I’ve always been suspicious of TED. It’s exclusivity puts me off. I was uncomfortable with its sweep into Arusha a couple of years ago and the consequent patronising of an ambitious Malawian – though he had the sense to use the opportunities offered, it seems.
Happily, TEDxDar continued in that smartly opportunistic Malawian tradition. It was small, but it felt like we had crashed our own party rather than somebody else’s. The crowd was as interesting as the speakers: from Issa Mwamba wa Fatma, who seems to spend much of his time stuck in traffic as he pushes forward, to Thomas Maqway, who measures that very same traffic. Or Mike Mushi, creator of Jamii Forums. It was good to be around doers and not just talkers.
It was a (shared) relief that the advertised Nyerere theme never really took off. Stories ruled and stuck in my head. Language, pictures, untold stories, a call to story. Stories from people half my age and people 20 years older. A man from the Pare Mountains telling me tales from my home town (tales of Upper Merrion Street, to be exact).
Look to Mikocheni Report and Shurufu for more detail from their live blogs. Respect to the TEDxDar team. In a town of hustlers you hustled up something sweet. Here’s to next year (and ask Babu Sikare to bring along II Proud this time).