TEDxJohannesburg Countdown 2023

Thu May 4, 09:00 - Thu May 4, 16:00

Workshop17 The Bank


Join us for TEDxJohannesburg Countdown

To a better, greener, healthier, thriving, resilient, fairer, cooler, creative future.

TEDxJohannesburg is proud to bring you once again Countdown. We’ve fine-tuned this year’s event to spark meaningful conversation and inspire action on climate change. TEDxJohannesburg Countdown 2023 takes place from 8:30 - 16:00, Thursday, 4 May 2023, at Workshop 17 The Bank, Rosebank, Johannesburg.

Through a lineup of diverse and engaging local and international speakers, TEDxJohannesburg Countdown 2023 will explore how climate change works, how it is affecting our planet, and how it impacts us all. We’ll delve deep into the efforts already made to address this global challenge and consider what we must do now to make a real difference.

The event will acknowledge Africa’s unique position in the climate discussion – the asymmetric impact of droughts and floods on local communities, the potential role of indigenous knowledge in finding sustainable solutions, and the debate around the shape and form that a just transition must take.

We’ll hear from scientists, policymakers, activists, business leaders, artists, and writers. Together, they’ll bring a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the stage, offering multifaceted perspectives on the climate crisis and the crucial steps we must take to address it.

Expect to leave feeling informed, empowered, and ready to take on the challenge of creating a more sustainable future for all.

Confirmed speakers include:

Bruce Whitfield – Journalist, Author, Speaker, Optimist

Coleen Vogel – Climatologist

Tammy Greyling & Jesse Naidoo – Conscious Fashion Recyclers

Rendani Mamphiswana – Innovation Expert, Policy Scholar

Jane Griffiths – Author, Organic Gardening Guru

Nkateko Masinga – Writer, Poet

Stephen Hobbs – Visual Artist, Urbanist, Public Art Curator

Bongiwe Ndondo – Social Justice Strategist

Melissa Fourie – Climate Justice Advocate, Environmental Lawyer

Miles Kubheka – Maverick Entrepreneur

Thomas Ryan-Keogh – Biological Oceanographer

Shameela Soobramoney – Business Leader, Sustainability Advocate

Keep an eye on our social media for updates. See you on Thursday 4 May 2023, at Workshop 17 The Bank..


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Bruce Whitfield | Journalist, Author, Speaker, Optimist

Bruce Whitfield is a multi-award-winning journalist, best-selling author and sought-after speaker. Throughout his career, he has had unparalleled access to titans of industry; mavericks who are changing the game; and brilliant entrepreneurs who reimagine what is possible. This access has provided him with an exceptional perspective of how we can change the future. Today. With over 20 years of working in print, broadcast and digital media, he brings a unique brand of realistic optimism to the murky intersection where business, politics and society collide.


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Coleen Vogel | Climatologist

Prof. Coleen Vogel is a climatologist and adaptation specialist, researching systemic risk reduction, climate services, and the human dimensions of urban landscapes. She was a Chapter Lead Author for the Africa Chapter of the IPCC 4th Assessment Report and also contributed to the Synthesis Report for Policy Makers. The author team, along with Al Gore, received a Nobel Peace Prize for the 4th Assessment Report. She was also a Chapter Author for Human Security in the 5th IPCC Assessment Report.


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Tammy Greyling & Jesse Naidoo | Conscious Fashion Recyclers

Tammy Greyling and Jesse Naidoo lead Clothes to Good, a textile recycling and disability empowerment organisation that up-cycles post-consumer fashion waste. Over the last decade, Clothes to Good has built an ecosystem of like-minded organisations committed to sustainable social impact. Clothes to Good recycles hundreds of tons of waste annually and includes people, passion, technology and post-consumer environmental change in their value-cycle to achieve high social impact.


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Rendani Mamphiswana | Innovation Expert and Policy Scholar

Dr. Rendani Mamphiswana is an innovation expert and policy scholar with a background in Process Engineering. He is the Head of Research and Innovation at Nafasi Water Technologies in South Africa, leading technology and business innovation commercialization. His research focuses on innovation and industrial policy in the global South, and he advocates for innovation to grow the South African economy. He holds a Ph.D. in Innovation Policy and Management from the University of Johannesburg.


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Jane Griffiths | Author, Organic Gardening Guru

Jane Griffiths, South Africa's organic gardening expert, has been cultivating organic vegetables, fruits, and herbs in her Johannesburg garden for nearly three decades. In her first book, "Jane's Delicious Garden," she demonstrates how anyone can create a thriving food garden, regardless of space limitations. Her efforts have inspired a vegetable-growing movement in South Africa, resulting in five more best-selling books and thousands of home growers following her lead.


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Nkateko Masinga | Writer and Poet

Nkateko Masinga is an award-winning South African writer and scholar. She is the director of the Internship Program at Africa in Dialogue, as well as the founder and managing director of NSUKU Publishing Consultancy. Nkateko is a graduate of the University of Iowa's 2021 International Writing Program (IWP) and served as the guest editor of a literary supplement comprising work by fellow IWP alumni. In 2022 she was selected by News24 as one of South Africa's 30 Young Mandelas of the Future.


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Bongiwe Ndondo | Social Justice Strategist

Bongiwe Ndondo is the CEO of Hlanganisa Institute for Development Southern Africa and a board member of the South African Alcohol Policy Alliance. She is an accomplished development practitioner and strategic manager with extensive experience in human capital development, governance, social justice, and evaluation science. She has expertise in training, research, evaluations, advocacy, child protection, and social accountability, and has worked with stakeholders at national and regional levels.

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Stephen Hobbs | Visual Artist, Urbanist, Public Art Curator

Hobbs graduated from Wits University with a BAFA, in 1994. He was the curator of the Market Theatre Galleries (1994-2000), Co-Director of the purpose-built Gallery Premises (2004-2008) at the Joburg Theatre. Since 2001 he has co-directed the artist collaborative and public art consultancy – The Trinity Session. Hobbs’ art practice is informed by: architecture and the built environment, art and war, and anatomy and the body and Johannesburg, his hometown, has served as a critical reference point for his artistic insights into the - apartheid city turned African city. 

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Melissa Fourie | Climate justice advocate and environmental lawyer

Melissa Fourie is a climate justice advocate and environmental lawyer. She has spent more than 20 years working on environmental rights, enforcement, air pollution and climate change. She has been at the forefront of environmental and climate litigation, legal advocacy and defending the rights of environmental activists in South Africa as the executive director of the Centre for Environmental Rights, a non-profit environmental public interest law organisation. As a commissioner on the Presidential Climate Commission, she advises the South African government on climate action and the just transition.

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Miles Kubheka | Maverick Entrepreneur

Miles Kubheka, an entrepreneur and author, created a restaurant with the same name and branding as a fictional one from a famous TV ad campaign. This catapulted him to media stardom and entrepreneurial success. In his keynote speeches, he delivers a message of hope for multinationals and small businesses alike: hire the right people with an entrepreneurial mind-set and build a culture that supports employees to become intrepreneurs.

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Thomas Ryan-Keogh | Biological Oceanographer

Dr. Thomas Ryan-Keogh is a Senior Researcher at the Southern Ocean Carbon-Climate Observatory CSIR. His focus is on how climate change has impacted ocean biogeochemistry and phytoplankton physiology and what these changes mean for humanity and the planet. He moved to South Africa in 2015 after receiving his Ph.D. in Biological Oceanography from the University of Southampton. He has participated in over 11 research cruises, primarily to the Southern Ocean. He has published over 20 research articles, most recently in the Journal of Science.


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Shameela Soobramoney | Business Leader, Sustainability Advocate

Shameela Soobramoney is the CEO of the National Business Initiative (NBI), which aims to create a sustainable, equitable, and thriving South Africa. She has held senior corporate strategy, finance, operations, and sustainability positions. With her experience as a former chief sustainability officer of the Johannesburg Securities Exchange and an environmental NGO board member, Shameela is passionate about businesses and countries' role in creating a sustainable world while still thriving economically.



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TEDxJohannesburg Countdown 2023

Thu, 04 May 08:30 AM - Thu, 04 May 04:00 PM



08:30 - 09:00 | Registration

09:00 - 10:30 | Session 1 

Coleen Vogel
Bruce Whitfield
Shameela Soobramoney
Jesse Naidoo
Melissa Fourie

10:30 - 11:00 | Conversation Break

11:00 - 12:30 | Session 2 

Thomas Ryan-Keogh
Rendani Mamphiswana
Stephen Hobbs
Miles Kubheka

12:30 - 13:30 | Lunch

13:30 - 15:00 | Session 3

Bongiwe Ndondo
Tammy Greyling
Nkateko Masinga
Jane Griffiths    

15:00 - 16:00 | Drinks and Conversation


TEDxJohannesburg Countdown 2023
Workshop17 The Bank
Tyrwhitt Ave & Cradock Ave, Rosebank, Johannesburg, 2196
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