Past Talks

The talks are conducted by prominent academics, thought leaders, innovators and students on issues affecting civil society in South Africa. Below are a list of speakers that have participated in past talks.


Thandabantu Nhlapo
THE SOUTH AFRICA PROJECT

Thandabantu Nhlapo

A former deputy ambassador of South Africa to the U.S., Thandabantu was appointed by President Mandela to serve on the South African Law Commission. As chair of the Project Committee on Customary Law, Professor Nhlapo was instrumental in the passage of significant legislation in family law and in the empowerment of women and children, including securing legal recognition for marriages concluded under indigenous law. He is the author of two books and has written and spoken extensively on issues of women's rights in family law and of cultural diversity under the South African Constitution.

Pippin Anderson
OUR CHANGING ECOLOGY

Pippin Anderson

Pippin lives in a dense suburb close to the city centre in Cape Town, yet from her roof (she goes up there often for purposes of sanity) she can see Devil's Peak and Table Mountain. She loves this dichotomy where city and nature must coexist, with their different temporal and spatial scales, and each so variably imagined by the population of the City. She is an ecologist by training, and an urbanist at heart. She enjoys grappling with the messiness of the ecology of human dominated landscapes.

Brandon Eckardt
MY CAPE TOWN

Brandon Eckardt

Brandon was born on the Cape Flats. After some poor youthful decisions, he found himself involved in gang and drug-related activities. In 2005 after facing a really tough personal challenge he decided to get his life on track and not allow past mistakes to determine his future. Instead he used his past experiences to build a foundation called Life Changers, the key focus of which is to assist and educate the Cape's so called "rejects of society" (prostitutes, addicts, gang members) and help them turn negative pasts into positive futures.

Bonita Bennett
MY CAPE TOWN

Bonita Bennett

Bonita’s professional training is as a language teacher, with her post-graduate dissertation focusing on narratives of forced removals and the impact of displacement on individual and family lives. Having been involved as an activist for social justice since her days as a student, Bonita – whose family was also forcibly removed from the District - retains her passion and commitment to human rights in her job as director of District Six Museum.

Jasper Slingsby
OUR CHANGING ECOLOGY

Jasper Slingsby

Jasper is fascinated by almost anything, but is particularly enthralled by the natural environment. His current occupation has him setting up environmental monitoring systems and doing long term research into the impacts of global change on biodiversity and ecosystem function. He spends most of his time hoping that his research produces the most positive results possible - no pattern at all!

Nicoli Nattrass
THE SOUTH AFRICA PROJECT

Nicoli Nattrass

Nicoli has been in the School of Economics at the University of Cape Town since 1991. During this time she has also held visiting appointments at Yale and Oxford. She has won the UCT distinguished teachers award and her book ‘The Moral Economy of AIDS in South Africa’ won the UCT book award and the Venter Award. She has published widely in the areas of economic policy and the political-economy of AIDS. She is author of 55 journal articles and 5 books.

Mark New
OUR CHANGING ECOLOGY

Mark New

Mark has mixed feelings - fascination as a scientist and dismay as a global citizen about humanity's current experiment on the Earth System. The scientist in him wants to monitor and understand what happens as the system is pushed beyond its limits. The citizen is alarmed at the inability of society to take the steps required to stop the experiment. Mark heads up UCT's African Climate and Development Initiative, where he hopes an interdisciplinary approach to climate, development and sustainability will find ways to stop the experiment.

Dave Bryant
MY CAPE TOWN

Dave Bryant

Dave is a member of the City of Cape Town Economic Development and Spatial Planning Portfolio, chairperson of the Informal Trading task team and serves as a director on the board of the Cape Town Partnership. Elected at age 27 he is the youngest ever councilor in charge of arguably the most important ward in the Cape Town Metro. He is also a husband and father and the drummer for local swing band "The Swingsetters."

Dieter van den Broeck
OUR CHANGING ECOLOGY

Dieter Van Der Broeck

Dieter is fulfilling his passion pursuing social change in living landscapes. His approach is to facilitate and encourage social learning through transdisciplinary processes in multi-stakeholder environments to build resilient social-ecological communities. Dieter is also engaged in PhD research exploring leadership styles and their capacity to facilitate social learning.

Lauren Kohn
THE SOUTH AFRICA PROJECT

Lauren Kohn

Lauren graduated with a Business Science Degree (with Distinction in Law) from UCT in 2004 and went on to complete her LLB degree in 2006, graduating magna cum laude and being awarded the LexisNexis Butterworths Prize for coming 1st in class overall. Since joining Webber Wentzel, her advice has spanned a broad array of legal fields including public law, administrative law, procurement law, human rights law and regulatory law in a variety of industries (most notably, tobacco control and clinical trials). Currently a Potter Scholar, Lauren is pursuing her LLM Degree (in the special field of Constitutional & Administrative Law) full-time at UCT. She hopes to use her education to help uplift society, and her career aspirations include practising as an Advocate, and ultimately serving as a Constitutional Court Justice.

Jonathon Clark
THE SOUTH AFRICA PROJECT

Jonathon Clark

Jonathan Clark spends his time thinking about education. As a science teacher, curriculum advisor and more recently, school manager, Jonathan has had many years of experience of working in the township of Khayelitsha, watching generations of learners enter and exit the 'hard end' of schooling in this country. Pre apartheid, post apartheid, through social and policy and curriculum change, he has seen it all. Jonathan is now the director of the Schools Development Unit at UCT, where he also heads up the university's Schools Improvement Initiative and confronts on a broader stage the challenges that face the South African education system.

Guy Briggs
MY CAPE TOWN

Guy Briggs

Guy is a practising architect and urban designer, and manages to stay on the wrong side of sanity by teaching UCT's 3rd year architecture students. During his peripatetic career he's been based in Johannesburg, Basel, Berlin, and most recently London, where he became a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and an Academician of the Academy of Urbanism. Guy is also co-founder and network associate of the City-form Africa research network, focussed on urbanisation and sustainability in sub-Saharan Africa. His particular research interest is in what makes cities either 'intelligent' or 'provisional'

The South Africa Project
Monday, 7th May 2012

Lauren Kohn: Why our parliament is failing to hold the Executive to account

Lauren Kohn examines some examples of where the separation of powers in the South African political system are failing and why our democratically elected partliament is failing to hold the Executive to account.

Thandabantu Nhlapo: South African Customary Law

Former deputy ambassador to the United States and current chair of the committee on South African Customary Law, Thandabantu Nhlapo addresses whether the South African constitution makes adequate room for customary laws and traditions.

Nicoli Nattrass: The Employment Challenge in South Africa

Nicoli Nattrass takes an honest look at the facts and figures behind South African unemployment and examines how government policy is set to affect it going forward.

Jonathon Clark: Through the looking glass darkly

A timely look at the state of the South African education system: The remarkable feats we've achieved and the challenges that lie ahead.


My Cape Town
Tuesday, 8th May 2012

Guy Briggs: Regeneration and the Fringe

Guy Briggs - urban designer - talks about Cape Town from the design perspective: How are urban designers envisioning the future of the area now known as the Fringe.

Bonita Bennett: District Six

Bonita Bennett (Director of the District Six Museum) gives a heartfelt talk about the City of Cape Town, its past and present character, and what it means to her as one of its citizens.

Dave Bryant: Challenges facing the municipality of Cape Town

Dave Bryant - Cape Town's youngest ever ward councilor - gives an intriguing talk about Cape Town from the perspective of the municipality, touching on the key developments over the last two centuries and discussing the challenges it faces today.

Lucie Demoynecourt: Interview with Table Mountain

A brief and entertaining history of one of South Africa's best loved icons - Hoerikwaggo, or Table Mountain.


Our Changing Ecology
Wednesday, 9th May 2012

Mark New: Global change and ecology

A brilliant, honest and insightful look at the changing ecology of our planet and how it is set to affect South Africa. Mark New is one of the South Africa's foremost scientists on climate change and director of the African Climate and Development Initiative.

Dieter van den Broeck: Is there still hope?

Dieter van den Broeck - Director of Living Lands - takes a holistic look at man and his environment. Is there still a way to bridge the growing divide between humans and the earth that supports them?

Jasper Slingsby: Biodiversity in South Africa

Awarded the Dean's Medal for top Phd in Science Faculty at UCT, Jasper Slingsby talks about South Africa's rich biodiversity and the interplay between biodiversity and ecology.

Pippin Anderson: The urban ecology of Cape Town

Pippin Anderson discusses the impact of rapid urbanization on the ecological systems in Cape Town.