Summit FAQ's

What is Sustain our Africa?

Sustain our Africa (SoA) is a collaborative sustainability communications platform that acts as a catalyst for change. By cultivating awareness, showcasing inspirational stories and hosting practical tools for change, SOA aims to build an abundant, resilient Africa that can deliver enough, for all, forever.

What is the Sustain our Africa Change Manifesto?

For the first time in the history of mankind we have a common cause to fight for –

a cause that we can all believe in.

A cause that supersedes race, colour, creed, religion, nation, status, political belief or ego.

A cause to fight for our collective survival on the only planet we all call home.

The Sustain our Africa Change Manifesto stands for:

Working together in a manner of true collaboration and transparency.

Sharing and using the skills of our collaborators to effect real change.

Sharing our findings and solutions for change as far and as wide as possible.

Our collective goal is to ensure a world that can deliver:

Enough. For All. Forever.

What is the Sustain our Africa Summit?

The Sustain our Africa Summit is Africa's first annual integrated sustainability summit focused on inspiration and tools for change. In a world first for the continent, over 100 influential thought leaders from across the globe are gathering in Cape Town for the inaugural Sustain our Africa Summit, Expo and Festival in October this year to tackle, debate and find answers to the biggest question of all: Can Africa deliver enough for all, forever?

Business, government and civil society are all affected by issues such as water, energy, food security and climate change. Increasing your awareness and adaptability is essential. At the Sustain our Africa Summit you will discover opportunities that will change the way you think, live and do business forever. You will be inspired to pursue change and discover essential tools to assist you along your journey.

The Summit will run over three days (24 - 26 October), where day one and two focus on awareness and inspiration for change, and day three will equip participants with tools for change in over 20 different breakaway Changeroom sessions. The Changerooms will be held at different venues such as the V&A Waterfront, Graduate School of Business, and the Two Oceans Aquarium.

The Sustain our Africa Youth Summit on 27 October will be facilitated by Greenpop.

The Sustain our Africa Expo (24 – 28 October) and Festival for Change (22 – 28 October) are open to the public.

Running alongside the Summit there will be events held by our partners including the Siemens Profile Awards (26 October), the Annual GSB Business of Social and Environmental Innovation Event (22 & 23 October 2012), and the Green Building Council Education Days (22 & 23 October).

Why participate at Sustain our Africa 2012?

Current economic growth strategies are rapidly depleting the natural resources and ecosystem services that we depend on. As many developing countries strive to eradicate poverty via economic growth, they are all encountering the consequences of global warming and dwindling levels of cheap oil, productive soils, metals, clean water supplies and forest products.

If the fast-developing large-scale countries (China, India, Brazil) and small-scale countries (South Africa, Mexico, Venezuela, Poland) want to develop in the same way and to the same level as currently developed economies, they will simply be unable to find the natural resources they require to make this happen. For these developing countries, very different solutions are required.

Extract from: Professor Mark Swilling & Eve Annecke: Just Transitions: Explorations of Sustainability in an Unfair World

Who should attend Sustain our Africa 2012?

We invite all business, members of the public, academic, and government leaders to participate in this unique opportunity to drive the collective goal of sustainability: an Africa that can deliver enough, for all, forever.

Whether your interest stems from a business, political or civil society perspective your invitation is to participate by attending the Summit, Expo and Festival and become an agent of change. Everyone who attends will be empowered with new ideas, innovative solutions and practical tools to address the interconnected threats of climate change, resource depletion, food shortages and economic inequality.

What are Change Agents?

In short, a change agent is someone who intentionally or indirectly causes or accelerates social or environmental behaviour change.

The invitation to attend the Sustain Our Africa Summit, Festival and Expo is an invitation to open your mind and heart to a remarkable week that will create an inspirational and extraordinary platform for a pantheon of thought leaders and critical realists who are going to shake up your current reality in a most remarkable way.

The dialogue will be led by Change Agents who have the expertise to guide us towards a sustainable future. In their experience lie the solutions - some outrageous and some exquisite in their simplicity, but all revolutionary in their power to affect positive change - to our most pressing social, economic and environmental challenges.

The Sustain Our Africa Summit, Festival and Expo, will combine economists, environmentalists, scientists, maverick entrepreneurs, artists, inventors and social champions who are poised to share their wealth of knowledge and experience. As diverse as the range of speakers are, they are united by a common goal: to create a vision of hope and practical possibility in order to engender change for the benefit of a continent and the future of all its people.

Sound like a tall order? Can Africa indeed offer enough, for all, forever? The short answer is 'yes' and these Change Agents have the experience to prove it.

What is the SoA Expo?

The Sustain our Africa Expo will run alongside the Summit at the new Moyo within the V&A Clock Tower precinct and is open to the public. It will showcase a wide range of exhibitors with sustainability-focused products, services, and technologies as well as a food market and off-grid media centre.

What is the SoA Festival for Change?

The Sustain our Africa Festival is a collaborative creative platform for events cross Cape Town, acting as a catalyst for change. Through art, performance, music, film, design and food, it aims to increase awareness of our natural and social environment, and inspire change and meaningful action in all of us.

What is the GSB Business of Social and Environmental Innovation Event?

The UCT Graduate School of Business has a reputation for innovation and excellence that has helped it to take its place amongst the very best in the world. The GSB Annual Business of Social and Environmental Innovation event will be held on the 22 and 23 of October, just prior to the Sustain our Africa Summit.

What is The Greenpop Youth Summit at Sustain our Africa?

Greenpop will be facilitating the Youth Summit at the V&A Waterfront on Saturday 27 October 2012 where students from some of the schools where Greenpop has planted trees will explore how they can take part in a sustainable future. Through fun interactive activities including seed planting, mural painting, recycled arts & crafts, theatre/dance, and making solar cookers from up-cycled materials, students will learn about the aspects of the greening movement and ways in which they can get involved.

What are the Siemens Profile Awards?

The Change Agent presents the Siemens Profile Awards ceremony to be held on 26 October. The Profile Awards is an annual pan-African competition that honours journalists who excel in the fields of science and technology reporting. Advancements in science and technology can help to create safer and healthier societies, a cleaner environment and prosperous knowledge-driven economies across Africa. The media plays a vital role in demystifying these important subjects and sharing the stories that are driving change and helping create a more sustainable future. "Journalists who report on science and technology issues are influential agents of change, so the Sustain our Africa Summit is a perfect fit for the Profile Awards", says Alex Mathole, the Executive Director, Sustainability & Corporate Affairs at Siemens Africa. The Profile Awards competition is sponsored by Siemens and supported by the South African Department of Science and Technology.

What is the methodology of the Sustain our Africa Summit?

The Sustain our Africa Summit programme is like no other summit or conference you will have been to. It is specifically designed to ensure maximum interaction, through:

  • Debate and enlightenment with short thought-provoking talks
  • Interactive solution-focused sessions
  • Keynotes from world changing thought leaders
  • Hard-hitting debates on crucial topics
  • Interactive voting sessions on crucial issues
  • Think tanks and inspiring entertainment

Sustain our Africa has a unique structure engineered to stress the inter-connectivity between the seemingly "slow, creeping risks" of climate change, biodiversity and ecosystems loss, desertification, and other such threats. Increasingly, examples from around the globe show that if they are not addressed effectively, these threats can devastate communities, destroy crops, ruin businesses, undermine employment and interrupt education in a flash. Sustain our Africa will reinforce the reality that environmental and social threats borne from our poor management of the planet are focussing on today, not the future generations.

All in all Sustain our Africa will take you on inspirational ride that will change the way you see the world, the way you live in it and the way you do business.

Who will be there?

Thought leaders from across the spectrum of business, government and civil society who can collectively drive and inspire inspiration and offer solutions for sustainable growth, resilience and adaptability. From academics, students, sustainability strategists, business leaders, biodiversity, biomimicry and water experts, eco-entrepreneurs, food security activists, to government and civil society groups, social investment pioneers and more.

Who are the main Sustian our Africa Partners?

This event could not have been possible without the support from our Partners that are assisting us in various ways. From Siemens as headline sponsor, through to the support from Provincial Government of the Western Cape, GlobeScan and many more businesses, both large and small; so many people and organisations are working together to make this a success. 100 bursary tickets will be made available for students and other individuals.

The main partners are:

  • Siemens
  • Western Cape Government
  • Woolworths
  • Pick n Pay
  • GlobeScan
  • Green Building Council of South Africa
  • UCT Graduate School of Business (GSB)
  • Green Talent
  • Greenpop
  • Steadfast Greening
  • Blended Capital Group
  • Avis
  • Ogilvyearth
  • Dimension Data
  • Puma
  • Bos Iced Tea
  • Touching the Earth Lightly

What makes this Summit different?

Sustain our Africa has a simple aim, to re-invent sustainability gatherings in a way that creates new solutions, builds new markets, drives practical action and provides the tools to address the interconnected threats and solutions facing us all.

There have been various conferences that deal with specific issues such as climate change, energy or biodiversity, but Sustain our Africa will be the first event that brings all these principles together under one roof in an integrated manner. All these issues are interlinked and affect each other. It is essential that we look for holistic solutions and address issues together.

Over an engaging three-day journey the most inspirational African sustainability stories, challenges and successes will be presented to the world. The world will learn from Africa and African's will learn from a formidable array of thinkers, doers and innovators in the global sustainability space.

Do I have to attend all three days? Why?

To take full benefit from a journey that will cover the challenges, the inspiring success stories and then moves onto the tools for change we strongly suggest that the attendees join for the full three days.

The line-up includes a formidable array of thinkers, doers and innovators in the global sustainability space that will specifically address:

  • Day One & Two: Awareness and Inspiration for Change - why Africa and the world needs to change now and stories of people and companies who are creating solutions, businesses and life-changing initiatives to tackle problems head on
  • Day Three: The Tools for Change – at least 20 breakaway Changerooms covering the sustainability spectrum. This is the practical, hardnosed, hard-edged side of the Summit.

What are the Sustain our Africa Changerooms?

The Changerooms are different break-away sessions, and are more than just talk shops. The focus will be on the tools that are required to make change and although the list continues to expand. Please refer to the Sustain our Africa 2012 Programme for further information.

What happens after the Summit?

Dialogue and networking will continue post Sustain our Africa 2012 and on to 2013 via our communications platform which includes the Change Agent publication, website, and social media. This is just the start of the journey towards a more sustainable future.

Is the Sustain our Africa Summit going to be ‘green’?

SOA 2012 endeavours to set a benchmark for running a truly "green" and sustainable event through basic event greening principles and innovation:

  • The carbon footprint will be entirely measured and offset
  • All measures will be taken to limit water use and re-use waste water
  • All food will be sourced locally from small to medium business
  • All waste will either be recycled or re-used
  • Where possible renewable energy sources will be used
  • Unskilled labour will be trained on site
  • GlobeScan the international research company will be doing an annual social impact study
  • We will also be initiating ongoing sustainability initiatives at the V&A Waterfront
  • Sustain our Africa will be a sustainable event that showcases true sustainability in action

Will this be a once-off Summit or will it occur again?

The Sustain our Africa Summit will be an annual event to drive awareness, inspiration and change across the African continent, supported by the communications platform which includes the Change Agent publication, website, and social media.

Will there be any arts showcased at the Summit?

The Sustain our Africa Festival for Change will be taking place across the V&A Waterfront and the City of Cape Town. Art, drama, food and film will used to educate, inspire and activate citizens.

How do I get involved?

Various leading global companies such as Siemens, GlobeScan, Avis and Puma are already supporting Sustain our Africa. Over 50 sustainability groups and leading business schools such as The Graduate School of Business are already part of our network. Your company or group can get involved as a partner. Speak to one of our team to see how you can also benefit and get involved.

You can also join the Sustain our Africa network by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. '; document.write(''); document.write(addy_text56449); document.write('<\/a>'); //-->\n This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and we will link you up with experts from across the sustainability landscape.

How do I register for Sustain our Africa 2012?

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When and how will I receive my ticket?

Your ticket will be emailed to you two weeks prior to the event.

Can I exhibit at Sustain our Africa 2012?

Yes - over 2000 square metres of Expo space is available to business, education bodies and civil society groups who want to showcase sustainability initiatives and products and brands.

What other African countries are represented?

We are growing Sustain our Africa into a Pan African event and sustainability communications platform and intend to full represent Africa from business, civil society and government organisations.

Which media are going to attend?

All major press and media will be represented at SoA. For media accreditation visit

Who are the Sustain our Africa core team?

  • Deon Robbertze – Over 20 years in marketing and communications, launched Ogilvy's sustainability Communications division OgilvyEarth and has been specializing in Sustainability communication for five years.
  • Brendon Bell-Roberts – Founder of Art South Africa and an arts & culture specialist. Brendon has over 20 years experience in publishing and communication.

What are the key dates for Sustain our Africa 2012 Summit?

  • The Sustain our Africa Summit 24 – 26 October at Moyo, V&A Waterfront
    • Day 1 - awareness for change
    • Day 2 - inspiration for change
    • Day 3 - tools for change - SoA changerooms
  • Sustain our Africa Expo 24 – 28 October
  • Sustain our Africa and Festival for Change 22 – 28 October
  • Sustain our Africa Youth Summit 27 October
  • Siemens Profile Awards 26 October
  • The GSB Annual Business of Social & Environmental Innovation 22 & 23 October

Who are SoA Partners so far?

See about our partners page.