From May 18 to May 20, 2017 Thato Kgatlhanye had the opportunity to travel to London for the Oxford Africa Conference sponsored by her Anzisha Fellowship. Below, Thato shares her experience:
“Now is not the time to think small. You need to move faster, do things better and more boldly. Refuse to do ordinary and conventional.” -Fred Swaniker.
These words encapsulate the kind of thinking that filled the rooms at the 2017 Oxford Africa Conference. We had a warm welcome to Oxford with an incredible Gala dinner at the hosted at the famous Oxford university Town Hall topped off with a keynote by Fred Swaniker. It was a great honour to finally meet the man whose audacious ideas I had directly benefited from as an Anzisha Fellow.
The conference day was filled with break- away sessions that inspired those of us in the room to break frameworks around leadership and business. We were challenged to redefine models of thinking innovatively around how we will do things differently to build the kind of Africa we envision. It was also an honour to have been invited to host a panel discussion titled “The Investment Beyond the Metropolis: Ending Urban Hegemony in Africa” a panel confronting whether African countries should be looking to private equity and innovative financial modeling to make rural economies more competitive on the international stage.
The conference was closed off with a Keynote from Mama Graça Machel who stressed the importance of young African leaders thinking and growing as a collective.
All in all my time at the Oxford Africa Conference is an experience words nor pictures can do justice. It was a memorable conference as it is not everyday that one gets to meet and listen to in my opinion living legends like Fred Swaniker and Mama Graça Machel. Walking away from the experience I can say I am now more confident to execute on the ideas we have on the new chapter of what we are calling Rethaka Capital.