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Lauren Beukes | Masingita Masunga | Kopano Matlwa Mabaso
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Stories allow us to be more than we are 

Lauren Beukes writes stories for a living. In her own household, in fact, stories are sacred. So sacred that she would go just about anywhere to find the best of them. Recent escapades include hanging out with a vodou priest in the depths of Port-au-Prince in Haiti, or spending time with a colourful range of locals amidst the ruin porn of a decaying Detroit, and going shoulder-to-shoulder in a packed and tense refugee shelter in downtown Johannesburg. All of this in an effort to go beyond the cliche and to get underneath the skin. Amongst the rewards, she says, is the possibility of gaining a perspective that you wouldn’t otherwise come up with on your own. In this talk, delivered at TEDxJohannesburg 2015, Lauren takes us on a dizzying trip into her world. In the process, she gives us an enlightening glimpse of the mind of a wonder woman writer at the height of her powers.

22 mins | TEDxJohannesburg 2015 | Soweto Theatre, Soweto
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Defying Cerebral Palsy, every single day 

Masingita Masunga is one of the toughest people you’re likely to meet. Since finding herself with Cerebral Palsy, a movement co-ordination disability caused by a procedural mistake at birth, Masingita has had to find ways to defy her disability every single day of her life. From primary school where she managed to get an un-empathetic school system to recognise that her situation is not an inability, but a mere disability. And on the playing field where she was able to influence playmates into not only including her in their games, but also in getting them to change the way they play, to accommodate her condition. The pattern continues. In later life, and in spite of her situation, she’s been able to do all the normal things, and perhaps even more, that fully able-bodied people take for granted. Masingita delivers this TEDxJohannesburg 2015 talk with typical grit and single-mindedness, and closes with a breathtaking demonstration that earns her a well deserved standing ovation.

5 mins | TEDxJohannesburg 2015 | Soweto Theatre, Soweto
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What to do when a moonshot falls short

Kopano Matlwa Mabaso and her friend Chrystelle Wedi are winners of the first ever Aspen Ideas Award. Their vision? To set up mobile, ultrasound scan clinics in remote and rural parts of low income settings on the African continent, and in that way, make lifesaving antenatal healthcare more easily accessible to pregnant women in those parts of the continent. Is their plan working? Yes and no, but mostly yes. After initially taking a well intentioned but perhaps ill-conceived approach in applying pre-conceived solutions to imagined problems, actual reality turned out to be less predictable. The deepest parts of Africa, it appears, are tough places to do work. Problems are more acute, and challenges steeper than what most professionals are conditioned to deal with. In this spellbinding TEDxJohannesburg 2015 talk, Kopano finds the words, and just the right pitch in showing that with a bit of humility, and a dose of self-correction, a wiser approach is possible. 

16 mins | TEDxJohannesburg 2015 | Soweto Theatre, Soweto
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