x = independently organized TED event

Theme: The Power Of X

This event occurred on
November 28, 2021
Cape Town, Western Cape
South Africa

TEDxCapeTown's 2021 theme icon for The Power of X.
It’s been 10 years since we first started our journey together, and what a ride it's been.
If you’ve had the opportunity to join one of our events, you would know that we’re big on spreading ideas. Whether it's exploring technological possibilities (Technology), the evolution of music, poetry, and art (Entertainment), or how to reimagine urban, public spaces (Design) - we’ve got you covered.

What does the “x” in TEDx stand for? The X represents who we are, what we've accomplished over the past 10 years, and most importantly, the X is you. It's the culmination of our united vision, which has sparked the ideas of our incredible speakers that take our stage. It creates a space for local voices and solutions to be heard.

The “X” is the glue that brings us together and champions us to invent, create, and push the frontiers of what is deemed feasible in our towns, country, and continent. It is a symbol of what can be accomplished when we work together.

To celebrate our 10th year, we're looking to explore ‘The Power of X’.

Power can be found in a variety of places: ideas, stories, and experiences, courage and compassion, strong challengers of the status quo, and silent enablers of progress.

This is for everyone who has yearned to make a difference. We encourage you to map ‘The Power of X' - the power of everything we are – and determine what steps need to be taken to protect our environment, explore technological possibilities, promote education, increase social influence, and provide meaningful enjoyment.

Here's to another 10 years exploring, evolving and thinking outside of the box.

The journey to reaching a theme name is no easy task.

We acknowledge the contribution by every member to bring our 2021 theme to life!

Special thanks to the TEDxCapeTown Design Lead, Robin Moodley, for transforming our theme idea into this dynamic design. The design captures 10 years of ‘The Power of X’! Every layer was inspired by past event icon designs, and the colours represent growth, innovation, diversity and inclusivity.

Workshop17, Watershed
40 Dock Road
Cape Town, Western Cape, 8002
South Africa
Event type:
Standard (What is this?)
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Speakers may not be confirmed. Check event website for more information.

Abraham van den Berg

Abe van den Berg is a ukulele and classical guitar teacher, learning experience designer at Mobile Music Academy, and the creator of Laughing Abe - a musical education superhero who promotes kind learning with visual support. He won a grant to study Mechanical Engineering at the University of Stellenbosch after his team won the National Technology Olympiad in 2006 and, after graduating, furthered his studies in music, languages, and creative arts while travelling. Abe has played double bass in various orchestras including the National Youth Orchestra, in 2009, and developed his own ukulele teaching method in 2017. He’s determined to make learning to play the ukulele and other musical instruments fun and engaging and wants to create a more inclusive education system with visual support.

Brett Thompson

Brett Thompson is the Co-Founder and CEO of Mzansi Meat Co., Africa’s first cultivated meat company, the co-creator of Discourse ZA, and the co-founder of Credence Institute. Brett studied finance and economics at the University of Cape Town and Stellenbosch University; has worked in alternative protein and animal advocacy for more than a decade in both South Africa and Germany; and is constantly interested in the way we eat and how we can use innovation to drive better food systems. With all of his research and work to back him, Brett brought to the TEDxCapeTown stage the idea of food in abundance - where both humans and animals will benefit.

Chaeli Mycroft

Multi-award-winning Chaeli Mycroft graduated from the University of Cape Town in 2015 with majors in Politics and Social development, gained her honours degree in Social Policy and Management in 2016, and a Mphil degree in Human Rights Law in 2019. She has been recognised as an international ability activist, awarded the International Children’s Peace Prize in 2011, was welcomed as an Obama Foundation #AfricanLeader and Global Changemaker, and appointed to the Global Board of Generation Unlimited - a global initiative housed under UNICEF. Chaeli competes in international wheelchair dancing competitions and was the first wheelchair athlete in 95 years to finish the iconic 89km Comrades marathon. She became the 1st adaptive (assisted wheelchair) athlete to get her Comrades back-to-back and competed in her 4th Comrades in June 2019. She has also completed 5 Cape Town Cycle Tours, in a buggy with her cycle partners, and in September 2015 became the first female quadriplegic to summit Mt Kilimanjaro.

Denisha Anand

Denisha Anand is a researcher and intersectional environmentalist currently employed as the biodiversity restoration project manager of a 109ha wetland system in Cape Town. A progressive environmental educator and advocate for restoration and rehabilitation of neglected biodiversity areas associated with BIPOC, she is completing a Masters Degree in environmental humanities, with a focus on intergenerational plant-human practice and intimacies, at the University of the Western Cape. Her talk on the TEDxCapeTown stage brings to light a thought-provoking idea that our custodianship allows us to reclaim natural and cultural heritage through simple acts of care.

Dr. Mao Amis

Dr. Mao Amis is the Founder of the African Centre for Green Economy, a research think tank based in South Africa. He has 15 years of experience in the green economy sector in Africa as well as globally. Dr Amis advises on a range of topics including climate finance, climate-smart agriculture, water stewardship, public-private partnerships, inclusive business models, and corporate sustainability strategies to name a few. He holds an MSc and PhD in Conservation Biology from the University of Cape Town and serves on various Boards as a non-Executive Director, including the Table Mountain Fund (TMF), South African Renewable Energy Business Incubator (SAREBI), and the Freshwater Research Centre. He highlights the leadership provided by grassroots communities in building ecological and economic resilience.

Dr. Nonhlanhla S. Mkumbuzi

Dr. Nonhlanhla S. Mkumbuzi is a sports medicine researcher deep diving into how to transform the fact that Female African athletes (and other systemically marginalised groups) are near invisible in sports science literature. In Nonhlanhla’s own words, “it's not ok and it needs to change.” Her research emphasises the intersectionality of gender, race, socio-economics, culture, and biology inside the athletic performance and rehabilitation of female African athletes. She’s taking our stage, with the intention of inspiring action and changing the way female African athletes are viewed in sports.

Gregor Röhrig

A passionate creative that loves sharing his insights and viewpoints, Gregor Rohrig is a trained Visual Journalist, Social Anthropologist, and Depth Psychologist with nearly 20 years experience as a photographer who recognises what it takes to evoke an authentic response and build meaning through imagery. Using his career experience and insight, Gregor found that he was able to help clients and their people by providing a decisive, outside perspective that lends an eye when identifying blindspots, analysing processes, and solving more nuanced behavioural and managerial challenges. Currently, he works as the Visual Anthropologist for Yoco, a fintech startup. Gregor shares how visual anthropology can be used as both a reflective and observational tool when helping document, reflect, and understand the meaning behind thriving work cultures, and their growth.

Jabulani Sibiya

Jabulani Sibiya is the founder of Touch South Africa, a non-profit with a vision to transition young creatives in Africa into the creative industry and foster their skills development. He is also a Senior Strategist at M&C Saatchi, a national water polo coach for the junior men’s division and believes in the power of engaged, solution-orientated societies. Jabulani gets out of bed each morning, motivated by the knowledge that he can impact someone's life, and loves the diverse cultures within South Africa.

Josephine Eyre

Josephine Eyre, a PhD candidate focused on creative collaboration in the metaverse, is on a mission to help people deeply connect with each other using technology as an enabler. She has a passion for human communication, digital anthropology and frontier technologies, and is curious about how emerging technology impacts the nature of human communication. Jo’s research is focused on workplace communication in extended reality environments and her power of X - the power of virtual reality - will explore how the metaverse could reignite workplace creativity and inspire us to achieve what is seemingly impossible.

Lonwabo Marele

Lonwabo (Lobz) Marele is a multimedia journalist, media entrepreneur, philanthropist, and public speaker who aims to create a hub of multimedia entrepreneurs throughout the African landscape. Through sports and life skills programmes, this co-founder and deputy chairman of the NGO Ngcayisa and Marele Foundation, helps the homeless and youth in previously disadvantaged societies with education and nutritional programmes. Through these experiences, and those gained through founding and running Successful Journals - a digital wealth magazine and consulting agency - Lobz discovered that generational wealth creation in our townships is simpler than we realise.

Nadene Grabham

Nadene Grabham is the operations Director at Door of Hope Children's mission and the co-founder of Baby Savers SA. She got her start as a Forex Trader, but found a new direction when she began volunteering for Door of Hope in 2011. This new direction would lead her to meet Dr Whitney Rosenburg, with whom she would co-found Baby Savers SA. Through their organisation, they have drafted a law proposal that will be presented to parliament to legalise the safe relinquishment of babies through Baby Savers, metal containers built into the wall of safe houses, as an alternative to unsafe abandonment. Nadene’s goal is to have this law approved and included in the Children's Act. Nadene shares her thoughts on the crisis of babies being abandoned in South Africa and how legalising Baby Savers may help the children of South Africa.

Paddy Upton

Paddy Upton is a professor at the Business and Law Faculty of Deakin University based in Melbourne, Australia, and has obtained various degrees from four different universities including two Master’s degrees. During his 25 years of experience working in high-performing teams in business and sport, Paddy served as the Indian national cricket team's Mental Conditioning and Strategic Leadership coach, assisting them in winning the 2011 ICC Cricket World Cup for the first time in 28 years and becoming the World's No. 1 Test Team for the first time. He then helped guide the South African cricket team to become the first to hold the World No. 1 rating in all three formats of the game, as their Performance Director. Paddy, author of ‘The Barefoot Coach’, shares better ways of harnessing collective intelligence of a team/ group which he’s learned and applied to see his teams to victory.

Pride Maunatlala

Pride Maunatlala's work is centered around using purpose to unlock innovation. She is a Chief Consumer Officer at a fintech startup and a strategy consultant with over 18 years of corporate experience in multiple industries including Retail, FMCG and Financial Services. Pride is also a Purpose Coach at the Branson Center of Entrepreneurship, where she guides entrepreneurs on designing business models for good and for profit. With her in-depth experience of corporates and entrepreneurship, she is continuously looking at ways to unlock opportunities for innovation through repurposing what we already have. Her passion for the growth acceleration of women professionals and entrepreneurs led her to volunteer as Director at SheSays, the only global network for women in advertising and other creative industries. She is also an alumna at the Zanele Mbeki Fellowship for Female Leadership in Africa. On the days in between, you will find Pride at sanctuaries of silence learning yoga and meditation; wherever women gather, laugh and eat; or punching through life’s barriers in boxing classes.

Robyn Phillips

Robyn Phillips is the Creative Lead at Touch South Africa, a non-profit with a vision to transition young creatives in Africa into the creative industry and foster their skills development. She’s also an Integrated Art Director at The King James Group, member of The Loeries Youth Committee - a board of 15 creatives under 30 from Africa and the Middle East - and a mental health and inclusivity activist who believes that if we do not undertake activities to include, we are indirectly excluding. Robyn gives this talk to inspire others to assist young talent and cement the understanding that pulling up a seat for youth in the corporate industry is important.

Zandile Ndhlovu

Zandile Ndhlovu, an ocean lover, freediving instructor, and diversity and inclusion consultant, seeks to create diverse representation in the Ocean Arena through her organisation, The Black Mermaid Foundation. She is a NEWF and Jackson Wild 2021 Fellow and her work centres around creating first encounters, to expose youth to the ocean.

Organizing team


Cape Town, South Africa


Cape Town, South Africa