In a large auditorium in the Catholic University of East Africa Ongata Rongai campus, techies, entrepreneurs, and even creatives shared their best ideas to a room full of eager attendees. The TED Idea Search was based on the premise that “there is always something new coming out of Africa.” According to the TED website, some speakers will be invited to expand on their talks on the TEDGlobal 2017 main stage in Arusha, Tanzania, scheduled to take place in April 2017. Another TED Idea Search is ongoing in Lagos Nigeria. The Nairobi event featured Uganda dance crew Ghetto Kids as well as a spoken performance from Mufasa.
The event that began mid-morning went on into the afternoon with many sharing concepts that could change Africa and the world. There were at least 15 presenters on stage with individuals with backgrounds in photography, design, architecture as well as engineering sharing the prestigious TED stage. Among the Kenyans who presented their ideas was Mutua Matheka a well-known photography on a mission to capture Africa’s cities and bring awareness to the beautiful cityscapes on the African continent. In his project “Unscrambling Africa”, Matheka hopes to “create a new reality for Africa” and showcase the unappreciated urban settings.
Amongst the women presenting was Egyptian-born designer Ghada Wali. Young, beautiful and highly driven, she shared her passion for using design for social change. Shining a light on the Arabic language, she modeled the Arabic alphabet out of lego blocks to demystify the Arabic culture and language often associated with terrorism. A Masters graduate in design from the University of Florence, Ghada continues to reach many, changing stereotypes and bridging the gap between people. Featured on the 2017 European Forbes List Top 30 under 30, her presentation encouraged discussions in subjects of culture and religion many often ignore.
The TED stage was host to a number of powerful presentations on environmental conservation, developments in healthcare provision and African architecture. Sitawa Wafula, a young lady diagnosed with Epilepsy a few months before her KCSE examinations shared her struggles with the diseases and called for the need for sensitization on mental health to reduce its stigma. Full of optimism, she carefully worded her presentation and gained the respect of the audience with the courage she exhibited in sharing her story.
TED Nairobi Idea Search is part of the global community TED, that holds talks focused on sharing ideas on technology, entertainment, and design. Visit the site for more.