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A diverse and exciting range of thought leaders and free thinkers will share their thoughts, knowledge and experiences in the technology space at the sixth edition of the Social Media Week to be held in Johannesburg from Monday September 22.

The event is hosted by the City of Johannesburg in partnership with Joburg-based digital media agency - Digisense, to inspire change, encourage new ideas and celebrate innovation, from 22 to 26 September.

The five-day event, to be staged at the Wits Theatre in Braamfontein, has its roots in New York, where a group of techno-savvy social entrepreneurs gathered in 2009 to put the spotlight on technological innovation. Last year, Lagos, the Nigerian capital, became the first African city to host the event.

Johannesburg is the second African city to do so. A week’s pass costs R750.

Several out-of-the-box thinkers will present papers on how to harness the social media – with its boundless benefits – and use it as an effective tool in business, technology, mainstream media and education.

Ninety-seven social media specialists have been included in the week-long programme of presentations, discussions, workshops, viewing sessions and transcontinental debates on all things digital and innovative.

They include Khaya Dlanga, a writer, columnist and communications manager at Coca-Cola South Africa, who is expected to speak about how technology has transformed the sociopolitical landscape locally and globally.

William Mzimba, who has been leading Accenture for the past eight years, will talk about how to develop and implement business strategies and operational transformation through technology.

Editor-in-Chief of Hair Dairies, Kavuli Nyali-Binase, who is South Africa’s top hair blogger and natural hair guru, will not have members of the audience pulling out their hair during her presentation.

Another top-notch speaker will be Franklin Ozekhome, founder of TINK (Trends + Intelligence Network), a consumer insights company focusing on providing trends research, consumer intelligence and cultural mapping for forward-thinking organisations looking to position their brands in the African market.

US-based entrepreneur Kisha Mays’ primary focus is on helping to develop more multimillion dollar global female-owned businesses through her company, Just Fearless. She is expected to ignite a spark of entrepreneurship in her talk.

Mays recently released her book, “From Failure to Fearless: Still Completely Flawed BUT Thriving Fearlessly”, to rave reviews on Amazon.com.

Another specialist in the line-up is Wits University lecturer Professor Barry Dwolatzky, who has been a major player in setting up the Johannesburg Centre for Software Engineering at the university and the “TechInBraam” initiative, a digital technology cluster in Braamfontein.

Andile Mbete – a strategic analyst, researcher and youth culture “enthusiast” – will share his insight into the African youth market through his work for consumer collaboration agency Instant Grass.

Alan Knott-Craig Jr, CEO and founder of Project Isizwe, is another specialist who will address the gathering.  Knott-Craig Jr is former CEO of Cellfind, iBurst, World of Avatar and Mxit. Between 2003 and 2012, he co-founded and/or funded 17 companies, including the Daily Maverick, ARC Telecoms, Pondering Panda, MorMor Media and Boom.fm.

Anne Githuku-Shongwe – founder of Afroes, which has created niche digital education solutions to revolutionise learning in Africa – will share her experiences in this field.

Social commentator, writer, book reviewer, photographer and Afrika Read chairman Victor Dlamini, who has been in the communications and media space for over two decades, is expected to discuss how technology has aided and abetted techno-savvy communicators.