TEDxSoweto 2014

Is it fair to be angry at Nelson Mandela for “selling blacks out”, as some say? What would the late former statesman’s response to recent racist tension in the headlines be? Would you take a trip around Africa on your own and put your trust in total strangers? And why are white people all of a sudden embracing the life and culture of Soweto and even living there?

These are some of the thought provoking topics presented by a diverse line up of speakers that got attendees at the fifth edition of TEDxSoweto to ask themselves some very important questions and and occasionally let out a bit of nervous laughter as points and discussions that wouldn’t normally be shared in other public settings were tackled at the event.

The Soweto Theatre again played host to TEDxSoweto, where artists, musicians, entrepreneurs and people from various other industries and backgrounds gathered last Saturday.

This year’s theme was Silver Linings and although no two stories were the same, finding a silver lining in the midst of negativity was a common thread among the talks and stories shared. Here’s just a few of the highlights we saw.

Columnist for the Daily Maverick, Sisonke Msimang, spoke passionately about Nelson Mandela. Specifically, what he meant to South Africans during his lifetime, the contributions he made to non-racialism and South Africa after his death.

“I’m mad at this guy,” Msimang points to an image of Madiba behind her.

“Like most South Africans I love him… but given the number of violent racist incidents that have taken place during this year and the last few years, I find myself wondering whether Nelson Mandela helped blacks by choosing the path of reconciliation and forgiveness, or the path of retribution and justice,” Msimang says.

“If Mandela were here, what would he do?” she asks…

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