South Africa is full of inspiring individuals and impressive success stories. Many of these don’t receive the attention they deserve. In recent years, TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) has provided a platform for people from South Africa to share their unique insights on both global and local problems. Here are seven inspiring TED Talks that highlight just some of the country’s entrepreneurial successes and untapped resources.
Ludwick Marishane: A bath without water
Ludwick Marishane’s story is an inspiring one. Not only because he developed a remarkable product that solves a significant problem around in the developing world. But also because as a young, motivated entrepreneur with limited resources, he was able to channel his passion and enthusiasm to create a groundbreaking product. In spite of his limited resources, his TED Talk, given in Johannesburg in 2012, makes it clear that what he has done is no different to how many entrepreneurs around the world respond to similar problems. He also offers some inspiring quotes for aspiring entrepreneurs. “On the gravel roads of Limpopo with an allowance of R50 per week, I came up with a way for the world not to bath,” he says towards the end of his talk. “What’s stopping you?”
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1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
Boyd Varty: What I learned from Nelson Mandela
Though titled “What I learned from Nelson Mandela”, this talk by Boyd Varty’s is more about perseverance, loyalty and unity. Varty, who grew up in the South African bush, had a close relationship with wild animals and the people who live among them. He shares two stories about his childhood that relate to the somewhat overused term of Ubuntu. But considered in the right context, these tales will serve as inspiration for a wide slice of life, including business.
Toby Shapshak: You don’t need an app for that
South African tech journalist Toby Shapshak used his talk at TED Edinburgh to shed some light on just how many technological advancements have emerged from the African continent. As Shapshak points out, many people around the world still see Africa as “The Dark Continent”. He debunks this myth of Africa being a technological backwater, and instead spreads an inspirational message with real-world examples of just how industrious and genuinely innovative the continent is.
Bruce Dube: Capitalising on South Africa’s demographic dividend
Social entrepreneur Bruce Dube opens his TEDxPretoria talk with a story that could fit into many global societies. He was trapped in a job he hated and realised it was leaving him feeling largely frustrated and unfulfilled. From there, his story is anything but ordinary. He speaks about his life from childhood to adulthood, and how he was able to capitalise on digital and social media and South Africa’s demographic dividend. It’s a remarkable story about seeing a gap and taking it, regardless of your personal background or situation.
Vusi Thembekwayo: The Big Lie of Small Business
Vusi Thembekwayo is one of South Africa’s most respected entrepreneurs and public speakers, and his inspiring TEDxUniversityofNamiba talk highlights some of the country’s best ideas. At the same time, he identifies just how much potential remains untapped in the country. By drawing on successful small businesses and their limited large scale success, he attempts to provide guidance, suggestions and real world examples on why there is no reason why small entrepreneurs can’t turn their operations into big business.
Kopano Matlwa Mabaso: What to do when a moonshot falls short
South African doctor Kopano Matlwa Mabaso talks about how she and friend Chrystelle Wedi had a vision of setting up mobile ultrasound scan clinics in remote parts of Africa. These clinics have the potential to save thousands of lives across the continent. But everything did not go as they expected. Mabaso’s talk is a sobering reminder of the difficulties many African women still face, how social entrepreneurs play a critical role on the continent, and how difficult it can be to succeed. More than anything, it’s a talk about how to pick yourself up and keep going in the face of setbacks and adversity.
Elon Musk: The mind behind Tesla, SpaceX, SolarCity
Elon Musk is the poster child for South African entrepreneurial success. Though Musk is without doubt the country’s most prolific entrepreneur and businessman, many around the world are unaware that he had his start in South Africa. Though this is not a traditional TED Talk, the insights and interviews that Musk shares during the TED interview are not only fascinating and insightful, but should serve as inspiration for any entrepreneur, South African or not.
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