Speaker Biographies

Zahira Asmal

The City Agency – Director

Zahira Asmal is the director of The City, a research, publishing and place-making agency she founded in 2010. In her projects she seeks to create knowledgeable urban citizens and to enhance the making of public places and spaces in South African cities through engagement and collaboration with governments, cultural institutions, architects, academia, and the public. Zahira is also the founder of Designing For All, a non-profit company that seeks to improve procurement processes as well as improve the design and management of public infrastructure in South Africa through engagement and collaboration with government. She served as advisor to the Africa Architecture Awards in 2017 and is serving on the Board of Advisors of the International Archive of Women in Architecture, as well as the Board of Advisors of African Crossroads.

She has published several books: Movement Cape Town (2015) Movement Johannesburg (2015), Reflections & Opportunities (2012), through The City, and worked with Sir David Adjaye OBE on his book Adjaye Africa Architrecture (Thames & Hudson, 2011).

She is currently working with Adjaye on an urban pavilion located at a site of special historical interest in Johannesburg, as well as in collaboration with others on ‘See’, a project in Cape Town which explores contested urban histories, equal representation in the memorialisation of history and the construction of resilient postcolonial urban identities.

Dr. Jane Battersby

African Centre for Cities - Urban Geographer

Jane Battersby is an urban geographer with an interest in all things food related. Her current areas of interest are urban food systems, urban food policies, and the construction of food security theory in Northern and Southern research contexts. Underpinning her food work is an ongoing interest in the linkages between spatial transformation and identity transformation in post-apartheid urban areas – a topic she has addressed through the lenses of youth identities, education, music and land restitution.

She has been the Cape Town Partner of the African Food Security Urban Network (AFSUN) since 2008, is associated with the Hungry Cities Programme, as well as being the PI of the Nourishing Spaces project, and previously, worked as the research coordinator of the Consuming Urban Poverty project.

Jane is the Premio Daniel Carasso 2017 laureate, and is actively engaged in international, national, provincial and local government policy process, having acted in an advisory or consultative position at these levels, and is also currently a member of the South African Vulnerability Assessment Committee (SAVAC). Additionally, she serves on the advisory boards of several international research projects. She holds a PhD from Oxford University, a Masters from the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne and a BSc (Hons) from Kings College, London.

Her ongoing work in the Nourishing Spaces project seeks to find ways to find neighbourhood-scale urban solutions to diet-related non-communicable diseases, with a long term goal to make access to good food central to how governments and civil society think about urban space.

Toma Berlanda

University of Cape Town : School of Architecture, Planning and Geomatics - Professor

Tomà Berlanda is Professor of Architecture at the School of Architecture, Planning and Geomatics at the University of Cape Town. His research interests focus on the implications that can be drawn from a non-stereotypical reading of the African city and the practice of architecture in non-Western urban settings and landscapes. Prior to this, he co-founded the ASA studio in Kigali (2012-14), where he led a design and build campaign to provide community-based early childhood and health facilities across Rwanda – a project which has received recognition at architectural competitions and been widely published upon.

Prior to joining UCT, he has held teaching positions at various other institutions, including Syracuse University (2009-10), Cornell University (2012) and the Kigali Institute of Science and Technology (2011-3). He holds a Diploma in architecture from the Accademia di architettura in Mendrisio, Swtizerland (2002) and a Ph.D in Architecture and Building design from the Politecnico di Torino, Italy (2009). He is the author of a number of articles and chapters in international publications, of "Architectural Topographies" (Routledge, 2014), and, together with K. H. Smith, “Interpreting Kigali, Rwanda. Architectural Inquiries and Prospects for a Developing African City” (University of Arkansas Press, 2018).

In 2019, Tomà will be working on a project revisiting the work and legacy of Italian architect Giancarlo de Carlo, as well as writing a book containing a series of post-occupancy assessments of twenty buildings completed across Sub-Saharan Africa since 2000, with the aim of understanding the buildings as actions that take responsibility for change and the improvement of society.

Benjamin Brown

Anova Health Institute - Project Manager, Global Programmes 

Ben Brown is a public health specialist, researcher, and South African permanent resident. Over the last decade, his work in HIV programming, policy, and research has focused on bridging the divide between key population communities and HIV clinical services. This has included working with local MSM leaders to strengthen peer-led social networks and CBOs; the publication of multiple health care worker sensitivity training programmes; and the development of South Africa’s first free access PrEP programme for MSM. Since 2017, Brown has led Anova’s international programmes through which he has provided technical support to establish PrEP demonstration projects and strengthen key population HIV programmes with partners in Haiti, Namibia, Zambia, Mozambique, and Lesotho.

Brown serves on the leadership team of Anova’s Centre of Excellence in Cape Town, which provides comprehensive health care for key populations and functions as a learning hub for local and international health care workers to exchange knowledge, tools, and strategies for improving the health and well-being of key populations across sub-Saharan Africa.

Marcela Guerrero Casas

Open Streets - Managing Director & Co-Founder

Marcela is passionate about cities, public space and most importantly, people. Her personal and professional drive emanates from connecting with others and contributing to improve the place where she lives. Born and raised in Bogota, Colombia, Marcela lived in the US for most of her adult life before moving to South Africa in 2006. Marcela holds a Masters in Public Administration and International Affairs from Syracuse University. She has worked in policy and advocacy  for almost ten years in organisations that include The Carter Center, CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation, and Fairtrade Africa. Marcela moved to Johannesburg in 2006 and worked in Zimbabwe, Swaziland and Kenya before moving permanently to Cape Town in 2011. Marcela is also a co-founder of Otro SUR, a platform for cultural exchange between Latin American and Sub-Saharan African countries and was a contributor to the African Centre for Cities’ Serious Fun project in 2014.

Louise Coetzer

Choreographer, founder and artistic director of Darkroom Contemporary

Louise Coetzer is a choreographer working within the genres of site-specific performance creation, choreography for the stage, and dance film. Her works are experiential, experimental and innovative, and often have interdisciplinary collaboration at their core. She obtained a Bachelors Degree in Dance with Movement Composition as major from the Pretoria Technikon and is currently living and working in Cape Town. She is founder and artistic director of Darkroom Contemporary, a pro-ject-based dance theatre company formed as a vehicle to reimagine dance through its innovative approach to staging and presenting performance works.

Louise has choreographed an impressive collection of original works with a strong focus on the complexities inherent in human interaction and the exploration of alternative approaches. Her work has been showcased at the Klein Karoo Nasionale Kunstefees, the Baxter Dance Festival and Dance Umbrella, and she has produced works for The Baxter Theatre Center, Unmute Dance Company, the Dance For All InSPIRAtions Company, Northern Dance Project, Cape Junior Ballet Company and the Cape Academy of Perform-ing Arts. She was the commissioned choreographer for the 2016 Baxter Dance Festival and one of thirteen artists commissioned by Burgan Cape Terminals to create work for Puncture Points in 2017. Recently she staged new works at William Kentridge’s Centre for the Less Good Idea and the Zeitz Museum Of Contemporary Art Africa. Louise is guest lecturer at the University Of Cape Town Centre for Theatre Dance and Performance Studies and teaches as part of the contemporary dance faculty at the Cape Academy of Performing Arts.

Leigh Davids


Leigh Davids was born in Cape Town, South Africa, and identifies as a trans woman sex worker and activist and is a member of Sisonke (sex worker movement). She advocates for the health and human rights of this community and the decriminalisation of sex work in South Africa, and currently consults for various organisations (SWEAT, Sexual and Reproductive Justice Coalition and Gender DynamiX) working with issues related to transgender and sex work. Leigh is one of the founding members of currently the biggest trans women support group in Africa called SistaazHood Trans Women Sex Worker Support Group based at SWEAT in Cape Town. During 2016 she received an award for Movement Building in South Africa from trans feminist organisation Social Health Empowerment (SHE). She has devoted her work life to advocating for a safer and healthier trans women sex work environment.

Lemeeze Davids

Creative practitioner and poet

 Lemeeze Davids is a Johannesburg-born creative practitioner and poet, who holds a BA(Fine Art) from Stellenbosch University, and an Hons. in Curatorship from UCT. The artist makes use of a wide variety of media and formats in order to communicate her ideas, which are predominantly rooted in the culinary arts. She is also interested in the subversion of art gallery models, and playfully attempts to unpack and alleviate the general alienation some viewers might experience in gallery or museum spaces. Davids is a maker of things, a spinner of language, and a carer of objects.

Leszek Dobrovolsky

Instinct - Director

Leszek is a recognised global market leader in the design and planning of complex infrastructure and architectural projects; with a focus on mixed-use transit oriented developments and intermodal transport interchanges. He was a Partner of Ove Arup & Partners in London responsible for the infrastructure, transport and architecture division and is the one of the co-founding directors of Instinct, based in London.

30 years of experience have been honed through the leadership of over 90 projects in 20 countries.  His range and depth of projects cover the full breadth, from feasibility through to implementation. He is often called upon to provide strategic advice on the viability and development of transit oriented developments globally, in particular in evolving and dynamic city economies.

He lectures internationally, and has been invited keynote speaker at several conferences including; NEPAD summit, Passenger Terminal world, South African Green conference, Construction world UK, High Speed Rail world, Think Deep. His regular teaching and reviewing; has included; Royal College of Art, London and Bartlett school of architecture ( UCL ). He is on the Advisory Board for the African Centre for Cities.

Rashiq Fataar

Future Cape Town – Director and Founder

Rashiq Fataar is an urban strategist and the founder of Our Future Cities, an independent non-profit organisation based in South Africa. He works collaboratively and advises governments, companies and communities on public space, housing and transport projects which contribute to more inclusive, progressive and vibrant cities.

Peter Finlay

UBU Cape Town – Executive Manager

Peter Findlay is the Executive Commercial Manager for projectUBU in Cape Town.

ProjectUBU is a network effects ecosystem that unlocks trapped asset value and distributes it to participants. Consisting of four primary components; the UBU - a freely issued digital token of exchange that derives its value from underutilised assets, the treasury - an algorithmically programmed blockchain issuer of UBUs, the UBX - a cryptotoken that acts as the bootstrap mechanism by rewarding certain classes of participants for the risk they invest in the ecosystem and, a freely available powerful global marketing platform that allows certain participants to leverage network effects for exponential returns.

At the leading edge of new forms of exchange projectUBU demonstrates the opportunity of its impact on freespace and public environments.

Alicia Fortuin

Having received the Pan African College Ph.D Scholarship at the ACC; from the vantage point of living, working and playing in the city, Alicia will be looking at the impacts of land use dynamics and Cape Town’s unequal urban spatial form on young professionals in the city. The PhD will encompass themes of affordability, mobility, the labour market, the politics of access and belonging in a city like Cape Town, in a country like South Africa. 

Broadly, her research interests include community participation and engagement, socio-spatial injustice in relation to the urban land market, mapping and exploring the role of culture and public space in African cities and the role of memory and healing in participatory planning practises and overcoming urban issues in the Global South. Some of these have been explored in her work at the African Centre for Cities (ACC), where she is based at the University of Cape Town.

Previously, Alicia has worked with the Poverty and Inequality Initiative at the South African Development and Research Unit (UCT) where she contributed to research on youth aspirations in deprived communities in the Western Cape and youth unemployment in South Africa respectively.

Dr Rael Futerman

Programme Manager at the Hasso Plattner School of Design Thinking at the University of Cape Town.

His areas of specialisation include Industrial Design, Participatory Design and Design-led Innovation. As a Design Thinking educator, his interest is in developing context-relevant programmes that support experiential learning among multi-disciplinary student and industry groups. His focus areas include the development of contextual models of design thinking practice, entre/entrapreneurship development and discovery-driven innovation.

Rael has worked as an educator and Programme Manager within the Industrial Design department of the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT), and a Design and Innovation consultant and researcher in the academic and corporate sectors. His education includes a Masters in Technology with a focus on gerontechnology, and a Doctorate of Technology with a focus on Participatory Design. As part of his academic research he has worked with a range of communities, both nationally and internationally, in the co-design of context responsive design methods and outputs.

Gabrielle Goliath


Gabrielle Goliath situates her practice within contexts marked by the traces, disparities and as-of-yet unreconciled traumas of colonialism and apartheid, as well as socially entrenched structures of patriarchal power and rape-culture. Enabling opportunities for affective, relational encounters, she seeks to resist the violence through which black, brown, feminine, queer and vulnerable bodies are routinely fixed through forms of representation. Goliath has exhibited widely and recently participated in the Verbo Performance Art Festival (2018), São Paulo; the Palais de Tokyo’s Do Disturb Festival (2018), Paris; the National Arts Festival (2018), Makhanda; as well as the 11th Bamako Encounters Biennale (2017), Mali.

She has won a number of awards including the Institut Français, Afrique en Créations Prize (Bamako Biennale), and most recently the prestigious Standard Bank Young Artist Award (2019). She is also a shortlisted candidate for the Future Generation Art Prize (2019). Her work features in numerous public and private collections, including the TATE Modern, Iziko South African National Gallery, Johannesburg Art Gallery and Wits Art Museum. Goliath is currently a Ph.D. candidate with the Institute for Creative Arts at the University of Cape Town, South Africa.

Kim Gurney

Writer / Fine arts artist

Writer, artist and researcher Kim Gurney is a Next Generation Scholar in the Centre for Humanities Research at University of the Western Cape, and affiliated as a Research Associate in the African Centre of Cities at University of Cape Town. She is the author of two books, both anchored in Johannesburg, that exemplify her interdisciplinary interests: ‘The Art of Public Space: Curating and Re-imagining the Ephemeral City’ explored notions of public space through walking, gaming and performance art and makes propositions around the commons; while ‘August House is Dead, Long Live August House!’ deals with studio practice and process, how artists deal with uncertainty, and how artistic thinking gets carried into the world by artwork journeys.

Formerly she was a news journalist who is widely published in different genres. Her visual art practice deals with disappearances of different kinds and makes restorative gestures. She has held two solo exhibitions and participates annually on group shows while engaging other practitioners through curatorial initiatives, usually in offspaces.

Currently, Kim is working on two curatorial platforms: INSITU is a collaboration that combines artistic and architectural practice to provoke new urban imaginaries, while guerilla gallery is a small-scale nomadic platform (b. 2012) that seeks out alternative and often makeshift city spaces to host temporary fine art exhibitions, projects or interventions, with a site-specific emphasis.

Robert Hamblin


Robert Hamblin (1969) is an artist, father and a gender activist. His fine art work is concerned with issues of masculinity and transgender activism. A narrative that he continues to explore is that of the complexities around sex work in South Africa, in particular trans femme sex work. Since 2011, he has been producing series of photographic works and advocacy tools with Leigh Davids, trans sex work activist of The Sistaaz Hood support group at sex work rights organisation SWEAT.

His commitment to these subjects was invoked in a time when he transitioned from female to male and was a founder member of trans rights organisation Gender DynamiX. He soon left organisational work, frustrated with it’s processes and opted to rather do outreach to trans sex work communities as a volunteer and continue his fine art work.

Hamblin’s conceptually driven; painterly photographic works contribute to debates around body politics in a post-apartheid era and has been exhibited locally and internationally to critical acclaim. Lizamore and Associates in Johannesburg represent Hamblin.

Neil Ryan Hassan

African Centre for Cities, University of Cape Town - Junior Research Fellow

Neil Ryan Hassan is a queer African male, raised on the outskirts of Cape Town in a coloured township community. His creative and academic interests interrogate how the development of space calls people into being and how politics of identities, with a particular focus on gender and sexuality, influences holistic wellbeing.

As a scholar, Neil has been trained in the academic discipline of psychology at the University of Stellenbosch, where he has gained experience as an administrator, tutor, lecturer, and researcher. His PhD research examines processes of stakeholder engagement in biomedical HIV prevention and treatment programmes, targeted at those who are at increased risk for HIV infections, such as gay, bisexual, queer and other Males who have Sex with Males (MSM) in Cape Town.

In 2018, Neil Ryan Hassan joined the African Centre for Cities at the University of Cape Town as a junior research fellow. His current work interrogates the development of HIV-related policies across scale (global, national, provincial, district, and municipal); and how health policy is adopted, adapted and implemented among MSM community groups in Cape Town, as an attempt to primarily promote the governance of health as a city imperative.

Guy Hatton

Create Resolve - Digital Strategy Director

Guy has extensive experience in digital innovation and how this has transformed both businesses and everyday lives. User experience has always been at the heart of his approach to digital brand strategy and planning.

Guy was Director at creative agency Clinic in London, where he ensured that the agency kept ahead of the strategic digital development and innovation required for the success of its clients.

As Digital Strategy Director for Create Resolve he leads and devises brand and design strategies for large corporates and pushes technological boundaries with innovative marketing campaigns and digital products. He covers conceptual strategic thinking through to ensuring agile product/campaign delivery, using both proven and innovative technologies. His expertise success is across sectors in both consumer and B2B.

He delivers compelling customer experiences and commercial results through digital products using creative technology and communications

The last 20 years have been spent shaping digital and brand strategy and ensuring the execution of online and digital technologies for businesses such as Sky, Barclays, Network Rail, and McLaren.

Philippa Namutebi Kabali-Kagwa

Poet, storyteller, coach and facilitator

Philippa Namutebi Kabali-Kagwa is a Ugandan South African poet, storyteller, coach and facilitator. She is the youngest daughter of Ugandan poet and civil servant, the late Henry Barlow. Both her parents loved literature – her father the writer, her mother the teacher, researcher and narrator. While she most commonly called Philippa, she always signs Namutebi at the end of her poems. “Namutebi is the creative side of me. She is the one who writes.”

She sees her poems more as stories – portraits of moments in her life. Her poems draw images of growing up in Uganda in the 60s and 70s and in the later years as an immigrant in various parts of Africa – touching on both the personal and political as it impacted her. Having lived in Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia, Namibia and South Africa, she often wrestles with the question of identity and belonging. She also explores her triumphs and struggles as a woman.

Namutebi also has a passion for folktales and myths – the wisdom of centuries, the tried and tested imagery, the archetypal characters that give new perspective to the perennial questions that we struggle with. She says, “When a story gets my heart beating faster, or an image in a story stirs something inside me, I know that that story has come to teach me at this moment in my life! I believe this is true for everyone.”

Namutebi lives in Cape Town with her husband, Victor, and 3 children – Faye, Senteza and Chris.

Roché Kester

Media Liaison for The Congress Of The People

Roché Kester is a writer who resides in Cape Town. Her poetry has been published in the UWC Creates anthology titled This is my land (2012). Her prose has been featured in Powa’s Women’s Writing anthology titled Sisterhood (2012). She was also co-curator of Poetica, at The Open Book Festival 2016 and featured at Poetry Africa (2016).Kester has performed at various events and locations in Cape Town and has hosted and sourced a large number of events in the city. She has also worked as a language curator for the online poetry platform Badlisha Poetry. Kester was a co-hosts an award-winning weekly community LGBTIQA radio show on Bush Radio called The Salon. Roché also formed part of the team the organized The Queer Feminist Film Festival (2018).

Kester coordinates the popular weekly poetry event called Grounding Sessions that has been running since 2015. As of 2017, Kester has hoasted the Pride Bookcase at Cape Town Pride which creates a platform to discuss queer literature.

Bella Knemeyer

African Centre for Cities, UCT - Urbanist, landscape architect

Bridging both research and practice, Bella’s inter-disciplinary work navigates public life, memory, placemaking and their impact on the cultural lives of cities. Her background encompasses sculptural practice (BAFA, UCT), and a Masters in Landscape Architecture (MLA, UoE), which in combination explore the possibilities of the arts and eco-system services to support of a placemaking that brings together the widest possible range of users. Currently based at ACC, she undertakes design-led research for the Radical Social Enterprise and Placemaking project and the Integration Syndicate, collaboratively exploring findings through public participation, exhibitions and publications. Alongside which she makes art and participates in group shows in Cape Town and Johannesburg, having previously exhibited at the AVA Gallery, Infecting the City, Smith Studio, Masiphumelele Library, UJ Gallery and Nirox Project Space and most recently Whatiftheworld Gallery.

Francois Knoetze


Born in Cape Town in 1989, Francois Knoetze is a performance artist, sculptor and filmmaker. He holds a BA Fine Arts degree from Rhodes University and an MFA from Michaelis School of Fine Art, UCT.

Knoetze retraces the life cycles of discarded objects and explores junctures between material and social histories. In his Mongo* sculptural suits, the synthetic is welded to the human – bringing focus to the objectification of persons, through the personification of objects.

In 2015 Knoetze featured as one of Mail & Guardian’s ‘Top 200 Young South Africans’. His series Cape Mongo formed part of the Grahamstown National Arts Festival Main Programme in 2015 and the Global Graduate Programme at Design Indaba 2016. He has participated in group exhibitions, such as U/Tropia at the Wiener Festwochen in Germany (2015), Slow Violence at the University of Stellenbosch Art Gallery (2015) and Designing Futures at the Lagos Photo Festival (2015).

His work has also been shown at a number of local and international film festivals, including the WNDX Festival of Moving Image 2015 (winner of the Jury Prize for Best International Work), the 17th Paris Festival for Different and Experimental Cinema, Artvideo Koeln: Audiovisual Experiences in Cologne (2015), the inaugural Addis Video Art Festival (2015), the 32nd Kassel Documentary and Video Festival in Germany (2015), Usurp Zone5 Film Festival at the Usurp Art Gallery & Studio in London (2015), the FILMIDEO International Film Festival at the Index Art Center in Newark, New Jersey (2015) andOK.Video Film Festival in Indonesia (2015).

In 2016 he was chosen as one of Africa Centre’s Artist In Residence Laureates, and spent two months at the Nafasi Art Center in Dar es Salaam,Tanzania, creating his latest work The Great Circle.

Adi Kumar

Development Action Group – Executive Director

Adi has a diverse background, having worked in South Africa, Uganda, Nairobi, Lebanon, Delhi, Gujarat, Los Angeles and Boston. He is a seasoned community facilitator and activist with over fifteen years of experience in informal settlement upgrading, affordable housing, post disaster and post conflict reconstruction. He strongly believes that joint responsibility of local communities, non-profits, public sector and corporate accountability contribute greatly towards sustainable development.  Adi is currently the Executive Director of Development Action Group (DAG), a leading NGO in housing and land sector. Previously, Adi worked as the Deputy Director at Community Organisation Resource Centre (CORC) and as the Head of Design and Planning Sub-Unit for United Nations in Lebanon. He has worked extensively in the Los Angeles on large-scale affordable housing and urban planning projects.

He is currently working on a few projects looking at private affordable rental housing in South Africa, which aim to enable a wider range of housing options for the various needs within our communities and society. DAG has also recently launched a contractor and developer academy, with the aim of shaping the city of the future. He is also currently pursuing research and projects on the financial health of local government, in the context of generating greater revenue for social justice and climate change impacts.

Tammy Langtry

Zeitz MOCAA : Centre for Performative Practice – Assistant Curator

Tammy Langtry is the Wendy Fisher Assistant Curator for Performative Practice in the Performative Practice Centre at Zeitz MOCAA. The Centre is dedicated to exploring the function of performance within society, acknowledging the implicit role of time, space and the performer’s body. Tammy Langtry’s position at Zeitz MOCAA is supported by WendyFisher. Langtry is responsible for programming for the Centre and manages all workshops and lectures hosted by the Centre as well as overseeing the installation and presentation of all performances and its related objects and documentation throughout the museum space.

Langtry holds a BA degree from the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, with majors in art history and psychology. Her experience includes; Assistant Curator for Lizamore & Associates Contemporary art gallery in Johannesburg, Project Coordinator at the fine art consultancy Art Source - South Africa, Assistant Curator of the Bag Factory 21st Retrospective Exhibition, Co-curated of the Bag Factory Artist Studios FNB JHB Art Fair booth which showcased work by resident artists and assisting on the solo exhibition by Nelson Makamo,CityTalesand CountryScapes, at Museum Africa, curated by Portia Malatjie (Johannesburg, South Africa).

Her research areas include; identity politics at play within the city of Johannesburg, in relation to the performance work of Robin Rhode.

Henry Mathys

V&A Waterfront : Social Inclusion and Placemaking – Programme Manager

Henry is the Programme Manager for Social Inclusion and Placemaking at the V&A Waterfront, responsible for the social impact of the Waterfront along with cultural vitality and vibrancy of public spaces.

He was previously a senior events co-ordinator and project manager for public spaces and street arts. His cultural previous experience includes being Site manager for the Cape Town International Jazz Festival.

His key areas of interest include the potential of social inclusion in transforming cities; from  affordable housing, economic opportunity through to the opportunity of cultural diversity to enhance public space and participation.

Khanyisile Mbongwa

Curator, Artist

Is a Cape Town based independent curator and award winning artist, who works with public space, interdisciplinary and performative practices unpacking the socio-political, socio-economic, socio-racial and historical-contemporary complexities and nuances of the everyday.

Mbongwa is the curator of Puncture Points, Twenty Journey and former Executive Director of Handspring Trust Puppets. One of the founding members of arts collective Gugulective, Vasiki Creative Citizens and WOC poetry collective Rioters In Session. Mbongwa is a Mellon Foundation Fellow at the Institute of Creative Arts at UCT, where she completed her masters in Interdisciplinary arts, public art and public sphere. She has worked in and around Cape Town and Johannesburg, Germany, Spain, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Scotland, Brazil, New York, Sweden and Switzerland.

In 2012, together with the later Unathi Sigenu, Mbongwa won the MTN New Contemporary Award. As part of her Honors in Curatorship, Mbongwa curated Demonstrations: Performing Being Black, a two-part exhibition that questioned the idea of ‘authentic blackness’ manufactured by township tourism agencies and the concept of legitimate and illegitimate spaces. The exhibition was housed at Brundyn + Gallery which was seen as the legitimate space and a series of demonstrations were staged in township alleyways seen as illegitimate spaces.

In 2014 she won the Africa Centre - Artist In Residency Laureate and took up residency at JIWAR in Spain in 2015. Mbongwa was the Special Guest at Liste Art Fair Basel 2015. In 2016 she curated What Will We Tell Freedom?, a series of public interventions kwaLanga as part of Africa Centre’s Infecting The City. And her Offering piece Umnikelo Oshisiwe formed part of the 2016 Afreaka Festival in Brazil, BONE 19 Festival in Switzerland and the National Arts Festival in South Africa.

In 2018 she took up a curatorial research residency CAT.Cologne, Cermany focusing on the public sphere, interventions and public policies. As a result curated BLUEPRINT: Where There’s Nowhere To Go, Where Is Home?

Currently she works with Norval Foundation as Adjunct Curator for Performative Practices and with Cape Town Carnival as Curatorial and Socio-Critical Development advisor.

Maurice Mbikayi

Visual Artist

Maurice Mbikayi was born in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo where he currently lives and works. In 2000 he graduated with a BA in Graphic Design (Advertising and Visual Communication), from the Academies des Beaux Arts in Kinshasa. He completed his Master of Fine Art degree (with distinction) in 2015 at the Michaelis School of Fine Art, University of Cape Town.

Mbikayi was selected as one of the finalists of Luxembourg Art Prize in 2016 and also selected as a core participant in the ‘Between the Lines’ symposium in 2013, an exchange between Michaelis and the Braunschweig University of Art in Germany. He also took part in the Spier Contemporary 2010 biennale presented by the Africa Centre in Cape Town and the Hollard Creative Exchange program of 2010-2011.

In 2010 he was selected by the Alliance Française for a travelling solo exhibition in South Africa, Swaziland and Mozambique. He was awarded a three-month residency at IAAB in Basel, Switzerland by Pro Helvetia South Africa.

Maurice Mbikayi is a member of the Africa South Art Initiative (ASAI) and the Visual Arts Network of South Africa (VANSA).

Zama Mgwatyu

Development Action Group - Programme Manager

Zama Mgwatyu is DAG’s Programme Manager responsible for DAG’s programme supporting Contractor and Developer Academy (CDA), with a focus on small scale contractors and delivery of private affordable rental housing. He recently led a team that contributed to DAG delivering of 2173 houses in Khayelitsha, as well as associated research and advocacy projects in community driven housing. The delivery of housing was implemented in collaboration with emerging local contractors, partnerships with private sector material suppliers and general support from the wider community.

Zama has extensive experience working with poor and marginalised communities in Cape Town as well as managing research programmes, for example DAG’s community research in temporary relocation areas. Zama’s responsibilities include holding overall budgetary control, liaising with external stakeholders including funders and Ministry of Housing. Zama has more than 10 years’ experience in coordinating and leading on research and advocacy projects related to human settlements and supporting facilitation of active community engagement in all activities.

Marco Morgan

City of Cape Town Arts and Culture Department - Planner, activist, artist

Through Marco Morgan’s work as a planner, activist and artist he has sought to amplify the role of culture and community as integral and formative components for sustainable urban environments. After studying Town and Regional Planning, he worked extensively as planner within the South African government focusing on policy development and strategy in the transport and infrastructure sectors, and more recently working with City of Cape Town’s Arts and Culture Department in managing the Cultural Spaces Programme and its cultural facilities. Marco’s work has not been limited to the realm of officialdom and he has worked closely in different capacities with various organisations and initiatives such as the National Skate Collective, Open Streets Cape Town and Creative Nestlings as they strive to improve the urban development model and push for a more inclusive and culturally sensitive method of urban development and governance.

Luyanda Mpahlawa

South Africa Institute of Architects – President

DesignSpaceAfrica – Director

Dr Luyanda Mpahlwa, Cape Town based Architect and Urban Designer obtained his Masters in Architecture at the Technical University of Berlin. He is the Director of Luyanda Mpahlwa DesignSpaceAfrica, the architecture and design firm he founded in 2009.

His architectural education in South Africa was interrupted when he was incarcerated on Robben Island Prison in 1981 for his anti-apartheid political activities. After his release from a 5 year prison term in 1986, he went into exile in Germany, where he spent 15 years in Berlin. He relocated back to South Africa in 2000 and established the Cape Town Studio of MMA Architects where he was Director/Partner for 12 years.

He is currently President of The South African Institute of Architects (SAIA).  He is a member of South African professional bodies: SACAP; SAIA; CiFA; UDISA and SABTACO.

He has participated as a Thesis External Examiner in various Universities, UCT, UKZN, WITS and NMMU and also served in the Advisory Committee of CPUT. From 2004-2008 he served in the UCT University Council and is currently serving in the Council of Walter Sisulu University.

Mark Noble

V&A Waterfront – Development Director

Mark Noble has over 16 years of property and construction industry experience, with involvement in projects such as the delivery of the Jumerirah Beach Residence (2 million sqm GBA) in Dubai as well as the construction of a number of landmark buildings in London. His contribution to these prestigious projects have proved Mark’s expertise in the development of large scale, mixed-use developments both locally and internationally, highlighting his ability to both create and deliver projects of the scale and complexity.

Mark is currently Development Direction at the V&A Waterfront, which he joined in 2010. Mark was integrally involved in creating and driving the overall vision for the Silo District, which comprises over 85,000m2 of mixed use development, including the creation of the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (Zeitz MOCAA), the redevelopment of the historic grain silo building in the heart of the district. This remarkable project has allowed Mark to work closely with a large and diverse team including internationally acclaimed designers and professionals, including Heatherwick Studio, Arup and Mace, in order to deliver what is already an extraordinary cultural institution.

Nobukho Nqaba


Nobukho Nqaba was born in Butterworth, Eastern Cape (1992) and moved to Grabouw (1998) where she attended a farm school for three years. Nqaba graduated from Michaelis School of Fine Art (UCT) in 2012. In the same year she was awarded the Tierney Fellowship, mentored by Svea Josephy and Jean Brundrit. Nqaba went on to complete her postgraduate diploma in teaching at UCT. The work of Nobukho Ngaba looks at migration, movement and otherness as well as personal issues surrounding family and the fragility of home. Taking inspiration from her own life, objects resonant with memories as well as events and places around her, the artist creates impactful art; works that often feature herself.

She has garnered praise for her evocative self-portraits and performances and exhibited widely, including Lagos Photo 2015, Rencontres de Bamako, AKAA Paris 2016 and Duro Olowu’s Making and Unmaking at Camden Arts Centre in London.

Nancy Odendaal

University of Cape Town : School of Architecture, Planning and Geomatics - Associate Professor

Nancy Odendaal is a city planner, currently working in academia. Her research and teaching interests include the role of technology in urban change, the use of technological tools in the urban planning process and the relationship between spatial change, service delivery and infrastructure. Her most recent publications focus on developing smart cities ‘from the bottom up’, and examine how new technologies and data can facilitate urban inclusion and spatial transformation. 
She has given input at the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and been interviewed in the international media (The Atlantic, Reuters, CityLab) on technology and urban innovation.  

Nancy is currently collaborating with colleagues in the United Kingdom, Switzerland and Singapore on smart cities in India and South Africa, and is also involved in a second project on the use of drone infrastructure for developmental purposes in East and Southern Africa.

Jay Pather

Director Institute for Creative Arts and Associate Professor at the University of Cape Town, Curator

Jay Pather directs the Institute for Creative Arts, curates the ICA Live Art Festival in Cape Town, Afrovibes in the Netherlands, Body, Image, Movement in Madrid and is Adjunct Curator for Performance for Zeitz MOCAA. Recent mixed media productions include Qaphela Caesar based on Shakespeare’s tragedy and set at the old Johannesburg Stock Exchange, rite, an adaptation of Stravinsky’s Le Sacre du Printemps. Stravinsky’s Firebird which toured the United States and Nadia Davids’ What Remains for which he was awarded the Fleur du Cap Best Director in 2018. Recent addresses include for Festival of the Future City in Bristol, Inventur in Dusseldorf, for Independent Curators International in New York City, New Orleans and Accra, Sommerakademie in Venice, and at the Haus der Kunst in Munich. He has served as co-curator for Spielart in Munich and as Chair of the Jury for the International Award for Public Art. He was recently appointed Fellow at the University of London and Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres by the French Government. He has edited a book Transgressions, Live Art in South Africa, due to be released in February 2019.

Laura Robinson

Architect, Treasurer-General at ICOMOS International Council for Monuments and Sites, South Africa

Born in London, Laura qualified as an architect at the University of Cape Town and now specialises in the field of heritage conservation, management and policy development and World Heritage.  She has served as the Chief Executive Officer of the Cape Town Heritage Trust for the past 15 years. The Trust is recognised as a leading non-governmental organisation whose mission is to conserve and promote the built environment and cultural landscape of the City of Cape Town.

Laura is a Past President of the Cape Institute for Architecture and has convened both the local and national Heritage Committees of these professional bodies. She currently serves as a Board member of the Robben Island Museum (Vice-Chairperson), as well as the National Heritage Council.

As a member of the Executive of ICOMOS SA (International Council on Monuments and Sites) as well as the Treasurer-General of ICOMOS International, Laura has been active in World Heritage in South Africa and internationally where she has undertaken missions and reviews for sites in Australia, as well as Kenya, Tanzania, and Ethiopia.

Particular interests include the built heritage of the 20th century, cultural landscapes and sites of memory ad conscience such as Robben Island (For which she developed the nomination dossier for World Heritage Site status), and intangible heritage as it impacts upon and adds meaning to sites and places.

Llewellyn Scholtz

Genesis Community IT Initiative - Executive Director
I-CAN Centre - Centre Manager

For over a decade Llewellyn has impact the education sector as a CAT / IT Teacher at Trafalgar High School and part time IT lecturer at various colleges. In 2010, he left teaching as an occupation and ventured into the corporate world as a Database Administrator and Web Developer. Soon he realized that the education sector were calling him back and registered Genesis Community IT Initiative (G-CITI)as non-profit to enforce social change through technology.

G-CITI partnered with the Western Cape Government on a project called “Connected Communities I-CAN Centre” in providing citizens access to technology and empowerment of digital skills. G-CITI being the Centre Operator of the I-CAN Centre has trained more than 6500 citizens in digital skills. Based on Min. Alan Winde statement in 2017 visiting the I-CAN Centre, he expressed that the I-CAN Centre has contributed 5% towards job creation within the City of Cape Town.

Llewellyn has a track record of social impact through technology at a local, provincial, national and international level work.  In 2017, Global Resources contracted Llewellyn to provide insight and research into access to technology and empowerment of digital skills in urban and rural communities. Also various higher educational institutions are working alongside Llewellyn in learning how ICT community projects can be rolled out in other provinces.

Apart from social impact, Llewellyn has transformed the I-CAN Centre into a full community college where citizens obtain international certification upon completion of their training.

Mark Seftel

Serial entrepreneur

Mark Seftel holds a Bachelor of Social Science from UCT. He is a serial entrepreneur and is active in software engineering, sustainable building design and construction. He is the co-founder and director of Workshop17, designing, building and managing dynamic co-working communities that are not only beautiful but also actively help people grow their businesses in the context of his greater vision - that of building a more inclusive society, and ultimately a better world.

Mandisa Shandu

Ndifuna Ukwazi - Director

Mandisa is the Director of Ndifuna Ukwazi, a non-profit activist organisation and Law Centre that combines litigation, research and community organising in campaigns aimed at advancing urban land justice in Cape Town. The organisation’s primary mission is to expand and protect access to affordable housing and to build a more equal and spatially just City. Mandisa is responsible for leading the organisation’s Law Centre which she founded in 2015. 

Mandisa’s areas of practice support the organisation’s work of advancing urban land justice, including constitutional, property and housing law, and access to basic services. She is a University of Cape Town graduate holding a B.Soc.Sci degree in political science and an LLB degree and is currently completing her LLM in Constitutional and Administrative Law at the same institution.

Mandisa was announced as one of the Mail and Guardian’s Top 200 Young South Africans in 2016.

Meghna Singh


Meghna Singh is a doctoral candidate at the University of Cape Town and a research associate at the African Centre for Migration and Society at WITS University Johannesburg. Hailing from New Delhi, India, she is currently pursuing visual art practice and a research project on the theme of oceanic migrations in South Africa. Working with mediums of video and installation, blurring boundaries between documentary and fiction, the artist creates immersive environments highlighting issues of ‘humanism’ through the tool of the imaginary. Her current focus is on the theme of critical mobilities, migration and the invisible class of mobile population that move around the world as a consequence of the capitalist globalized world we inhabit. Working with the visual as a methodology to conduct and present research, she received a project grant from Jo Vearey as a part of the Migration and Health Project funding through the Wellcome Trust, U.K.

Caroline Skinner

African Centre for Cities, University of Cape Town - Senior Researcher
Urban Research Director for the global research, policy and advocacy network WIEGO - Women in Informal Employment: Globalizing and Organizing

Caroline Skinner is a Senior Researcher at the African Centre for Cities at the University of Cape Town and Urban Research Director for the global research, policy and advocacy network WIEGO - Women in Informal Employment: Globalizing and Organizing.  For over two decades Skinner’s work has interrogated the informal economy and processes of informality.  This is with a view to, not only generate new knowledge, but inform advocacy processes; livelihood-centred policy and planning responses and better equip current and future urban practitioners to engage with ‘informality’.

Caroline has published widely on the topic, most recently as consulting editor on The South African Informal Sector: Creating jobs, Reducing poverty. Her joint paper with Sally Roever on Street Vendors and Cities was recently cited by Environment and Urbanisation as one of their ‘top read papers’ in 2018.  In her capacity as WIEGO Publications Director she has overseen the editing, commissioning and publication of over 120 open source publications - arguably the most comprehensive collection of work on the global informal economy to date.

Skinner has a long track record of policy work at a local, provincial, national and international level.  She is currently working with the South African Local Government Association on their informal economy guidelines and has advised several city governments, provincial authorities and national government departments in South Africa.  She has written policy papers for the United Nations Human Settlements Programme, the United Nations Development Programme and the World Bank, and she has worked with the United Nations High Commission for Refugees on foreign migrant economic contributions.   

Caroline provides ongoing technical support for membership-based organizations of informal workers both internationally and in South Africa. For many years, she has provided research material for the Legal Resources Centre in their litigation to secure informal workers’ rights, including on a case challenging the constitutionality of confiscating street traders’ goods.

Caroline Sohie

Instinct – Architecture Director

Caroline Sohie is a recognised international designer, leading the design of large public infrastructure environments around the world, including Latin America, Europe, Africa, Middle East and Asia.  She developed a wide-ranging portfolio for Ove Arup &Partners in London, from rail, aviation to projects in sports, commercial to culture and education, and led the Transport Architecture studio in Southern Africa for 7 years. She is one of the co-founding directors of design practice INSTINCT, based in London.

Her expertise ranges from architecture to urban design and strategy. Her completed projects demonstrate a strategic and creative approach towards urban infrastructure as a foundation for integrated development visions and sustainability.

Caroline’s practice extends to the curation and design of interactive experiences questioning contemporary urban realities, ranging from ephemeral installations, exhibitions and academic studio events; She was a co-curator and creative director for CITYDESIRED, an exhibition by African Centre for Cities, offering a penetrating insight into the complex dynamics faced by South African cities.

As a regular keynote speaker she lectures internationally. She is a guest professor at the International Masters of Science in Architecture, University of KU Leuven,  Belgium. Her teaching and reviewing has included; the Architectural Association London, The Berlage Institute Amsterdam, University of the Witwatersrand Johannesburg and University of Cape Town.

Barbara Southworth

GAPP – Director Urban Design

Barbara Southworth is an urban designer, spatial planner and architect who has practiced in the public and private for 26 years in South Africa and Africa. Her work includes the precinct plans for the Silo and Canal Districts of the V&A Waterfront, a Development Framework for a 60ha site in Lagos, Regeneration Frameworks for the neighborhoods of Brooklyn and Ruyterwacht in Cape Town, and the preparation of the National Treasury’s “Good Design Guide” for Township CBDs, as well as the conceptualization and implementation of the City of Cape Town’s “Dignified Place Programme” which upgraded and greened public spaces in the city.

Notable publications include a paper in the UIA Journal, a chapter in the African Centre for Cities’ book Counter-Currents: Experiments in Sustainability in the Cape Town Region, and contributions to the Copenhagen Agenda for Sustainable Cities’ 10 Principles for Sustainable City Government, and the NACTO Global Street Design Guide 2017. Barbara has also participated as a speaker at international events such as the 2008 Venice Biennale, and the Stavros Narchos Foundation’s 2017 Conference on “Creativity, Imagination and the importance of Reactivating Public & Ethical Spaces in a Highly Polarized Society.”

Barbara is the recipient of numerous urban design and spatial planning awards including the International Ruth & Ralph Erskine Award, two UIA design awards as well as project awards from the South African Planning Institute.

Her upcoming work involves the design implementation of subsidy and affordable housing, a pilot in private affordable rental housing, the implementation of a street upgrading project in Hermanus, further phases of a mixed-use development in Lagos and regeneration concepts for 6 small towns across South Africa.

Sitaara Stodel

Sitaara Stodel – Artist in collaboration with Art Meets

Sitaara Stodel was born in Cape Town, South Africa in 1991. In 2014 she graduated from the Michaelis School of Fine Art. In 2015 she was awarded the Tierney Fellowship award which allowed her to continue to create work while making a living. Since then she has been in multiple group shows, working in the medium of photography, collage, video and print. Sitaara currently is a technical officer at the Photography Department at the Michaelis School of Fine Art.

Art Meets is a Cape Town based initiative founded and directed by Michaela Limberis. Working with an expanding number of artists, curators, writers and other organisations in an ongoing partnership, Art Meets focuses on content production, exhibition making, networking, information sharing and gatherings. Art Meets, in all its endeavours, such as Art Meets TV and Art Meets App, is foremost in service of artists, and attempts to make visible and accessible a more layered and collaborative contemporary cultural landscape.

Catherine Stone

Built environment, public sector governance specialist and professional urban planner

Catherine Stone is a consulting built environment, public sector governance specialist and professional urban planner. Her practice is focussed on the integration of development planning with public finance and sector planning – towards more practical and implementable plans that achieve the spatial transformation of cities. Catherine has 18 years of professional experience, most of which were in local government.

As the former Director: Spatial Planning and Urban Design in the City of Cape Town, Catherine led a successful team of urban policy planners, urban designers, landscape architects, construction project managers and urban regeneration specialists.  Prior to this Catherine worked for local government in the UK and in the South African NGO sector providing technical support to landless urban poor’s initiatives to secure land and housing. Catherine serves on the board of the Development Action Group.

Jefferson Bobs Tshabalala

Jefferson Bobs Tshabalala is the founder and owner of the Johannesburg based live arts production house, Kiri Pink Nob Arts (Pty) Ltd. This company produces straight plays, sketch comedy shows, poetry in performance productions and slams, stand-up comedy shows, and variety bill performance events (music, readings, games, symposiums, etc.). Recently, Tshabalala has started producing game shows for the stage and screen. He also works as a cooperate facilitator, a performance trainer, a dramatic arts teacher, and as a dramaturge.

Tshabalala creates works across varied fields, ranging from Orthodox Drama to Hip Hop Theatre, and was nominated at the 2014 Naledi Theatre Awards for the Best Emerging Voice award, and in 2015 his production of “Secret Ballot” was nominated at the Naledi Theatre Awards for Best Ensemble Production. In 2014, he also became a director in residency at the Market Theatre, to create a new play, “South Venturing North”, for the senior students at the Market Theatre Laboratory, for the Student Festival at the National Arts Festival, and for the Arts Alive festival in Johannesburg. In 2017, he won 2 awards at the Cape Town Fringe Festival (Freshest Show and Spirit of Fringe Awards), and in 2018, he scooped the Gold Ovation Award at the National Arts Festival (all for “Off The Record” – A Live Game Show Format).

As an independent theatre producer, Tshabalala has etched a unique niche for himself as both a professional director, and an experimental creative, striking a fine balance in order to cater for both an emerging, and an established market. His dexterity has also seen him work in various capacities, as a writer, director and also as a performer. At Kiri Pink Nob, he works as the Managing and Artistic Director.

Andrew Tucker

African Centre for Cities – Acting Director

Andrew Tucker has extensive experience working to understand and address inequality in a variety of forms across Africa. His work has explored how social markers such as race, sexuality and gender relate to the urban environment.

He completed his PhD at the Department of Geography, University of Cambridge in 2006, where he examined the way sexual minorities from across South Africa’s historical racial categories were able to strategically and pragmatically appropriate urban spaces in diverse ways, to become visible to wider heteronormative societies.

This led to the publication of his monograph Queer Visibilities: Space, Identity and Interaction in Cape Town, as part of the RGS-IBG book series, by Wiley-Blackwell in 2009. Subsequently he was appointed as the Deputy Director of the University of Cambridge Centre for Gender Studies and a Fellow of Jesus College, Cambridge.

In 2014 Tucker relocated to South Africa and took up a position at the Anova Health Institute to conduct research into the particular healthcare needs of Key Populations, such as Men who have Sex with Men (MSM). This work included the development of the first community-based HIV prevention programme for MSM in South Africa. More recently Tucker worked as the Project Manager for Anova Global Programmes, where he managed teams working to address the healthcare needs of Key Populations in countries such as Namibia, Mozambique, Malawi, Botswana, Lesotho and Haiti.

He is Acting Director for the African Centre for Cities (ACC); supporting Director Prof Edgar Pieterse in the overall management of the centre and ensuring that ACC maintains and advances its position at the forefront of urban research and engagement on the continent and in the Global South.

Sumayya Vally

Counterspace – Director

Digital collage and a forensic approach to space expose Sumayya’s particular obsession with deconstructing and reconstructing image and space. Whether unpacking the city through a microscope, or satellite imagery, Sumayya has a particular interest in exposing the parts of its constituency which are largely invisible.

Her interests have admitted her into a host of prominent conceptual and investigatory projects,including a position as assistant curator and film producer for La Biennale di Venezia 2014 (South African Pavilion).

In 2015, she co-founded the experimental architecture and research firm, Counterspace. She currently teaches design at the University of Johannesburg as co-leader of Unit 12, An African Almanac, at the Graduate School of Architecture, Johannesburg.

Prof. Vanessa Watson

Professor of city planning in the UCT School of Architecture, Planning and Geomatics and African Centre for Cities

Vanessa Watson is professor of city planning in the School of Architecture, Planning and Geomatics at the University of Cape Town (South Africa). Her research over the last thirty years has focussed on urban planning in the global South and the effects of inappropriate planning practices and theories, especially in Africa, and seeks to unsettle the geo-politics of knowledge production in planning by providing alternative theoretical perspectives from the global South.

She is the Global South Editor of Urban Studies and is on the editorial boards of Planning Theory, Built Environment, Planning Practice and Research, the Journal of Planning Education and Research, and Progress in Planning. She is also a senior editor of Oxford Bibliographies Online: Urban Studies, and is the PI of the ESRC/Dfid project (Consuming Urban Poverty) on urban food security in Africa.

She has also worked as the lead consultant for UN Habitat’s 2009 Global Report on Planning Sustainable Cities and chaired the Global Planning Education Association Network. Additionally, she is a founder of both the Association of African Planning Schools and the African Centre for Cities at the University of Cape Town, where she is also an executive.

Recent books Professor Watson are: De Satge R and V Watson (2018):  Urban Planning in the Global South: Conflicting rationalities in contested urban space, Palgrave; G Bhan, S Srinivas and V Watson Eds (2018): Routledge Companion to Planning in the Global South, Routledge; and Gunder, M., and A. Madanipour and V Watson (eds) (2018): The Routledge Handbook of Planning Theory, Routledge. 

Peter Willis

Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership – Senior Associate

Conversations that Count – Director

Peter Willis is a change agent who, for twenty years, has been creating spaces for decision-makers to think beyond their normal limitations about the challenges and opportunities they face. Most recently, this has taken the shape of Conversations that Count which provides strategic facilitation and mentoring services. Prior to this, he was the South African Director of the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership. From his arrival in South Africa in 1993 until 2002 he worked in the environmental and sustainability NGO sector, including four years as Regional Director of The Natural Step. From 1976 to 1993 he worked in the British government in Whitehall, taught in inner London primary schools and started and ran two art publishing businesses. He grew up in the UK, and studied medieval history at Oxford University.

Peter is currently leading a project with UCT’s African Climate & Development Initiative and CineSouth Studios to enable Cape Town to learn from its experiences and responses to the recent drought. The project has begun with a series of in-depth filmed interviews with people closely involved in the drought response, across all sectors, with the aim of providing the material for inspiring a series of workshops to reflect, learn and make agreements for more effective action ‘next time’. Finally, the interview film material will be combined with footage of Cape Town and graphics of the water system to make a feature documentary film titled “Day Zero”, telling the full story of the crisis and its resolution, ending with lessons learned and their applicability to other cities around the world.