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Philani Hlophe Dhlamini

Futurist Profile


Philani Hlophe Dhlamini

African Youth Activist

Chief Coordinator: IGNITE THE YOUTH Africa

City, Country of origin / nationality: Bulawayo, Zimbabwe

BASS, Bachelor of Arts in Social Sciences (International Relations)

Philani answered a few questions about his perspective and on being a futures thinker.


You identify yourself as an African futures thinker or practitioner. How would you describe to the woman or man on the street what it is that you do in this regard?

As an African Youth Activist, my goal is to ignite the African youth with the flame of African Patriotism. I spend every day rallying young Africans to become African Patriots, because only those who are dedicated to Africa will carry her forward.

Ignite The Youth strives to encourage young Africans to consciously think towards the betterment of the continent. This is achieved through simple tools like dialogue, facilitated by online resources (including social platforms).

How many years have you worked as an African futures thinker / practitioner?

For 2 years, beginning in 2012.

In which countries or places have you had working experience as an African futures thinker / practitioner?

Kenya, Uganda and Zimbabwe

In what languages have you undertaken futures / foresight related work or research?


What is it that motivates you to work or participate in the foresight / future studies / related field

I have travelled to ten African countries so far and still counting. I have discovered that there is so much we have to learn from each other and even more to benefit from each other. I have also had the opportunity to see the potential a united Africa has. From what I have witnessed, a collective effort to carry Africa forward is a righteous endeavour!

What goal/s would you most like to reach with your work as an African futures thinker / practitioner?

I would like to grow IGNITE THE YOUTH into a network of millions of young Africans - all interacting and exchanging revolutionary ideas.

Who or what most influenced your thinking as a futures thinker / practitioner, and how?

This “idea” of an African Youth network came to mind whilst sitting in a Political Science Club debate at Makerere University, where I was intrigued by the ideas other students had for Africa.

I reached the conclusion, that the problems in Africa are many and complex, but how many people were actually thinking of solutions to such a crisis? I became interested in the Youth particularly. I saw that if all the African youth began contemplating how to deal with these problems, the next generation would change the fate of the continent. I further imagined the impact of debates, discussions, presentations and just interacting basically. It became clear that just talking about a situation can arouse new thinking, and peoples’ opinions and behaviour evolves. I imagined that if we as African youth could collaborate in a non-political manner with debates, public speeches etc. we would have an unimaginable impact.

What is your main disciplinary background? (i.e. your primary training / qualification)

Political Science and International Relations (BASS) - currently a student at Makerere University.

How do other people describe you and how do you describe yourself?

Others describe me as… Multi-talented
I describe myself as… Relentless



What is one of your favourite quotes about the future?

"Life is not hard - every difficulty you face is a circumstance you created"

How would you describe the state of African futures thinking right now?

A "think-tank" which is focussed on Africa and her future is rapidly developing.

What is, in your opinion, the main barrier to uptake of futures knowledge by African institutions and organisations?

The future belongs to the youth - however, most African institutions and organisations have mature aged members. The comprehension of futuristic thinking formulated by young Africans cannot be comprehended unless the Youth (who are 60 percent of the African population) take charge of the mandate of these institutions.

If you were to give advice to someone who wants a career in African foresight / future studies, what would you say to him or her?

They must travel and expose themselves to as many African countries as possible. This way, they will be able to embrace the true nature of the continent, comprehend it and bring valid ideas as a balanced individual.

What are your recommended readings for every African futures thinker / practitioner?

How Europe Underdeveloped Africa - Dr Walter Rodney

What are your recommendations for other favourite futures resources: websites, newsfeeds, mailing lists, associations, etc.?

IGNITE THE YOUTH - www.ityafrica.net


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