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Dr Sibongile Gumbi

Futurist Profile


Dr Sibongile Gumbi

Consultant:Smart Innovation

University of Cape Town, PhD
Rhodes University, MSc (Pharmacy)
Rhodes University, BPharm
IMD - Managing Technology Enterprises (Certificate)
UNISA/WIPO - Intellectual Property Law Specialisation (Certificate)

Sibongile answered a few questions about her 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?

Planning for tomorrow today

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

As a practitioner, 5 years. However, one is always planning for tomorrow whether structured or not.

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

South Africa predominantly

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

Creating a future that you may not exist in, yet has the potential for creating a better world for those who live in it.

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

Increased use of foresight approaches to plan beyond the usual 5 or 10 year time frames. Far reaching impact is better acheived in 20 years or even 50 years.

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

A visit to Finland and the COFISA programme

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

Main experience is in Biotechnology - animal, human health and industrial

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

Others describe me as… organised

I describe myself as… disciplined



What is one of your favourite quotes about the future?

“If you want to know your past, look into your present conditions. If you want to know your future, look into your present actions.” - A Chinese Proverb

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

A movement is required for futures thinking to penetrate all sectors of government and business and ultimately society as the beneficiaries.

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

Awareness and successful case studies

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?

The need for such skills in Africa is critical and the value that Africa gains from having this skill-set is significant.


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