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TedxEuston: Not Business as Usual

An offspring of TED, a global non-profit devoted to the power of using ideas to change attitudes, lives and ultimately, the world; TedxEuston wants to ‘reflect ideas and inspired thinking of a new generation of African leaders committed to engaging and re-engaging in an active and meaningful manner with the continent. By Africans for Africans, TedxEuston is now in its third year and consciously seeks to challenge speakers and attendees, politically, socially and culturally.  2011 promises to be the year of the Bold and Beautiful but Not Business as Usual and a platform where those, who are Called to Lead, can rise up to the challenge. This year’s speakers cut across the board, from the political to the business world andAfrica’s diverse art and culture heritage. They include, critically acclaimed author, Lola Shoneyin, whose bestselling novel, The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives explores the intricacies of a polygamous family in modern-day Nigeria. Kwame Kwei-Armah, British-born musician, playwright and actor who recently took over as artistic director of the largest regional theatre in Maryland, USA, and Dr. Kayode Fayemi, governor of Ekiti State, Nigeria. Below, some of last year’s speakers reiterate their message to the continent and the relevance of TedxEuston to London’s African diaspora community.


Why is TedxEuston, which is focused on Africa but based in London, relevant for the community of Africans based in the capital/UK?

Hannah Pool, journalist and features editor, Arise aagazine, shared her story about rediscovering her roots.

“The key with TedXEuston is not the impressive list of speakers, it’s not even the Ted label, and it’s the audience. It’s crucial that the diaspora community which is as diverse as it is divided meet each other, share ideas and experiences. TedXEuston allows this to happen, in a neutral space – no one community/country ‘owns’ TedXEuston and that is incredibly important.”


How important are events like TedxEuston to your message of ensuring more people become aware about Aids?

Winnie Ssanyu Sseruma, HIV/Aids activist, spoke of the need for better education and awareness about the disease.

” I believe events like TedxEuston are a perfect forum to raise awareness and re-educate people about issues like HIV and AIDS. Research on attitudes towards HIV inAfricaand African communities in different countries has shown that Africans who are well off, or in higher education, those with reasonably good jobs are most likely to be in denial about HIV. Additionally, although many Africans know about HIV, and possibly know someone with HIV or someone who has died from HIV related complications, many still believe that they could never get the disease. They do not believe they are at risk. It is important to continue to raise HIV awareness at every possible opportunity.”


TedxEuston is platform for saying what needs to be said, what is your message to the economist, leaders among other key decision makers on the African continent where the financial and economic future of the continent is concerned?

Remi Okunlola is the co-founder and executive director of Africa’s first indigenous offshore drilling company, SeaWolf Oilfields, Nigeria. His speech was focused on ways we as Africans can do more and care more.

Africa is the future.  One way or the other, we are committed to weakening the negative forces that have kept our continent in the dark all this while.  Sit tight leaders will be forced out.  Corrupt leaders will be brought to justice.  Good and courageous leadership will be celebrated.  Africa is building and fortifying the human, intellectual and physical structures that are so key to establishingAfrica as the next frontier.  Isn’t it time to join in this effort?  Believe in Africa.  Invest your hearts, your talents, your intellect and your finance in Africa.”


Remi Okunlola: Care More. Do More



Image: Femi Sunmonu

TedxEuston takes place on November 26, for for more information go to: TedxEuston








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