Seek With New Eyes Webinar Speakers Session 1- The Big Picture

Our CrackerJack Speakers

Session 1 – The Big Picture


Discover what makes South Africa captivating – apart from its iconic wildlife!
Glimpse its unsurpassed natural beauty, diversity & engaging sociability, vibrant arts & culture, historical complexity,
culinary creativity, unique archaeology.
Hear from luminaries doing things differently. Front runners making their mark. Collaborative initiatives sparking hope.
Refresh your perspective. Stimulate your mind.


If your fingers are on the pulse of the wild and exuberant beast that is the international design scene, then you know that African design is on the rise.
The world is finally getting to see more of the rich and aesthetically varied traditional craft that African artisans have been producing for generations, and also catching glimpses of the avant-garde African design movement that’s brewing.

At the forefront of this evolving design revolution is the South African couple Trevyn and Julian McGowan, co-founders of the design gallery and all-around African design tour-de-force, Southern Guild.

“The recent surge in interest in African design doesn’t surprise us,” say the McGowans. “People are hungry for authenticity, a human connection, and a deeper story in the things that they surround themselves with.”
The husband and wife team recognise that they represent something new to the more established design world. “Our sense of form, our handmade manipulation of everyday materials, the way nature and landscape permeate everything we do, all stand in contrast to Europe’s more resolved, industrialized approach to design.”

Located in the über-hip Silo District in Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront , right next to  the Thomas Heatherwick building housing the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (MOCAA), Southern Guild’s chic showroom hosts curated exhibitions of southern African artists and designers.

Southern Guild’s limited-edition and one-off pieces have garnered multiple awards and caught the attention of the world’s leading collectors, auction houses and museums.

It was the first African gallery to present at Christie’s London’s annual design auction (2015) and Design Miami (2011), where it  shows regularly (in both the US and Basel).

The gallery has also participated in fairs such as PAD London, The Salon Art & Design, Collective New York and Design Days Dubai. It has partnered with renowned New York City-based galleries R & Company, Friedman Benda and Todd Merrill, further exposing its artist-designers to the most important international audiences.


Global African thought leader, advisor, commentator and author. Widely recognized in Africa and the world, Thebe has been featured in global media such as CNN, BBC and CNBC Africa.

He’s the founder of the award-winning Brand Leadership Group® and Brand Leadership Academy®, and the seminal Brand Africa™ and Public Sector Excellence™ initiatives.

Thebe’s distinguished career is highlighted by his leadership of NIKE (Africa), over 75 local and global awards – including the 10 Cannes Lions, the Institute of Marketing Management’s “Marketing Company of the Year” Roll of Honour and leading Brand Leadership, the FinWeek “Marketing Services Agency of the Year, 2008” (South Africa), and the 2011 REBRAND100 Global Award for Effective Brand Transformations (New York, USA).

He has received the Asia Brand Congress “Global Brand Leadership” award, and the Marquette University/American Marketing Association “Award for Marketing Excellence.”

Thebe has served on various leading corporate boards and notable industry bodies.
He is vice-chairman of the Brand Council of South Africa and a non-executive director of Mercantile Bank Holdings, WWF South Africa (WorldWideFund for Nature), South African Tourism, and founder and chairman of Brand Africa and Public Sector Excellence.

He holds a BSc (Business Administration) and MBA degrees from Marquette University in the USA, completed executive education at Wits Business School and Harvard Business School, and qualified as a Chartered Marketer (SA).

Thebe’s an adventurer who’s summited Mount Kilimanjaro, sky-dived in Namibia, the only place in the world where the sand dunes meet the ocean; bunjy jumped off the tallest bridge in the world (which happens to be here in SA, Bloukrans).

He’s an avid traveller who’s visited all 55 countries in Africa – and every continent in the world. What he’s learnt is that no country is better than another. That each country is different, and that differences enrich.

Everything Thebe does is centred around Africa. He believes in the continent’s possibilities. He is engaged in inspiring and driving an Africa-focused, brand-led agenda that positively shapes the continent’s image and competitiveness.

In his search for what is unique about each country, he discovered that the one undeniable commonality among the over 1,2 billion Africans, is our humanity and hospitality.

He quotes James Russell who said: ‘A wise man travels to discover himself.’
In his travels, he has found us in each other. He found himself. He found Africa.
I couldn’t think of a better person to talk his walk.


Alistair’s entrepreneurial journey started after his science degree when he put his philosophy of “do what you love, do what you’re good at, and do what the world needs” into action with like-minded collaborators.

They set out on a year-long journey to the wildest places in South Africa to map the country’s best hiking trails – including every National Park (19) and all eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

It was along the grass spurs above the Transkei coastline, where the idea to find solutions to the state of our planet began, as well as their desire to communicate these through film, experiences and education.

This they do. They are educating audiences to understand the problem of ecological loss, and showing us ways to be part of the solution and build a community of like-minded individuals. They play their part by being a voice for the wild and encouraging a shared humanity between people and the rest of nature, where each can thrive.

ReWild Africa has been called “One of the most inspiring, purpose-driven companies out there – where passion drives action, the quality is always raised‘’ by African Bush Camps.


subscribe to the series

Get your ticket via Quicket – our chosen, safe, online ticketing gateway.

Please click the button related to your current place of residence