• 23 September 2020
  • Online

2020 Speakers

Toby Shapshak

Editor-in-Chief/Publisher/MD, Stuff magazine South Africa

Toby Shapshak writes and speaks about how innovation is better in Africa. His TED talk on how Africa is solving real problems has had over 1,5-million views; and he has been featured in the New York Times. He is the editor-in-chief, publisher and owner of Stuff magazine; is a contributor to Forbes and writes a weekly column for the Financial Mail.

Toby was named in GQ's top 30 men in media and the Mail & Guardian newspaper's influential young South Africans list; and was the ICT Journalist of the Year. GQ said he "has become the most high-profile technology journalist in the country" while the M&G wrote: "Toby Shapshak is all things tech... he reigns supreme as the major talking head for everything and anything tech."​

Carol Weaving

Managing Director, Reed Exhibitions Africa

We run over 17 trade fairs, consumer exhibitions, confexes and events in SA and Africa. We also run Reed Venue Management which runs Africa's largest entertainment arena... the Ticketpro dome.

Specialities: Developing brands, devising new exhibition and event concepts and execution thereof....all areas of venue and stadium management. 

Aaron Denford

Marketing Manager, APPTUTTi Group Limited

Marketing Manager for APPTUTTi.com Aaron has been a Gamer all his life, and regularly watches Esports. He has always had a passion for online marketing and social media management. Throughout his time at APPTUTTi he has come to spread the word of Publishing Mobile Apps & Games in China, and other Unexplored Markets. 

A UK native living in China for 4 years he has specialized insight into western markets. Now, working at APPTUTTi he has learned about Publishing and what it takes to successfully Launch creations into China.

Anya Combs

Director of Games, Kickstarter (US)

Anya Combs is the Director of Games at Kickstarter. She has been in the digital games space for over a decade, overseeing multiple mobile and online titles launched for Nickelodeon & AddictingGames, and has worked with countless game creators launching successful projects on Kickstarter.

Arni Birgisson

Sr. Game Tech Developer Advocate, AWS EMEA

Arni Birgission is the Senior Game Tech Developer Evangelist at AWS. Having worked with the likes of Rovio and Supercell, Arni developed a fascination for using data to build better and better games. He now shares his knowledge with developers across the EMEA region for Amazon Game Tech.

Bhavanesh Pharbhoo

Deal Maker – Media Tech, IDC

Bhavanesh is the deal-maker behind unlocking development funding for start-up & existing businesses in the Media space. The role involves Deal origination / Structuring / Closing. Personal focus is on alternate media viz., video-gaming, VR, E-Sports, etc.

The Industrial Development Corporation of South Africa Limited (IDC) was established in 1940 by an Act of Parliament (Industrial Development Corporation Act, No. 22 of 1940). For more than 70 years the IDC has contributed to the implementation of South Africa's industrial policy and has established, among others, the petro-chemicals and minerals beneficiation industries.

Brent Alexander

Chief Creative Officer, CraftVR & Owner, Epik Creative Works

Brent Alexander is a multi-disciplinary creative from South Africa. Craft is the culmination of his 16 year career in the creative industry. The ‘creative industry’ is a broad term; and rightly so. It best describes the multitude of industry silos of his dynamic marketing and design career which has been set across motor-sport to construction and music to architecture. Labelled a design polymath by many, Brent’s design skills reach across the board from graphics, to animation, product design to 3D modelling.

Eyram Tawia

Cofounder and CEO, Leti Arts

Eyram is the cofounder and CEO of Leti Arts. As a game developer, Eyram believes that Africa can make a salient contribution to the world of game development and preserve culture through this. He has pioneered developing the gaming industry in Africa with Leti Arts. Eyram believes preserving cultural diversity through gaming and entertainment is very important and aims to prove this by creating world class games and comics using African talent.

Jade Duckitt

Creative Director, Sea Monster Entertainment

I'm responsible for generating game and animation concepts that drive learning, marketing or brand objectives for our clients. Once in production, I oversee the creative direction of the development process. This includes setting out how to convey the message through the entire experience: drawing up wireframes, writing creative treatments and briefing the crew involved to ensure that the creative and business aims of the project are delivered as promised. I am also responsible for testing that the end-user is provided with a user-friendly and worthwhile experience.

Jeff Pobst

CEO, Hidden Path Entertainment

Jeff has been heavily involved in the gaming industry for over twenty years with roles as game programmer, producer, and chief operating officer before co-founding HPE. Jeff was also a group leader at Microsoft for the Xbox and Xbox 360 platforms. Jeff has shipped over 40 different game titles on multiple PC, console, and VR platforms. Prior to working on Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Age of Empires II HD, Defense Grid and other HPE franchises, he’s had the privilege of bringing games in the Half-Life, Homeworld and Lord of the Rings franchises to market.

Jeff was Sierra Studio’s first external producer in 1998 involved in all elements of the publishing business. Jeff joined Microsoft in 2002 to head up a group of developer liaisons working closely with game developers on the Xbox and Xbox 360 platforms to help improve the potential of their titles. At Xbox, Jeff was a primary spokesperson for Microsoft when talking with game developers about Xbox LIVE and Xbox 360 plans. He also was on the third-party portfolio management team for the platform.

Kish Hirani

CTO, Terra Virtua | Technical & Creative Leader | Mentor | Speaker | Board Advisor | Diversity & Inclusion Advocate

Kish Hirani, London based, is the CTO of Terra Virtua, an entertainment-focussed digital collectibles platform across Mobile, AR and VR, with social, videogaming and creative experiences, enabled by blockchain. He started in the video games industry in 1996 as a programmer the day after graduating with a Masters from Edinburgh University, moving to technical leadership roles at notable development studios and publisher houses (Acclaim, BBC Multimedia, THQ) for the first half in the industry. He then moved over to platform-holders starting with Microsoft and soon after to Sony as their Head of Developer Services, running the PlayStation developer technology services division.

Louis Du Pisani

CEO, Cali 4 Ways Games

A small team based in Joburg trying to make fun games that are uniquely local and awesome! We love Joburg and we want to keep making great games for a long time.

Cali4ways Games is working on Boet Fighter, a game that, according to the press stuff, “celebrateseverything that makes the South African middle class, but packaged in a loving way” so momdoesn’t klap you with a flip-flop.

Moses Mbugua

Game Developer, Usiku Games

Moses is an experienced Game Designer with a demonstrated history of working in the information technology and services industry. Skilled in the conceptualization and development of interactive media, including digital games, virtual and mixed reality experiences.

Prior to working with Usiku Games, Moses worked with Internet of Elephants, and Bean Interactive.

Douglas Ogeto

CEO, Ludique Works

Douglas Ogeto is the Co-Founder and CEO of LudiqueWorks, Africa's fastest growing and award winning video game publishing company, game development accelerator and dedicated game fund, committed to growing the video game development and eSports industry on the continent. We have built the largest community of game developers across 16+ African countries as well as eSports in 24+ African countries.

Nicholas Hall

CEO, Interactive Entertainment SA

Nicholas Hall is very well known in the South African video games industry, where he is a founding member and chair of Make Games South Africa the largest online community for game developers in South Africa. He is also CEO of the local industry association for video game development, Interactive Entertainment South Africa.

Phillip Mukasa

Director – Operations, Klan Of The Kings Limited

An avid and enthusiastic gamer, Phillip runs operations for Klan of the Kings and oversees the day to day of the company. With over 10 years experience in start ups and online business development, Phillip's expertise lies in streamlining a business's operations to ensure it operates efficiently.

Ronald Kayima

Founder/Director, Klan Of The Kings Limited

Ronald is the founder and creative director of Klan of the Kings. Having started it as a comic book creation hobby in 2004, it has since evolved from a comic book and story collective to a fully registered and licensed digital entertainment company working on its first console game, Sunjata: Trumpet of Last Day.

Barry Louzada

CEO, Mettlestate (Esports)

With over 20 years experience in esports ranging from competing to managing and now running the leading esports production house and tournament organization in South Africa. I live eat and breathe esports. 

Mettlestate is a premium esports authority in South Africa aiming to be the leader in content creation by combining outstanding production, excellent talent and lively events to cultivate more interest in the competitive gaming industry as well as compliment the casual video gaming scene.

Dave Sidenberg

Executive Director | CEO, BMI Sports Info

With over 20 years experience in esports ranging from competing to managing and now running the leading esports production house and tournament organization in South Africa. I live eat and breathe esports. 

Mettlestate is a premium esports authority in South Africa aiming to be the leader in content creation by combining outstanding production, excellent talent and lively events to cultivate more interest in the competitive gaming industry as well as compliment the casual video gaming scene.

Sidney Onoriode Esiri (Dr.Sid)

Singer, Songwriter, Esports Team Owner (Sidizens Gaming), VP Esports Nigeria

Sidney Onoriode Esiri known commonly as, Dr SID is a Nigerian singer-songwriter. He is from Urhobo in Delta state but born and raised in Lagos. His mother a successful fashion designer and his late father the legendary actor Justus Esiri who was a Member of the Order of the Niger (MON), and famous for his role as the Village Headmaster a Nigerian sitcom popular in the 1980s. The second child of 4 children from an early age he had his heart set on becoming an entertainer.

He recently purchased Wild Breed gaming and rebranded it to Sidizens Gaming. Sidizens Gaming is a renowned professional gaming organization established in 2018. Since our humble beginnings as a WhatsApp group, we have grown to a multifaceted company win a wide reach in the gaming industry, with over 30 professional players competing in 9 of the world's top games.

Gabriel Ramokotjo

Owner, Ekasi Esports

Established in 2017, Ekasi Esports is an Esports & Lifestyle organisation, based in Johannesburg, with teams competing in FIFA, Tekken, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS: GO) and PUBG Mobile.

Responsible for providing foresighted leadership in the company and drive the company strategic goals in line with the company’s vision and mission.

Kwesi Hayford

President, Ghana Esports Association

Kwesi Hayford is an eSports Evangelist, Creative Designer, and a Digital Media enthusiast with a passion for the youth culture, technology and education.  He inspires and empowers young people to create opportunities for themselves in digital media for the socio-economic growth for Africa.

Kwesi has been very instrumental in organizing eSports events and helping professional gaming communities develop. He is also a founding member of the Africa Esports Championship. The dream to connect Africa with a Championship tournament is currently ongoing, with 29 countries already on board and committed to the project.

Nick Holden

Co-Owner of ACGL, Esports and Game Commentary

My name is Nicholas Holden, owner of African Cyber Gaming (ACGL). With over 10 years of working experience in esport, Nick has gone from being a player to a commentator to a director of one of the biggest tournament operators on the continent. ACGL has a userbase of over 25,000 games across Sub-Saharan Africa and has won acclaimed awards such as the MTN App of the year award for the best gaming solution in 2018. 

Mark Candella

Director of Student and Education Programs, Twitch

Mark Candella leads the student programs at Twitch. The Twitch Student program was founded in early 2015 to foster sustainability and increase professionalism in esports by investing in education and students.

We have a strong focus on education in Emerging, New and Digital Media through the medium of esports and gaming. This is a global program that works with national tournament organisers, student bodies, educational institutions and industry leaders to help ensure that Community, Competition and Careers are nurtured and supported in high schools and universities to create a brighter future for everyone.

Dr. Ebrahim Patel

Commodities Strategist, Rand Merchant Bank

Dr. Ebrahim Patel is a commodities specialist for RMB, with an interesting viewpoint on the commodity potential that gaming offers.

Glenn Kisela

Creative Director & Columist, draftLine JNB & Critical Hit (Branded Gaming)

Currently working at DraftLine x ABInBev, Glenn Kisela is passionate about creative work, whether it be conceptual, design or photography.

With a big love of video games & technology, Glenn occasionally writes on these topics as well as shares his thoughts on the happenings of the industry. Most recently, his thought pieces on the gaming industry can be found on Critical Hit (formerly Lazygamer) or HuffPost SA.

Hardy Mcqueen

Founder + Publisher, Manger Manje

After studying Journalism at Rhodes University and training at the Culinary Academy (Cape Town) in 1997, Hardy has dedicated himself to demystifying and updating notions around Africa over the last 20 years.

 

In 2013 he set up SMORGASBORD, a food & innovation consultancy focuses on creating food solutions for clients. Services include menu development, restaurant processes re-engineering and brand building driven by latest trend research across the continent and the rest of the world.

Currently he is involved on developing actionable programs around, mobile food, fashion, beverages and music models for entrepreneurs around the continent. And creating AI like Kim Zulu (See below)

Kim Zulu

Virtual Influencer, Russian Fashion Week Model

She might not be skin and bone, but she is real. Look out internet!!! Kim Zulu is coming. Having recently been a model at Russian Fashion Week (within months of her creation), Kim Zulu proves that you don’t even need a body to be somebody.

Kevin Meltzer

CEO, Big5 Games

Kevin Meltzer is a successful entrepreneur who is on a mission to get Africa playing more games through growing the games and esports industry across the continent.

Kevin is co-founder and CEO of Big5 Games which is focussed on mobile games and esports across Africa. Kevin has deep experience in B2C and B2B businesses in Africa and the Middle East after founding three companies. His first startup Consology was acquired by the largest listed IT company in Africa after which Kevin went on to explore his passion for games.

Kevin is a regular speaker at technology and gaming events.

Lekoma

Head Client Services, Sea Monster Entertainment

Lekoma is the current head of client services at Sea Monster Before deciding to change direction and enroll at AFDA, he studied engineering and spent a year with the Nuclear Energy Corporation of SA After completing his postgraduate studies, he completed 24 commercials in just 18 months, thereafter joining the business development team at the Waterfront Studios Ngage division

Lebo joined Sea Monster as production manager before moving into his current role With more than 10 years’ experience in working with clients he is able to understand and translate their needs in order to deliver solutions, while balancing this against the needs of Sea Monster He has gained great levels of trust in developing solid business solutions for clients He has liaised with many of our well known clients and was heavily involved in managing projects for Metropolitan as well as championing Old Mutual’s Moneyversity since it’s inception

Luca Tucconi

National Gaming & Esports Specialist, Red Bull

Luca Tucconi has been deeply involved with esports since 2008. As an ex professional player and team Captain, Luca went on to form his own eSports company Button Bashers in 2013. 

Today, Luca is the National Gaming & Esports Specialist at Redbull. He is the  Creation and Execution of the National Gaming and Esports strategy, Driving and leading all Gaming & Esports projects within all Red Bull departments, Development of strategic partnerships, Creation and Execution of all Gaming & Esports events, and discovering new talent and potential athletes.

Mike Carter

CEO, RebelRebel

Made in London, married and father of 4 great kids...I have been fortunate enough to have worked with some of the most pioneering and inspirational people during my career…From being involved with one of the first agencies in London to embrace Apple and Scitex technology to F1 sponsorship acquisition proposals, Coca - Cola new product launches through to playing my role in building one of South Africa's biggest social networks, Mxit, which has had a string of successful high profile brand engagements. Social experiments have also been a by product with apps such Askmi and DemocraCITY generating huge social engagement…plenty more to come!

Sam Wright

Gaming Influencer, Esports Caster, Brand Ambassador

Creation of all content - original and brand linked across multiple social platforms. Developed the blog to become the premier technology blog for women in Southern Africa. Named one of Africa’s top 60 women in technology by GirlCode

Named one of South Africa’s female tastemakers for 2016 by Women24 - the female website of South Africa’s biggest online publishers.

Selected to co-host the Telkom DGL Masters with the world renowned Paul ‘ReDeYe’ Chaloner. Regularly appears on television and South African radio to share the Tech Girl story and give input on blogging.

Juan Mouton

Head of Marketing, Asus & Republic of Gamers, South Africa

As a hardware vendor that is in tune with the pulse of PC gamers needs and wants, ASUS is in sync with the industry. With the ASUS ROG brand, we take an active part in the global gaming community, helping develop the industry by sponsoring popular events such as PAX and Dreamhack.

Paul Collins

Director at Acer, and The Influence Academy

As a professional senior management leader in the ICT industry with over 20 years of varied experience, I am able to lead companies and teams in this complex and highly dynamic sector. In being in the business for so long I have witnessed the most disruptive technology revolutions such as client/server, Y2k and the advent of the Internet and I excitedly look forward to the most pervasively radical change to date, the “Internet of Things”.

The changing nature of the business in RSA today has called on my entrepreneurial nature many times and has resulted in many Industry and Personal awards.

Choolwe Elen Shabukali

Co-Founder and Managing Director , Team Gematrix Limited

Choolwe Shabukali is Co- Founder and Managing Director of Team Gematrix. Choolwe manages the players on the team and carries out day to day operations such as social media management, content creation, planning and business development.

Before starting an eSports startup, Choolwe was a student at the University of Lusaka and is still pursing her Bachelor of Science in Public Health. She also previous worked at DDB Iris Limited one of Zambia’s Top 5 Marketing agencies as an account manager.

Choolwe enjoys Videogames,Online gaming with friends, Linkin Park music, Documentaries & Research on mythology.

Nika Nour

Executive Director/Chief Strategy Officer (CSO), IGDA Foundation/Liminal Esports

Nika Nour is the executive director of the International Game Developers Association Foundation and the leading voice on diversity and inclusion in the video game industry. Nour also operates as the Chief Strategy Officer of Liminal esports and is an Informatics PhD student at the University California of Irvine. With more than a decade of experience working with Internet and video game companies on social and cultural impact, she collaborated on issue advocacy, coalitions, corporate social responsibility. As the former Head of Public Affairs for the Entertainment Software Association, she took a leading role in emphasizing the video game industry’s commitment to diversity and inclusion. In that capacity, Nika led public affairs messaging, gamer community outreach, and corporate social responsibility for the trade association, which included leveraging relationships with key policy leaders and government officials.

Yahaya Maikori

President/Founder/Partner, Esports Nigeria/Global Gaming Company Limited

Maikori started his legal career as the legal advisor to ASO Savings & Loans and later worked as the company's secretary for First Alliance Pension and Benefits. Maikori co-founded the record label Chocolate City in 2005, along with his brother Audu Maikori and business partner Paul Okeugo. Chocolate City has managed the careers of artists such as M.I, Femi Kuti, Ice Prince, DJ Caise, Pryse, Nosa, Victoria Kimani, Dice Ailes, Koker, Brymo and Jesse Jagz. Yahaya Maikori founded and became the Senior Partner of the law firm Law Allianz, which covers entertainment law.

As an entertainment lawyer, Maikori is on the entertainment committee of Nigerian Bar Association, the copyright law review committee of the Nigerian Copyright Commission, and is an alternate director in Nigeria's copyrights society.