of 15 recipients worldwide of a L’Oreal‐UNESCO International Rising Talent Grant for Women in Science.

Braam Malherbe

Braam Malherbe is an international motivational speaker, extreme adventurer, conservationist, youth developer, TV presenter and author of the best seller, The Great Run. In 2006 Braam, together with a running partner, accomplishing a world first by running approximate 2,610 miles (4,200 kms) along the entire length of the Great Wall of China in a single attempt. This translated into running an average of more than a full marathon a day for 98 days. In 2008 he achieved a second world-first by running the entire coastline of South Africa, a distance of over 1,988 miles (3, 200 kms). In 2011 with his partner represented South Africa in an unassisted race to the South Pole, a distance of approximate 551 miles (888 kms), which they covered in 24 days. Braam and Pete van Kets will be doing an unassisted (zero carbon emissions) circumnavigation around the Tropic of Capricorn.

Heather Tuffin

Heather Tuffin is a medical doctor turned improvement scientist. She works with staff in the Western Cape provincial health system to improve patient care processes, with the joint aims of improving health outcomes and creating a greater level of joy in the workplace. She is an honorary lecturer for the faculty of Emergency Medicine at UCT, where she teaches Patient Safety and Improvement Science as part of their Masters programme.In 2014 the Lean Institute Africa awarded Heather the De Beers Diamond Award for “Excellence in making South Africa a better place for all”. Heather is the mother of Bridget and Kelor, who she adopted as teenagers in 2010.

Ian McCallum

Ian McCallum is a psychiatrist, analytical psychologist and a specialist wilderness guide. A former rugby Springbok, he is a director of the Wilderness Foundation, a trustee of the Cape Leopard Trust and the author of multiple publications including two anthologies of wilderness poems: Wild Gifts(1999) and Untamed (2012). His book: Ecological Intelligence – Rediscovering Ourselves in Nature – won the Wild Literary Award at the World Wilderness Congress in 2009. An adjunct professor at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, his academic interests focus on evolutionary biology, conservation psychology and environmental ethics. In 2012, together with friend and journalist, Ian Michler, he completed a five-month, 5000 km journey through six southern African countries, walking, cycling and kayaking to highlight the importance of trans-frontier/corridor conservation.

Jill Farrant

Jill Farrant is a Professor and holds a research chair in Plant Molecular Physiology in the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, University of Cape Town. She is an acknowledged world leader in the field of plant desiccation tolerance, working on both seeds and resurrection plants. Her fundamental research involves use of a systems biology approach (using techniques in molecular biology, biochemistry, cell biology and physiology) to understand the protection mechanisms laid down in orthodox seeds and vegetative tissue of resurrection plants, with the ultimate aim of using key protectants identified to make drought tolerant crops.

Kelsey Wiens

"Our Canadian in Cape Town, Kelsey arrived here on her bicycle in 2010 - from Cairo.  A Librarian and Creative Commons Public Lead for South Africa, Kelsey spends her time looking for opportunities to make things open.  She works with organizations to establish effective Open Policies  and advocates for OpenTextbooks. In her spare time, she's the chief curator for The Podcast Club - an online community that sources and shares great podcasts."

Kyle Louw

Kyle Louw is an internationally recognized spoken word poet who resides in Cape Town, South Africa. He is considered one of the best the Mother City has to offer and his impressive track record over the last two year proves just that. In this short time Kyle has been crowned the ‘Best English Poet’, taken home 3 Slam Championship titles; placed 3rd in both the Drama for Life Slam and the Annual Open Book Festival Slam, was a Stanza World Digital Slam Finalist, a Rising Star Talent Search Finalist and battled through five hundred hopefuls to take runner-up at the first ever Cape Town Talent Search finals. He has shared the stage with several international artists including Alysia Harris, Harry Baker (World Slam Champion) as well as Luka Lesson (Australian Slam Champion). Kyle has had work published in international magazines and websites and has performed in all major venues including the Baxter, the Fugard, the Artscape , the Magnet Theatre and the All Star Theatre to name a few.

Marek Dziembowski

Marek Dziembowski shares his experience as a seasoned shadow chaser, following total solar eclipses around the globe at remote locations over the past decades.

Marlene Wasserman

Infidelity has always posed a threat to marriages and relationships and with the technological era in which we live, another form of infidelity makes its appearance : Cyber Infidelity. Dr Marlene Wasserman, Couple & Sex Therapist, founder of the DR EVE brand, utilised the database of and gathered stories from clients whilst living online for 2 years. She exposes this new seduction and the impact of accessible, anonymous & affordable online connections on modern- day expectations of monogamy, fidelity and commitment.

Myrna Lewis

Myrna is a leading thinker and practitioner in the field of transformative leadership and facilitation. She together with her late husband Gregory Lewis a co-founded the Lewis Method of Deep Democracy whilst assisting South Africa's utility company transform from an Apartheid driven organization to align with South Africa's new democracy. Myrna has a M.A. degree in Clinical Psychology. Myrna consults locally and internationally around the complex issues rooted in personal, social, political change, diversity and minority issues. Myrna is the recipient of a 2001 Ashoka Fellowship award from the Ashoka Foundation based in Washington. In 2006, the United Nations recognised Deep Democracy as one of 80 leading African innovations, In 2008 Myrna was Finalist in the South African Business Women of the Year award In 2008 she published her book “Inside the NO – Five Steps to Decisions that Last”. Myrna is the mother of two and grandmother of four and lives in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Sizwe Mxobo

Sizwe Mxobo born is a project coordinator at the Community Organisation Resources Center (CORC), born and raised in the informal settlements of the Cape flats, from Khayelitsha to Nyanga east were he is currently residing; this young urbanist who studied Town and Regional Planning at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT), his interest and passion lies in informal settlement Upgrading in unison with public participation which is seen as a founding key element of such a process. His Work experience encompasses an engagement in the City of Cape of Town Land Use Management department (Khayelitsha district), the coordination and management of key re-blocking projects such as Mtshini Wam and Flamingo informal settlements.Sizwe was recently honored by the South African Planning Institute (SAPI) as the 2014: National Planning Award: Outstanding Young Planner.

The Dagga Couple

In 2010 Julian and Myrtle were raided in their home and arrested for Cannabis possession. Dubbed ‘The Dagga Couple’ by the SA media, they set aside their careers in the Film and Television industry to establish a non-profit company to support their Constitutional Court Challenge. Fields of Green for ALL assists fellow South Africans who find themselves on the wrong side of the law. This is part of the preparation for The Trial of the Plant set down to start in the Pretoria High Court in March 2016.

Vinny Lingham

Vinny is a well renowned South Africa technology innovator and founder of multiple startups, most recently which was sold to First Data Corporation in 2014. Vinny is also a prolific Angel investor and Dragon on the TV Show, Dragon's Den South Africa.

Organizing team


Cape Town, South Africa
  • Saskia Busch
    Portfolio Lead
  • Jonathan Endean
    Portfolio Lead
  • Carla Goldstein
    Portfolio Lead
  • Muriel Argent
    Portfolio Lead
  • Samantha Wolhuter
    Portfolio Lead