x = independently organized TED event

Theme: Decoding Greatness

This event occurred on
November 30, 2018
8:55am - 4:45pm SAST
(UTC +2hrs)
Johannesburg, Gauteng
South Africa

The crowning pieces of the legend of Nelson Mandela were set in place in a small, dimly lit jail cell that could hardly contain his larger-than-life frame. Contrary to intent, this cold, unassuming room—where he served the initial eighteen years of his sentence—was where he learned the most consequential lessons of his life.

As a result, a more tempered Nelson Mandela stepped out of captivity, to meet with destiny, and rejoin his comrades in their heroic fight for freedom, justice and democracy.

By the time he rested, he had devoted a solid sixty-seven years to the service of humanity, as a human rights lawyer, a prisoner of conscience, an international peacemaker, and the first democratically elected president of a free South Africa.

In the year that he would have turned a hundred, on Friday 30 November 2018, at Vodacom World in Midrand, TEDxJohannesburg celebrates Nelson Mandela, and many others like him.

TEDxJohannesburg 2018: Decoding Greatness, features the tales, deeds, and works of gurus, heroes, and legends – living and past, from all walks of life, across disciplines.

Expect perspectives from giants in business, innovation, culture, scholarship, and sports – including visionary CEOs, legendary entrepreneurs, inspirational artists, incisive analysts, and champion performers.

Through their stories, we'll get to measure how much, how far, and which way the future bends, under the spell of greatness.

Best of all, we hope to learn what it takes to do great things.

TEDxJohannesburg 2018: Decoding Greatness, is brought to you by Vodacom World.

Vodacom World
082 Vodacom Boulevard
Johannesburg, Gauteng, 1682
South Africa
Event type:
Standard (What is this?)
See more ­T­E­Dx­Johannesburg events


Speakers may not be confirmed. Check event website for more information.

André Vermeulen

CEO of Neuro-Link, Author
Dr. André Vermeulen is founding member and CEO of Neuro-Link, a boutique consultancy utilizing applied neuroscience to develop talent, increase performance and maintain wellness. He is a global thought leader in how neuro-agility can improve performance. André has developed and patented cutting edge neuro-agility assessments and applied neuroscience learning solutions that are used by children in education, and adults in business and sports across the globe. He has published more than 43 leading articles on the development implications of the brain and mental health.

Ann Rosenberg

Senior VP & Global Head of SAP Next-Gen
Ann Rosenberg leads SAP Next-Gen, a purpose driven innovation university and community aligned with SAP’s commitment to the 17 UN SDGs, and supporting SAP’s customers across 32 industries in over 180 countries. The community leverages over 3 600 educational institutions in 116 countries, over 110 labs and hubs at universities and partner locations, over 90 SAP Next-Gen Chapters, as well as startups, accelerators, venture firms, futurists, and purpose driven institutions. The community also leverages SAP’s 100+ innovation centres and SAP’s network of 17 000+ partner companies.

Brian Green

Property Developer
Brian is the co-founder and the creative inspiration behind Group 44 Properties in Johannesburg, South Africa. The company is focused on urban renewal, both as consultants and as owners of a property portfolio. Since its inception in 2003 Group 44 has redeveloped vacant and derelict inner city high-rise and industrial areas into highly sought after retail and commercial precincts. Their property portfolio includes 44 Stanley - an vibey retail precinct, and their latest project Victoria Yards – an artisan development precinct.

Doc Watson

Conservationist, Founding Member of Dimension Data
Part of the Dimension Data group for 32 years, Doc Watson leads the company’s global strategic relationship with Cisco Systems and serves on the Britehouse Technologies Board of Directors. Between 1998 and 2002, Doc was on the Board of Dimension Data Holdings with the responsibility of developing the Group's global networking services operations, and all operations in the UK and Europe. Doc Watson is founder of the pilot Connected Conservation project that with the help of Dimension Data and Cisco has been successfully installed in a private reserve adjacent to the Kruger National Park.

Jacques Celliers

Jacques Celliers is an engineer by training. In his 12 years at FNB, he has managed a number of initiatives focusing particularly on innovative entry strategies in certain new markets that FNB identified for expansion and joint ventures. Prior to being appointed CEO of Business Banking, he ran FNB Credit Card and FNB Retail Foreign Exchange. Jacques graduated as an Engineer from the University of Stellenbosch in 1994. In 1998, he completed an MBA at the University of Cape Town's Graduate School of Business and was an exchange student at Wharton College, University of Pennsylvania in the USA.

Janine Scholefield

Geneticist, Stem Cell Researcher
After her PhD in Human Genetics at UCT, Janine Scholefield spent three years as a Nuffield Medical Fellow at Oxford. Since returning to South Africa she has specialised in cellular modeling of disease by being the first to establish induced pluripotent stem cell research in the country. Her research interest is in developing physiologically relevant cellular models of disease using advanced technologies, including super-resolution microscopy, stem cells and genome engineering, especially within the unique context of the diverse sub-Saharan African genetic background.

Karim Sadr

Karim Sadr is a professor of archaeology at the University of the Witwatersrand. He has been in Southern Africa since 1990 and has produced a hundred scholarly publications on various aspects of African archaeology. Since 2008 he has been studying the ancient stone walled settlements between the Witwatersrand and the River Vaal. His remote sensing studies using satellite and LiDAR imagery have shown that this was the domain of a Tswana city-state which flourished in the early nineteenth century.

Laduma Ngxokolo

Fashion Designer
Laduma Ngxokolo is one of Africa's finest knitwear designers, and creator of the Xhosa inspired knitwear brand MaXhosa By Laduma. He has received numerous awards locally and globally, including the 2015 Vogue Italia Scouting for Africa prize, and the 2014 WeTransfer scholarship. New African Magazine named him one of the 100 Most Influential Africans of 2017. His work has captured the hearts of fashion lovers from South Africa, to London, Paris, Amsterdam, Oslo, Berlin and New York. Laduma uses his work as a means to push traditional African culture into the future.

Majken Gilmartin

Co-founder & CEO, Eir Soccer & Global Goals World Cup
Majken Gilmartin is co-founder and CEO of Eir Soccer, and was winner of the Olympic trophy for Women and Sport for Europe in 2016. She co-founded Global Goals World Cup, a Danish sports organisation seeking to create a new type of football world cup. In partnership with the UN, Global Goals World Cup organises the first ever 5-a-side football amateur world championship for women, where teams play football and take actions for the Global Goals, also known as the Sustainable Development Goals. Majken and her team have so far organised 9 Global Goals World Cup events, and 2 Global Goals Leagues.

Mandy Wiener

Journalist, Author
Mandy Wiener is an award-winning investigative journalist and author. She has been reporting on crime in South Africa for the past decade. Her book Killing Kebble: An Underworld Exposed, was a South African publishing phenomenon, with nearly 80 000 copies sold. She also wrote My Second Initiation: The Memoir of Vusi Pikoli, Ministry of Crime: An Underworld Explored, and co-authored Behind the Door: The Oscar Pistorius and Reeva Steenkamp Story. With almost 300 000 followers on Twitter, Mandy has broken new ground for live tweeting court cases and stories on the social media platform.

Mariella Furrer

Photographer, Author
Mariella Furrer is a documentary photography who's work focuses on social issues relating to women and children around the world.

Martijn Lampert

Research Director & Co-founder of Glocalities
Martijn Lampert leads Glocalities, an Amsterdam based international agency researching values, lifestyle and psychology all over the world. The research program includes South Africa and covers 27 countries, based on interviews with more than 160 000 people. NGOs, governments and multinationals use Glocalities insights to drive activations based on a deep understanding of sustainability trends, people and cultures. Martijn frequently presents and publishes about international trends, and is a member of the Policy Advisory Committee for Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100.

Mutinta Bbenkele

Arts Activist & Spoken Word Artist
Mutinta Bbekele is a spoken word artist whose work has been published in The Sol Plaatje European Union Poetry Anthology Vol. VI, and the Next Generation Speaks Global Youth Anthology. She has traveled and performed in Hungary, Bulgaria, the USA, the Netherlands, Senegal, Botswana, Namibia, and recently completed a 5-city tour of Italy. She has shared stages with the respected and renowned Lebo Mashile, Keorapetse Kgositsile, Akua Naru, Black Ice, The Blk Jks, Alysia Harris and Warsan Shire. Born in Botswana, raised by Zambian parents, she has been living in South Africa from the age of 3.

Nompumelelo Mqwebu

Chef, Author
Founder of the Mzansi International Culinary Festival, and Chef Owner of Africa Meets Europe Cuisine, Nompumelelo is an enterprising chef who has travelled the world honing her skills. Her roots remain planted in Africa, having grown up in a family of pioneering, talented cooks. Her love of African cooking was implanted at an early age, and she has spent her life sharing this passion with others, focusing on the elevation of authentic African cuisine. Her debut cookbook, Through the Eyes of an African Chef, reflects her love for organic ingredients, and simple, tasty African food.

Penny Heyns

Businesswoman, Double Olymplic Gold Medalist
Penny Heyns is arguably the world greatest breaststroker of the 20th Century – she became the only woman in Olympic history to win both the 100m and 200m breaststroke events when she won in Atlanta 1996; she won bronze at Sydney 2000; and she broke 14 individual world records. She is the only breaststroker, male or female, to have held world records in all 3 possible distances – the 50m, 100m, and 200m events. Penny was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 2007, and became the first non-track and field female athlete to be inducted into the Africa Sports Hall of fame in 2012.

Sahm Venter

Author and Senior Researcher, Nelson Mandela Foundation
Sahm Venter is currently the Senior Researcher at the Nelson Mandela Foundation where she has worked since October 2006. She calls herself a 'recovering journalist' having worked in the profession for 25 years in the latter part of the struggle to end apartheid. Among the highlights of her career was being present when Nelson Mandela walked out of Victor Verster prison on Sunday 11 February 1990. One of her favourite quotes by Madiba is 'My wish is that South Africans never give up on the belief in goodness'.

Simphiwe Makapela

Simphiwe Makapela is a South Africa-based Professional Speaker, Entrepreneur and Contributor on Innovation. He contributes for U.S-based publications, Under30CEO and Innovation Excellence. He is a Co-Founder of a Start-up that invented a Rat-Eradication Solution for heavily infested communities and Farms.

Siphiwe Mhlambi

Multiple award-winning photographer Siphiwe is the founder of African Skies Media. He has captured the history of South Africa through his lens: from the children dancing in the dusty townships of South Africa to kings, presidents, and statesmen of the world; from guns blazing during apartheid to the peaceful marches to democracy. He has captured through his lens life and death, celebration and mourning, fear and hope, love and hate, music and song. His work has traveled to every corner of the world and continues to be sought by galleries, and commissioned by universities, institutes, government, and celebrities.

Tanya Accone

Senior Adviser on Innovation at UNICEF
Tanya Accone takes innovations from start up to scale to save lives. Her work with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has brought the benefits of proven innovations to more than 120 million children and their communities in 88 countries. And some of the best ideas were born, bred and built in Africa.

Tebogo Malope

Film Director
Tebogo Malope has received every possible award for his craft in South Africa, including a Cannes Gold Lion, a D&AD Pencil, and two SAFTAs. He was an M&G 200 Young South African in 2013. His work on the TV series Tempy Pushas, Skeem Saam and Isibaya has garnered joint viewership of more than 13 million per week. His feature, For Love and Broken Bones, has won multiple awards, and was a standout in global festivals. He is also an award winning music video director, with expansive work for artists such as Kwesta and Wale on Spirit, Nakhane, DBanj, Fally Ipupa, 2face, Davido, and Don Jazzy.

Tony Lankester

CEO, National Arts Festival
Tony, like many others, got a Journalism degree from Rhodes University. Since then he has had a varied career across the media, broadcasting, corporate and arts sectors. He is currently CEO of South Africa's National Arts Festival and believes that the world would be an infinitely better place if everyone listened to music, went to the theatre, appreciated poetry and travelled the world. He is mildly obsessed with the many WTF moments that make up the train wreck of current American politics.

Organizing team


Johannesburg, South Africa


Johannesburg, South Africa
  • Roche Mamabolo