SingularityU South Africa Summit 2020 set to future-proof Africa

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The fourth annual SingularityU South Africa Summit takes place on October 14 and 15, purely online. With over 100 speakers, 15 workshops, four stages, a virtual reality expo, networking platforms and more, almost 2 000 people are expected to attend this unique business event.

Mic Mann, Co-CEO of SingularityU South Africa, shares more about this year’s summit.

In short, what is the SingularityU South Africa Summit all about?

South African business innovator Michael Jordaan will talk about disrupting the banking industry with Bank Zero

The SingularityU South Africa Summit is all about bringing the best thought leadership and innovation to South Africa and Africa, to build a community of change-makers that will solve the continent’s challenges and future-proof Africa. It’s also about helping people and businesses learn how exponential technologies can help them in their everyday lives and business.

Over the last couple of years, we have brought some of the world’s top thought leaders to the stage, which we continue to do. This year, we have expanded our themes, which are:

  • Exponential technologies
  • Global grand challenges
  • Leadership & entrepreneurship
  • Digital Marketing
  • SMEs

This year, the summit is completely online. How will things be different to previous years?

Andile Ngcaba – Founder of Convergence Partners

The online format enables us to stage a completely different event. We are not limited by space for our activities or our audience, so we have expanded our themes, topics and stages. This year we have four stages plus live workshops, all happening simultaneously.

It allows us to attract a global audience — nobody has to fly in. With reduced or no ticket prices there is more access for more people.  

We have also treated the content differently. We understand Zoom fatigue, so we are keeping the content short, sharp and high value, constantly evolving to keep the audience engaged. The shorter talks have made space for more variety. There will be more than one talk per session to choose from, as well as highlights and relive channels.

There are always amazing speakers. Who can we expect to hear from this year?

There are over 100 speakers at this year’s summit, but to name a few:

Peter Diamandis  – Executive founder and director of Singularity University, founder and executive chairman of the XPRIZE Foundation

Jerry Wonda – Grammy Award-winning producer

David Roberts – Leading Expert on Business Disruption and Exponential Leadership, Founder of GEDI Training

Cathy Wood – Founder and CEO of ARK Invest

Jaya Baloo – Chief Information Security Officer at Avast Software, SingularityU Faculty of Cybersecurity and Quantum Computing

Esther Wojcicki  – SingularityU Faculty Education

Hans Otterling  – General partner at Northzone

Steve Leonard – CEO of Singularity University

Andile Ngcaba – Founder of Convergence Partners

Prof Tshilidzi Marwala  – Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University of Johannesburg and author

Michael Jordaan – Founder of Bank Zero, Director of the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, Director of Telco Rain

Jamie Metzl  – Singularity University faculty member, founder OneShared.World

Divya Chander – Singularity University, Faculty Chair Neuroscience

Paola Santana – Singularity University faculty, founder and CEO of Social Glass

Mxolisi Mgojo – CEO of Exxaro

Silas Adekunle – CEO of Reach Robotics

Godfrey Nazareth – CEO of X-Biomedical Inc

Adam Valkin  – Managing Director at General Catalyst

Vivienne Ming – Co-Founder and Executive Chair at Socos Labs

Tilly Lockey – Bionically beautiful, inspirational speaker and influencer.

Cathy Hackl – LinkedIn Top Voice in Tech

Fred Swaniker – Founder of African Leadership Group

And many others!

How were the speakers chosen?

We look for people from around the world who show current expertise based on our topics and themes. The bar is really high: we value people who show extraordinary thought leadership, who are trailblazing in their fields and leading ground-breaking innovation around the world. Our over-riding mission is to future-proof Africa, so it’s all about who will deliver the most value to our audience in that capacity.

We also get plenty of requests and proposals for speakers, who we then research.

What is the process of putting the agenda together?

The process is quite intense and lengthy. It takes a few months. Overall, the agenda is based on the themes, topics and narratives.  

Cybersecurity specialist Jaya Baloo

We have a team that carefully steers the agenda to ensure that the right flow throughout each day, so that there is variety, including factors such as no two people speaking on the same topic at the same time.

You can see this year’s agenda here:

What highlights can we expect at this year’s summit?


I’m very excited about the thought leadership talks. We have many top-end leaders from around the world, and great variety and depth in the presentations and panel discussions. There is so much to learn in these few days —  it’s like getting a mind upgrade in a very short time.

David Roberts will discuss how to be a strategic, empathetic leader in the new world

Also having Peter Diamandis on our stage is a big thing. We are thrilled that he will be addressing African audiences.

There will be a highlights channel on October 14 and 15, with highlights from previous years’ summits. On Friday 16t, we go live with our Relive Experience that will enable you to watch the talks or discussions you missed during the week.  

Our “Drinks in the bush” VR afterparties are also going to be a great highlight! You’ll be able to choose your avatar from the big five and drink in close proximity to other animals.

Lastly, I am excited that we are giving people the opportunity to connect and interact with each other. This has been missing from many other online events and there’s a real need for this. Our platform has wonderful engagement and networking opportunities.

For more information go to

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