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Social media: a driver for Social Change

The past few years have seen an explosion of social media platforms i.e. Linkedin, Facebook, Ning and Twitter. This has provided the opportunity for the social sector to find new ways of organizing our work, expanding our reach globally and collaborating with projects and individuals doing similar work. These platforms are however quite generic and transformative opportunities are often never materialize.

On 28 September, New Ideas for Africa and the GIBS Network for Social Entrepreneurs will be hosting a dialogue focused on using social media to drive social change.Leading the conversation will be Cindy Gallop, who is visiting South Africa for a week to launch IfWeRanTheWorld South Africa, and Garth Japhet, Founder of Soul City andHeartlines, launching ForGood. These online movements create practical avenues for people to begin working with others to make a difference in their communities.

We will also share lessons on using social networking platforms effectively, as well as explore how our projects can best engage with existing platforms.

Event Details:
Date: Tuesday, 28th September 2010
Time: 15h45 for 18h00 to 21h00
Venue: GIBS, Classroom 10, 26 Melville Road, Illovo
Contribution: R50 toward costs of the event (includes light refreshment)
RSVP: Lungelo Mgcina,


September 23, 2010 at 11:11 am Leave a comment

Session on ‘Realizing innovative ideas for a transforming Joburg’

Our theme for this month’s NIfA session held on 16th March generated a lot of enthusiasm. Attended by change-makers who are both passionate about the future of Johannesburg and have thought through possibilities on how to generate change.

The session was co-hosted by The Hub, a social enterprise with the ambition to inspire and support imaginative and enterprising initiatives for a better world. The Hub is a global community of people from every profession, background and culture working at ‘new frontiers’ to tackle the world’s most pressing social, cultural and environmental challenges.

True to the global reach of both New Ideas for Africa as well as The Hub, this session was attended by a huge international contingent: MBA students from Duke University in the US, quite a number of people from Holland (including a Hub host from Rotterdam) and Switzerland.

Since The Hub aims to be locally relevant, we intend to explore how it can respond to the support requirements of these socially entrepreneurial change-makers.

Some insights and actions from the session:

Joburg is a cosmopolitan home with a soul. It still has gold, but a new kind – it’s people and her willingness to change.


–       to bridge the Sandton/CBD divide – transport connecting the two

–       to influence legislature

–       a common course of action to rally behind

–       social cohesion

–       inspirational, ethical leadership

–       to connect with each other across diversity

–       less competition, more collaboration

–       efficient public transport

–       high level of education in public schools

–       how do we make Joburg more playful?


–       connect people willing to change – bring “all” the voices into the room

–       bring people to a common place/energy

–       broaden personal horizons – exposure beyond the suburbs

–       regular meetings with strangers – possibility of new conversations

–       to create a movement to change mindsets

–       attend social clubs

–       volunteer in public schools

The vibrancy in the room was electric with several people stepping forward to contribute to creating The Hub, Johannesburg as well as starting New Ideas for Africa in their home communities.

March 19, 2010 at 8:49 am Leave a comment

What support is needed to realize socially innovative and entrepreneurial ideas for a transforming Joburg?

Last week saw the launch of funding organisation UnLtd SA in South Africa. Michael Norton, founder of UnLtd, believes that all good things stem from a single thought, that single good idea, followed by the decision to take it forward.

Welcome to the first New Ideas for Africa session for 2010. Our focus for this session is on what happens after the decision to act on a good idea has been taken. We ask:

“what support is needed to realize socially innovative and entrepreneurial ideas for a transforming Joburg?”

A few of us in the NIfA network have joined hands to open The Hub Johannesburg this year. Its core business is to provide people who have enterprising ideas for the world with access to the resources, connections, knowledge, capital, experience and markets they need in order to thrive. See:

We invite all who are interested in addressing the above question to join us on Tuesday, 16th May at 18h30. The output of this dialogue will provide input for the Joburg model for Hub creation as well as for other similar initiatives.

Event Details:
Date:                      Tuesday, 16th March 2010
Time:                     18h30 – 21h00
Venue:                  GIBS, Classroom 10, 26 Melville Road, Illovo
Contribution:    R45 toward costs of the event (includes light refreshment)
RSVP:            by 12th March

March 9, 2010 at 1:06 am Leave a comment

Best of Youth Development & Mentorship Programmes

Last night’s well-attended Joburg New Ideas for Africa session brought together a diverse group of participants who work in the area of youth development and mentorship. Busi Dlamini was facilitator of our session and supported by the experience of Olifele Masangane from Heartlines, Julian Hewitt from Allan Grey Orbis Foundation, Phyllis Byars-Ameguide from the Gordon Institute of Business Science and Glen Steyn, Conquest for Life.

From the session, we have collectively defined the conditions for effective youth development and mentorship programmes as the following:

  • Lessons are rooted through travel and experience. Provide opportunities for first-hand experience
  • Break down the traditional authority structures, let youth take ownership of the programme and move into a relationship of mutual exchange
  • The roles of teacher/learner are often interchanged between the mentor and mentee
  • Responsibility is the role of both mentor and mentee
  • Instill in kids that someone believes in them; that they’re worth something
  • The roles of coach, mentor and councillor are different but overlap
  • Sometimes good intentions have unwanted ramifications so create the right frameworks. Have defined measurement tools in place for progress and set goal posts for your journey
  • Engage several stakeholders for optimal design
  • Diversity of kids provides the highest impact, not merely for the ‘high potentials’ but have a mix of personalities, backgrounds etc. This allows leadership to emerge through cross-sharing
  • The extent to which you listen to someone directly affects the degree to which they intellectually engage
  • Listen with a view to understanding!
  • Learning often occurs under pressure
  • Same-sex groupings of mentor/mentee keeps the relationship clear
  • Allow your mentee to keep you accountable to your values
  • It is often beneficial to use ‘ordinary people’ from the community to be mentors and make use if existing relationships. This may however limit the ability of the mentee to be open
  • The criteria and selection of your mentors should depend on the context/community
  • Involve parents through workshops/training
  • Psycho-social support is often lacking for the child, incorporate this as far as possible
  • The child is also a resource to the rest of the family once mentored
  • Provide locally-relevant resources
  • Have regular meetings with your mentee
  • Peer to peer mentorship is highly effective when youth have the appropriate conditions to dialogue (create shared experiences and a trust-base)

November 18, 2009 at 4:04 pm Leave a comment

The Best of Mentorship & Youth Development Programmes

youth pic

It seems that several of us have either participated in or developed a youth development or mentorship programme at some point or the other. At this final 2009 Joburg New Ideas for Africa session we question the benchmarks of success that point to effective youth and mentorship programmes.

We invite participants of various programmes, programme initiators and community leaders to share in conversation as we define for ourselves what best practice means in this field. Supporting this session is Quinton Pretorius from Heartlines, Julian Hewitt from the Allan Grey Orbis Foundation and Phyllis Byars-Ameguide from the Gordon Institute of Business Science.

Event details as follows:
Date:                     Tuesday, 17th November 2009
Time:                    18h30 – 21h00
Venue:                  GIBS, Classroom 10, 26 Melville Road, Illovo
Contribution:   R45 toward costs of the event (includes light refreshment)
RSVP:           by 13th November


November 4, 2009 at 9:11 pm Leave a comment

October 27, 2009 at 5:57 am 1 comment


Our upcoming New Ideas for Africa session on 20th October will be facilitated by Arlyn Culwick, regular NIfA participant. We will be exploring what he refers to as Taxi Anarchy.

Arlyn is founder of Kenosis Transport Services, an initiative that aims to destabilise what he believes is a corrupt and exploitative taxi industry, it empowers drivers, and makes money.  The big idea:

1) Buy taxi
2) Pay off taxi
3) Transfer ownership to the driver
4) Repeat steps 1-3
5) Destabilize a dirty monopoly

Arlyn will give a presentation on this idea and how to make it work.  There will also be a focus on its underlying vision and philosophy – a novel form of ‘cultural’ activism with great potential for sociocultural renewal and empowerment.

You are invited to come along to find out more about the model, the paradigm involved, its potential for positive transformation, and to brainstorm how to create more projects like it: viable businesses that exists to enrich culture.

Event details:
20th October
R45 contribution (incl. light refreshment)

October 12, 2009 at 9:49 pm Leave a comment

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