Tuesday, 31 December 2013

My TEDxEuston journey and an invitation to stay with us in 2014!

By Chika Unigwe

In 2000, the Economist branded Africa in an article, a “hopeless continent.” I had just returned from Italy where I met an amazing Nigerian social activist, Isoke Aikpitanyi, ex trafficked sex worker who started an NGO to help trafficked women who wanted to quit the trade. Meeting Isoke and others like her who were driven to contribute what they could, refusing to be intimidated by the hurdles ahead of them was a life-changing experience for me. I spoke to my friend Chikwe, about the brain drain that was Africa’s curse, but we also traded stories about people we knew who were returning or who had effectively relocated from the West to Africa to invest on the continent. We also discussed Bianyavanga Wainana’s seminal essay, How to Write about Africa. Chikwe then told me of a conference he had been to with another friend, Ike Anya two years before, and about their idea to have one in London. I was intrigued and so I did not hesitate when he asked me to speak at the first TEDxEuston. I wanted to share stories of people like Isoke with
Speaking at the first TEDxEuston at UCL in 2009
whom I had come in contact. 

My first TEDxEuston was an unforgettable experience. As a Nigerian living in a suburban Flemish community in the North of Belgium, where having a job as an African taxi driver or supermarket cashier was a big cause for celebration, and where despite having two degrees and studying for a PhD, I was offered work as a cleaner by a job centre employee who did not bother reading my CV, being at the event and being confronted with all the different stories brought me very close to tears. The energy in the small room at the University of London in which that first event was held was infectious. I came
The audience at the first TEDxEuston in a UCL classroom

away- as did many of the 100 people in attendance - invigorated and challenged to do more than just complain about everything that was wrong about Africa. We were motivated to walk the walk in addition to talking the talk.  The next year, I joined the team. It is still one of the best, most fulfilling decisions of my life. 

In the thirteen years since the Economist article, there has been a significant shift, so that these days Africa Rising has become an ubiquitous phrase, and there is nowhere where that afroptimism is felt more than at a TEDxEuston conference. Focusing solely on Africa, it is a window into not just a fuller, more balanced narrative of the continent, but also of the possibilities that could be. It is an invitation to think differently of Africa.      

With speakers drawn across several fields: from the arts to business to leadership, TEDxEuston creates a platform for varied discussions around the continent. It challenges the notion of the “single African story.” More than that, it encourages ongoing engagement with and dialogue about Africa. Testimonies from attendees almost always reference the conversations that continue beyond the day. 

TEDxEuston speakers in 2013, in keeping with tradition, were people who not only excelled in their fields, but are in one way or the other helping to shape alternative narratives about Africa. They are representative of the shift in the single African story which is still ongoing. Mixed with performances and some carefully selected talks from the parent organization; TED.com, TEDxEuston 2013 made people laugh, cry, think, but above all to be inspired.  

Every TEDxEuston event is an opportunity to be confronted with Africa that refutes every stereotype of it.

My TEDxEuston journey has evolved from the 'single' story of Chikwe's invitation to a much more complex story of a group of friends that have become more like family; the TEDxEuston team. For a full year, we work hard at putting together an event that represents our hopes and aspirations for our continent without hiding the challenges that we confront daily in achieving the future we seek. In 2014, that journey will continue, and I invite you to stay with us....

With my brother and team mate Paddy Anigbo at the first TEDxEuston

From the first week of January, we will be releasing these talks online. Some of the previous ones, like this one by Chimamada Adichie has been watched almost half a million times after the event. Please do keep in touch, to give us advice, speaker and sponsor suggestions and to encourage us on our journey of inspiring new ideas about Africa.

And finally, a few bits from our TEDxEuston community.....

One of our most committed fans Chidi Ejimofo is part of a choir at the hospital where he
also works as a Consultant in Accident and Emergency Department. This year the choir recorded a CD single on behalf of charity (Macmillan Cancer and several local healthcare charities). The song “A Bridge Over You” ...watch it. Please back the song and cascade the links to buy/download it to friends and family. The song is available for download on iTunes and Amazon  as well as being sold in CD format on the choir website.

And there is a beautiful piece titled GOING HOME by Chibundu Onuzo. 

We wish you a great and to 2013 and all the very best in 2014. Together with the rest of the team, we will be working hard to put together another beautiful and inspiring event together for you....in the mean time, do your bit!

Chika Unigwe for the TEDxEuston team!

Follow us on Twitter @tedxeuston

Thursday, 5 December 2013

...and now; the After-Party!

Its 2 days and 2 sleeps to TEDxEuston 2013! Can't wait? Neither can we! 

It will be a busy day for the mind as we take you on a roller coaster of emotions on Saturday, so at the end of the day, there's no better way to give the mind a rest than to focus on the body!  That's exactly what we'll be doing at the after party! Last year, for the first time ever we opened up the after party to our community. This year, we are taking it to a whole new level...and we really wished we could tell you more! So, for those planning to leave early, think again. If you have arranged childcare - please extend the hours and don't expect to leave until.....well, late. Whatever you do, put on comfortable shoes.

Don't forget - share the love #TEDxEuston

DJ DIBBS will be in the house

Wednesday, 4 December 2013


TEDxEuston is sold out! All the 500 places available are gone! 

If you were unable to get a ticket this year, or you are outside London and want to join us on the day - we will be livestreaming the entire event live on our website www.tedxeuston.com or you can go directly to the link below.

Click on this link for the livestream: http://www.livestream.com/tedxeuston

One year's worth of work, finally comes down to the last few days. One year of emails, skypecalls, google hangouts, negotiating with partners, speakers, venue, caterers, designing the stage, getting the props, developing the website, registration, social media, media planning, arranging for the book stand, logistics for our speakers, all the techinicall stuff, planning the after-party, packing the goodie bags....and it all comes down to the last few days. Last night, some of the team met physically for only the first time this year! The meetings before the event are sometimes tense affairs as we interrogate every aspect of the event. Every year we try to make it slightly better than the last one. Its hard to imagine how it has come to this, from that classroom at UCL where it all began. But in 3 days time, we will offer you a view to our continent that we hope you will be truly proud of and its a pleasure for all of us putting this together every year. The journey is the reward with the bestest team in the world! From wherever you are in the world, join the conversation online, tweet with the hashtag #tedxeuston.

Time to deliver.....

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Volunteers at the heart of TEDxEuston

Today, five days to TEDxEuston 2013, we celebrate our volunteers. On Saturday, they will be at the heart of the delivery of the event, but the work has long started on social media, on the registration platform and will continue long after the event on Saturday.You will find some at the registration desk, on the book stand, working with the various media outlets attending, keeping everyone to time and  generally attending to all your needs.  On Saturday – do not hesitate to ask any of them for help – they will go out of their way to solve any problem you have, the best they can.

Volunteering on TEDxEuston, is special, special for the volunteers, special for the team. There is little else that gives such fulfillment, as to contribute to a journey that says a lot about our shared humanity as it says about ourselves. Last Saturday, we gathered at a central London venue, for what we have called our annual packing party! "Party" indeed you may think, cynically! But what is a party - well, I have just looked it up; and "it is a social gathering of invited guests, typically involving eating, drinking, and entertainment". It was indeed a beautiful party, yes we packed, but we also had great music, food, drinks and a sense of purpose that will be hard to match!We are definitely all fired up for Saturday - its time to deliver! 

TEDxEuston Packing Party 

TEDxEuston Packing Party 

TEDxEuston Packing Party 

TEDxEuston Packing Party 

TEDxEuston Packing Party 

TEDxEuston Packing Party 

Monday, 2 December 2013

5 days to TEDxEuston 2013 - Follow us on Twitter!

The final countdown has begun, sound checks are being done, and your goodie bags are almost full (with a few surprises this year, thanks to our partners). Rehearsals are on-going, presentations are being finalised and the stage is being designed to perfection. Gosh...can we really beat the stage from last year?

Stage at TEDxEuston 2012

Social media is buzzing with expectations on TEDxEuston 2013! So join the buzz! Follow us on Twitter @TEDxEuston, Let us hear your voice (tweet) before, during and after the event. Like our Facebook page here and on Instagram search for "tedxeuston". Share your thoughts, pictures, anecdotes.....Be part of the journey! 

Tag all your tweets with #tedxeuston

While we absolutely loved the feedback you gave us on the board last year :) - we want you to also share it with the world, and with us. Can't wait for Saturday? Yes....we can't wait either! We have 7 tickets left on sale - we will announce the lucky person who buys the very last ticket! :)....so you can hedge your bets! See you on Saturday! 

Feedback at TEDxEuston 2013

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Last few tickets are now on sale for TEDxEuston 2013

Get one of the last tickets for TEDxEuston HERE.

Its 10 days to the highlight of our year…and hopefully yours! During the past few weeks, we have been putting finishing touches to arrangements. The most exciting part of this is working with the speakers to develop their talks into the finished product. The temptation is huge to share some of that with you, but you will have to wait until the 7th!. We get a lot of requests for the programme, but those of you that have been to TEDxEuston, will know that we take all our speakers very seriously and invite you to attend all the talks. You never know where your inspiration will come from! If you came late for TEDxEuston last year, you would have missed out on Albie Sachs – he brought people to tears with the very first talk of the day. You can review our list of speakers here, and contemplate the odds of which one you don’t want to miss!

In addition to the advertised speakers – we will have a few pleasant surprises for you this year….. sorry we really cannot tell you :)

The team is working round the clock to make it a special experience for you from the minute you walk through the doors. So, if you have not done so already, don’t put it off. Get one of the last tickets for TEDxEuston HERE!





Monday, 25 November 2013

The Famous TEDxEuston Bookstand

This year as always, we will have a bookstand at TEDxEuston 2013, and we have a great line up of books recently written by our speakers. We have also asked them to kindly make the time to sign copies of the books that are purchased at the stands! As always, we are selling them at exactly the same price that we get them from the publishers. So come prepared! Unlike previous years however, due to popular demand/request we will also be accepting all debit/credit cards.

Find below a synposis of the three books we will have available!

Reforming the Unreformable- lessons from Nigeria byDr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

This book is Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala’s account of her first stint as Minister of Finance in Nigeria. The key message of the book is that even in the face of entrenched resistance, change is possible where there is the political will. Even though there are barriers to a change, especially in the complex country that Nigeria is,  “Reforming the Unreformable” advocates a look into the fight against corruption, debt negotiations, and an implementation of structural reforms. The FT summarises it as a "handbook for her peers anywhere on how to combat vested interests opposing change".

Ending & Beginnings- A Story of healing by Redi Thabi

Redi Tlhabi’s debut novel, "Endings & Beginnings" is simply a masterpiece in the way it brings home to the reader the tragic effects of apartheid in the lives of different members of a community living in Soweto. It is an account of a tragic social and economic history, where the brutality of an economic system brought unimaginable suffering, and had a destructive effect on the psyche of a population struggling to make sense of their own existence.  A book that brings you to anger, and to tears. Its strength lies in its simple honesty of the effects of a sad era in South’s Africa’s history.

Black Like You- An Autobiography by Herman Mashaba

This is a personal story of survival and determination in the midst of adversity. The power of self belief, which is embodied in having a vision, daring to dream, and making it happen. A struggle which occurred during the apartheid regime, and went on to shape Herman’s world view, and define his resolve not to allow the challenges of life to weigh him down. It is a story of entrepreneurship, how a Herman Mashaba stayed true to his ambitions, and built and grew a successful high impact business, despite the challenges he was faced with.

A few tickets left at www.tedxeuston.com 

Friday, 15 November 2013

What will be your highlight from TEDxEuston 2013?

This is what you remember most from TEDxEuston 2012

What will be your highlight from

  "The Ripple Effect" 

Get one of the last 30 tickets...


Friday, 8 November 2013

And finally we present....TEDxEuston "Extra"

And in 2013, for the first time ever, we will include an "extra" session of slightly shorter talks by 4 special people who could as well be any one in the audience. They have all "challenged conventional wisdom" and chosen career paths that have led to exhilarating ventures. They will share their incredible stories and the impact they are making on our world at TEDxEuston 2013. So gentlemen and ladies, fasten your seat belts and be prepared to be blown away....

Its exactly 4 weeks to go to TEDxEuston 2013: Ripple Effect! Tickets are almost sold out! Get one of the last ones here! "TICKETS"

Jacqueline Nwobu quit her job as a medical technologist in 2010 to found Munaluchi Bride Magazine, the leading nationally distributed wedding magazine catering to women of color in the USA. With no prior experience within the publishing industry, Jacqueline and her husband launched Munaluchi Bride Magazine in 2010. Jacqueline's vision and determination to fill this void is what gave her the strength and willpower to break into and positively impact an industry she knew very little about.

Ikenna Azuike used to work as a lawyer in London and New York with UK and US until he quit in 2008 because it wasn't his passion. He set up a foundation devoted to promoting awareness about sustainability (Strawberry Earth) started working part time as a journalist by interning at Radio Netherlands Worldwide.  In February 2011, frustrated by the unbalanced and often inaccurate portrayal of Africa in western media, he created a video blog called What's Up Africa. What's Up Africa is a provocative, entertaining programme about African news, initiatives and people.

Fadekemi Akinfaderin-Agarau discontinued a career in medicine and left the United States after a life changing experience working as a HIV researcher in South Africa. She is a co-founder and Executive Director of Education as a Vaccine (EVA).  EVA is a non-profit organization that builds and implements innovative programmes to improve the quality of life of vulnerable children and young people in Nigeria. EVA challenges the social, cultural and structural factors that fuel the HIV epidemic and contribute to the poor sexual and reproductive health status of adolescent and young people.

Emeka Keazor trained and worked as a Lawyer both in Nigeria and the UK until he quit in 2012, after a series of personal challenges. He redefined his life-goals, placing his community and Charity work as his main focus. Transforming is hobby- as an amateur historian into his profession; he enrolled into Post-Graduate studies in History. His focus has been to unearth hitherto unknown gems in Nigeria's past, connecting modern day Nigeria to a genuinely glorious past.

Monday, 4 November 2013

Introducing TEDxEuston 2013 speaker: Catherine Phiri

We are proud to introduce our first speaker from Zambia. Catherine Phiri is the managing director of Media 365, a communications which produces award-winning cause related campaigns for leading organizations and is the executive producer of Zambia’s popular drama series Love Games. A passionate advocate for HIV and AIDS awareness, Catherine executive produced Shuga, MTV’s first drama series for Africa with a HIV storyline. Early on this year Catherine was appointed the Zambian chair of the Twenty Ten Club, who's ethos centres on enabling Black female business leaders and aspiring young entrepreneurs to achieve their potential.

TEDxEuston 2013 - RIPPLE EFFECT - December 7 2013. Details at www.tedxeuston.com

Grab one of the few remaining tickets HERE.

Sunday, 27 October 2013

Win tickets to TEDxEuston 2013 Season 5 - "Africa Ripple Effect" Photo Contest.

Get inspired! Show TEDxEuston with a photo that reflects what this year’s TEDxEuston 2013 theme Africa Ripple Effect conjures up in your own mind. The photo can be of any image, event, place or scene taken anywhere in the world that relates to the theme Africa Ripple Effect. Lets continue the conversation about Africa and the change Africa is effecting all over the world!

First Prize & Second Prize: one free ticket to TEDxEuston 2013 on the 7th December 2013 at the Mermaid Theater, London

The winner will also have his picture displayed to all the 500 guests and called up to the stage!

Entries are coming in from all over the world: Israel, Uganda, Germany and UK. Like the TEDxEuston facebook page and add your photos here.

TEDxEuston 2013 photo contest entry: 2011 Tangerine national Park, Tanzania.

Thursday, 24 October 2013

And now introducing Ayo-Dele and Nt’abiseng!

In addition to our speakers, this year we are bringing you two fascinating artists to smoothen out the intellectual stimulation! They will add colour and vibrancy to the event - linking the insights with melodies that will pull it altogether.

They are smart, beautiful and have voices that will stay with you; they are Ayo-Dele and Nt’abiseng

Ayo-Dele released her debut album ’Forever Becoming’ in Oct 2012 which combines her British and Nigerian influences expressed through songs and stories. She is a London based singer/actress, who from an early age has been surrounded by various genres of music. As the fourth child born to Nigerian parents in London, Ayo-Dele experienced countless blessings that have molded her into who she is today. Her name means ‘Joy has come home’ in Yoruba, a language spoken in Nigeria, Western Africa. Merging her British musical repertoire with the African heritage has grown into her main passion creating some of the most beautiful music you will come across.

Nt’abiseng located the song-bird in her soul during her childhood and began to explore her flair for music while in high school and during her time at medical school; yes she is a doctor too! It was by sheer coincidence that she first got introduced to the premier names in the South African music industry, who after listening to her nudged her on a journey that has now culminated in the recording of her debut album; "Print of my Heart". Nt’abiseng is a refreshing reminder that in-born gifts have a destiny to blossom and be shared with others. She is taking a few days off her patients in Johannesburg to join us at TEDxEuston!

Get one of the last tickets HERE

Monday, 21 October 2013

Introducing TEDxEuston 2013 speaker: Teresa Clarke

Teresa H. Clarke is the CEO of Africa.com, a company she founded in 2010 after resigning from her position as a managing director in the investment banking division of Goldman Sachs & Co.  Africa.com is the fastest growing Africa related website, with over five million page views per month from visitors throughout the world. Africa.com showcases carefully selected news, travel and lifestyle information and is playing a key role in shaping how the world sees Africa. 
TEDxEuston 2013 - RIPPLE EFFECT - December 7 2013. Details at www.tedxeuston.com

Grab one of the few remaining tickets HERE.

Friday, 18 October 2013

Introducing TEDxEuston 2013 speaker: Emeka Okafor

Emeka Okafor was the co-curator of the first TEDGlobal to take place in Africa (Arusha, Tanzania) in 2007. At the time, he was one of the earliest bloggers on technology news coming out of the African continent. Emeka brought together the best the continent had to offer to one of the most inspirational events of our time, on the African continent. He lives and works in New York, and is currently the curator of a roving annual event; “Makerfaire” that brings together inventors from African countries every year.

TEDxEuston 2013 - RIPPLE EFFECT - December 7 2013. Details at www.tedxeuston.com

Grab one of the few remaining tickets HERE.

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Introducing TEDxEuston 2013 speaker: Pascal Dozie

Pascal Dozie the founder of Diamond Bank PLC, is currently the Chairman of MTN Nigeria, and a founding partner of Africa Capital Alliance, the first Nigerian private equity firm. He was previously a member of the Board of Directors of the Central Bank of Nigeria, and President of the Nigerian Stock Exchange. He also served as the founding Chairman of the Nigerian Economic Summit Group, and co-Chair of the Commonwealth Business Council. It is hard to find anyone that has had a greater impact on the evolution of corporate Nigeria in the past 30 years. 
TEDxEuston 2013 - RIPPLE EFFECT - December 7 2013. Details at www.tedxeuston.com

Grab one of the few remaining tickets HERE.

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Introducing TEDxEuston 2013 speaker: Vuyiseka Dubula

Vuyiseka Dubula is General Secretary of the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC), based in South Africa. As a young woman she joined TAC after learning her HIV positive status. Founded in 1998, TAC advocates for increased access to treatment, care and support services for people living with HIV. Since 1998, TAC has held government accountable for health care service delivery; campaigned against official AIDS denialism; challenged the world’s leading pharmaceutical companies to make treatment more affordable and cultivated community leadership on HIV and AIDS.  
TEDxEuston 2013 - RIPPLE EFFECT - December 7 2013. Details at www.tedxeuston.com

Grab one of the few remaining tickets HERE.

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Introducing TEDxEuston 2013 speaker: Sada Mire

Sada Mire is a Somalian archaeologist. She lived the first fifteen years of her life in Mogadishu, until 1991. She is founder and executive director of the Horn Heritage Organization and in the last five years, she and her team have made many archaeological discoveries, which feature in her numerous articles and chapters in international scientific publications.  Sada believes that cultural heritage is a basic human need.
TEDxEuston 2013 - RIPPLE EFFECT - December 7 2013. Details at www.tedxeuston.com

Grab one of the few remaining tickets HERE.

Monday, 14 October 2013

Introducing TEDxEuston 2013 speaker: Redi Tlhabi

Redi Tlhabi is currently the presenter of the Redi Tlhabi show on Talk Radio 702 listened to by millions of South Africans on their way to work every morning and host of South to North, an African current affairs show on Al-Jazeera. She has just published her first book; Endings and Beginnings, through which she makes the painful journey back to her death-marred childhood of Orlando East, Soweto in apartheid South Africa, a journey in which she eventually finds peace and allows her demons to rest.
TEDxEuston 2013 - RIPPLE EFFECT - December 7 2013. Details at www.tedxeuston.com

Grab one of the few remaining tickets HERE.

Friday, 11 October 2013

Introducing TEDxEuston 2013 speaker: Wanuri Kahiu

Wanuri  Kahiu completed her first feature film in 2007 titled; “From A Whisper” based on the real life events surrounding the August 7, twin bombings of US Embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam in 1998. In 2009 she wrote and directed a short Science Fiction Film “Pumzi” that had its international premiere at Sundance Film Festival. Yes, you heard it right Science Fiction out of Africa. And this is only a taster of what Wanuri has to offer! To find out more, you will have to be at TEDxEuston!
TEDxEuston 2013 - RIPPLE EFFECT - December 7 2013. Details at www.tedxeuston.com

Grab one of the few remaining tickets HERE.

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Introducing TEDxEuston 2013 speaker: Nkwo Onwuka

Nkwo Onwuka’s foray into the world of fashion all started with an obsession with dolls and a mother who taught her how to sew. Her label debuted at the prestigious Kulture2Couture, 2007. After a few years of exploration and experimentation, the brand has come full circle and now focuses on creating  collections that capture the African story with a 21st century slant. Nkwo will reflect on the renaissance of African fashion through her own unique lens. 
TEDxEuston 2013 - RIPPLE EFFECT - December 7 2013. Details at www.tedxeuston.com

Grab one of the few remaining tickets HERE.

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Introducing TEDxEuston 2013 speaker: Fred Swaniker

Fred Swaniker has lived and worked in 10 different African countries. He passionately believes that good leadership is the most critical need for the continent. He has founded two organizations that aim to catalyze a new generation of ethical, entrepreneurial African leaders: African Leadership Academy and the African Leadership Network, both fulcrums of leadership training for the continent. The continent needs leadership and Fred is working hard on it! Find out why at TEDxEuston 2013!

TEDxEuston 2013 - RIPPLE EFFECT - December 7 2013. Details at www.tedxeuston.com

Grab one of the few remaining tickets HERE.

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Introducing TEDxEuston 2013 Speaker: Herman Mashaba

Herman Mashaba was born in 1959, in apartheid South Africa. His academic dreams were shattered  when his university was shut down due to political unrests. In 1985 he started own hair care manufacturing business named “Black Like Me”, becoming one of the first successful black entrepreneurs of that era. Herman has recently launched his autobiography, “Black Like You”. Listen to a personal perspective of the transformation of South Africa through Herman's amazing journey.
TEDxEuston 2013 - RIPPLE EFFECT - December 7 2013. Details at www.tedxeuston.com 
Get one of the few remaining tickets HERE

Monday, 7 October 2013

Introducing TEDxEuston 2013 Speaker: Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala needs little introduction! She is currently Finance Minister of Nigeria, a position she has previously held before resigning from the Obasanjo administration. She also served as one of the Managing Directors at the World Bank from 2007 to 2011. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala already has 2 talks on TED.com, addressing a largely international audience. To find out what she has to say to a TEDxEuston audience, don't miss TEDxEuston 2013 - RIPPLE EFFECT.

Grab one of the few remaining tickets HERE.

Friday, 4 October 2013

Student tickets released for TEDxEuston 2013

Young people have always been a huge part of TEDxEuston, bringing energy and passion to the event! This year will be no different. We have just released 20 discounted student tickets for TEDxEuston 2013! We would love to do more - but this is all we can afford this year, so grab your ticket now! If you do buy a discounted student ticket, this will only enable access to the event when accompanied by a valid students ID card.

Get your student ticket to TEDxEuston 2013 HERE!

Remember - a ticket gives you access to all the talks, all the coffee breaks, a 3-course lunch as well as a bigger and better after party! You will not find better value for money anywhere in London in 2013 -take that to the bank!

See you on December 7 - RIPPLE EFFECT!

Winner of the TEDxEuston 2012 essay prize

Winner of the TEDxEuston 2012 essay prize