Nomhle Nkonyeni – Actress

Port Elizabeth actress Nomhle Nkonyeni will be speaking at the TEDxPortElizabeth event on 1 July 2016. Nomhle’s topic will be: Big Screen Stories

Award winning actress Nomhle Nkonyeni has decided to plough back into her community in New Brighton, Port Elizabeth. She is training young people in threatre production at the Opera House.

Nomhle Nkonyeni is a South African actress who has appeared in numerous television productions, including Mzansi, Tsha Tsha and the 2007 mini-series Society. She also appeared in the 2004 feature film Red Dust.

She was the mother of actress Thabang Nkonyeni, who was murdered in 2009.

In 2016 she was awarded the SAFTAs Lifetime Achievement Award.

Nomhle Nkonyeni is internationally known for: Catch a Fire (2006), Of Good Report (2013) and Zulu (2013). Born in Port Elizabeth on 4 April 1942, she has been identified as a major part of the history of theatre in this country. Her contribution is immeasurable according to celebrated author and academic, Professor Z.K.G. Mda

Wehan van Jaarsveld – Dance Educator & Performing Artist

Wehan van Jaarsveld Dance Teacher

Dance Educator Wehan van Jaarsveld will be speaking at the TEDxPortElizabeth event on 1 July 2016. Wehan’s topic will be: Searching for Balance.

Hailing from George Wehan (Vian) Van Jaarsveld currently heads the Dance Department at Outeniqua High School in George and is Managing Director of the Dance Academies Group.

Van Jaarsveld grew up in George and studied BMus Dance at the University of Cape Town, majoring in Contemporary dance and Classical Ballet. On completion of his qualification he joined the Cape Town City Ballet company as a full-time professional artist, but later relocated to Los Angeles. During his time in LA he was based in West-Hollywood for rehearsal periods, from where he worked abroad for the next 8 years accompanied by his wife, Jane. They returned from Hawaii in 2009 and hung up their performance shoes in exchange for a life in George, in the Southern Cape.

Having performed extensively in various styles over a number of years, Wehan is passionate about Arts & Education and especially about youth development through dance. He has been joined in his vision of “Life Skills Through Dance” in the Southern Cape by his Studio Manager and Associate Instructors, Simoné and Tamryn. They teach The Performing Arts at various schools in the Southern Cape and currently focus on Social and Competitive Ballroom & Latin including Salsa and Argentine Tango, Spanish dance and Flamenco.

Wehan believes that adults are basically deteriorated children. He believes in in keeping it “Real” and that the greatest gift we can give our children is the gift of allowing them to open their eyes wider than feels comfortable.

Trevor Watkins – Author

Author, Trevor Watkins will be speaking at the TEDxPortElizabeth event on 1 July 2016. Trevor’s topic will be: The Consent Axiom

Now resident in Jeffrey’s Bay, Trevor matriculated at De La Salle College in Victory Park, Johannesburg, in 1967. He started a B.Sc degree (Physics, chemistry) at Wits University in 1968, but switched to a B.Sc (Computer Science) through Unisa. After reading Ayn Rand in the early 1980’s, Trevor became a keen libertarian and has been involved with the movement ever since. Watkins has attended all but 1 of the 30 Libertarian Seminars held in South Africa, as well as FreedomFest in Las Vegas in the US. He is a co-developer of the Consent Axiom, and is on a mission to publicise this idea worldwide. He aspires to someday living in an independent libertarian enclave called Libertaria.

Deshun Deysel – International Business Coach

International Business Coach, Deshun Deysel will be speaking at the TEDxPortElizabeth event on 1 July 2016. Deshun’s topic will be: Peak Performance
Deshun Deysel
Uitenhage-born Deshun Deysel is one of South Africa’s leading female mountaineers. In her 15 year career as a high altitude mountaineer, she has been on 14 major expeditions to five continents. In 1996 she made history by being part of the first group of South Africans to plant the new democratic flag on the top of Mt. Everest. As a novice climber Deshun was only able to reach Camp 2 at 6,500 metres (550 metres short of the summit) that year.

Deshun Deysel & Associates uses keynotes, coaching, seminars and adventurous experiences, to encourage leaders in their struggle to harness diversity for better work performance.

Deysel is a Laureus Sport Ambassador and recipient of the Four Outstanding Young South Africans award from the Junior Chamber SA in September 1996. In 2007 and 2010 Deysel was nominated for the Shoprite/Checkers Woman of the Year Award.

Johnson Mthembu – Activist

Law student and Activist Johnson Mthembu will be speaking at the TEDxPortElizabeth event on 1 July 2016. Mthembu’s topic will be: Masculinity & Suicide
Johnson Mthembu
Johnson Mthembu is ardent about empowering black African women and deconstructing masculinity. A graduate of Rhodes University and currently pursuing a degree in law, he is passionate about social entrepreneurism and access to education which he believes plays a significant role to empowering women. Johnson is co-founder of the start-up company Stokvella which aims to improve financial stability and savings through using innovative methods.

Mthembu says his his interest in TEDx is sparked by the free sharing of ideas; “Personally I don’t think I have come across a platform such as TED Talks, that we get to hear people share ideas in ways were it actually plays a significant role in bettering our individual lives as I believe that is something unique and most invaluable to anyone and this is why I’m so excited to be working with TEDxPortElizabeth.”

Farah Fortune – Publicist

Publicist, Farah Fortune will be speaking at the TEDxPortElizabeth event on 1 July 2016. Farah’s topic will be: Reality of Entertainment

Farah FortuneWith a diploma in PR and a business law diploma from WITS University, Farah Fortune has years of experience in the South African PR field, while also dabbling in the media when she lived in the UK.

Asked why she started her own company Fortune said; “I got tired of someone else deciding how much I was worth and I wanted to afford a better lifestyle for myself and my daughter.” In 2014 Fortune won the award for Outstanding Leadership at the Women’s World Congress in India, while earlier this year she was a keynote speaker at the Entrepreneur of the Year Awards nomination event.

Joe Slingers – Educator

Renowned educator and Shakespeare guru Joe Slingers will be speaking at the TEDxPortElizabeth event on 1 July 2016. Joe’s topic will be: Timeless literature
Joe Slingers
Possibly the most meaningful quote for Joe Slingers is the one by Greek philosopher Aristotle: “You are what you constantly do – excellence, therefore, is a habit.”

Being a teacher and working with students has been a highlight for Slingers who is motivated by his teachers and their organization which has its motto “let us live for our children”. An ex School principal in the troublesome 1980s, Joe says; “It’s always important to know who you are, so when you look in the mirror you not only see yourself but those who are important to you.” One needs to ask; “What is my job what is my task what do I need to do in order to make life more meaningful, it is important to know how far one is prepared to go to do ones job and that determines our principle,”, says Slingers.

Mdali Group – Xolisa Ngubelanga

The Mdali Group will be performing at the TEDxPortElizabeth event on 1 July 2016.

Mdali groupPoet, Playwright, Actor and Director Ngubelanga is the founder of the Mdali group.

Xolisa was born in Port Elizabeth and is responsible for productions such as Plasma, Dinner with Bantu and more and currently facilitates drama and creative art at Emafini Primary School in KwaDwesi, Port Elizabeth.

The Mdali Comprehensive and Critical Thinking Program was founded by Ngubelanga in 2014. This program encourages students to become more critical of their environment and activities around them and to be active citizens. The initiative is facilitated through promoting writing as a catalyst for change while assisting students in the comprehension of their language studies and is based at Cowan High School, New Brighton.

Listen to Xolisa’s interview on Algoa FM on 22 June 2016 at 09h00

Mdali – a Xhosa word for ‘Creator’ – is a schools’ based initiative to revive critical cultural activities among the youth.

Based in New Brighton, Port Elizabeth the youth treated as audiences to various art forms in the city’s gallery and theatre spaces. They are then tasked to compose literally essays of their experience as creative writers.

The result is a mobilized youth group inspired and informed by an artistic experience able and eager to create an artistic experience for their broader community while working to publish an arts booklet that will serve to document and share the experience.

CodeKid – Musician

Cape Town musician, CodeKid will be performing at the TEDxPortElizabeth event on 1 July 2016.


Thulani Mbambisa aka CodeKid’s career started in 2003 as a student in Cape Town High school. In 2007 he went on to study sound engineering and met up with Xee (Xolisa Tshomela). Together they started a recording company called Soul Life Audio Boutique.

Later on they were joined by Sakhile Moleshe who is a lead vocalist for his band called Soul Housing Project with Bokani Dyre.

In 2013 Globalize Yourself Stereo was formed for which CodeKid worked for as a sound engineer giving him the opportunity to travel the world and develop a global perspective on music.

After years of putting his career on hold as a producer in the music business, CodeKid decided to branch out and explore his musical talent.

CodeKid says; “I have a passion for dance music, techno and Kwaito. Kwaito is the sound of youth culture in South Africa I grew up listening to, I always wanted to be a Kwaito star; my aim is to re-introduce this sound to the world.”

Colleen Grewar – Artist

Uitenhage resident Colleen Grewar will be speaking at the TEDxPortElizabeth event on 1 July 2016.

Colleen explains her early life:

Colleen Grewar
Colleen Grewar

I was born to the two most unlikely parents in a coastal town called Knysna in 1967. The world seemed to be a wonderful place. What would you expect, living in the forest on a farm in Knysna. Life was simple. By day I played down in the valley with lawns so green, water so pure and mystery beyond the forest stretching into forever. By night I bathed outside in a huge metal basin. My grandfather playing the Paganini, fire burning warm, providing the only source of light, whilst night cloaked me with her dark face. I fell in love with the moon and thought her to be my mother. My grandfather, an old man with one glass eye and hardly a smile. My grandmother, with deep blue eyes, long black raven hair and a glance of kindness. My Parents worked in the City. A place I thought most unkind. I roamed on the farm from brook to forest, lost in the day and close to its heart. Little did I know of the world outside, for life was as I wanted with all I held dear to my heart.

My grandfather milked his cows, planted the seeds and harvested the rain. He made me a wooden puppet carved out of a black wood stump, it was my first treasure. Now the Moon had a special place in my heart. For night would fall, cloaked in darkness. The sound of its silence soothing, but not for long. The owls, crickets and toads would break out in song, the wind would sing along. At night I would sit in my grandmothers arms, washed and cleaned up, listening to her humming along. My grandfather with his Paganini playing that song. His violin turned the night into a magical world. There she would shine, bright as can be, smiling at me. My Mother god whom I was told was the Moon. That world is lost almost forgotten. My childhood a precious memory of a long forgotten past. I am Colleen a child of the forest to the mother Moon.