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Khumo Theko

Futurist Profile


Khumo Theko

Trend Spotter: I See Africa

BA in fashion design with Trend Analysis as one of my main subjects.

Khumo 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?

I unpack the innovations, changes taking place in the creative or knowledge industries in Africa. The aim for this is to inform the everyday person, businesses and researchers on the opportunities, challenges and solutions occurring in the continent.

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

In terms of researching it has been close to 4 years, the online platform where we distribute some of the findings has been active for a year.

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

Currently it is in South Africa as we are still starting out, the aim is to touch various parts of the continent.

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

Thus far in English

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

I truly believe that there is a lot we as Africans can learn from each other. The ability to inform people about what’s happening in their region or country provides one with options, sparks ideas to challenges they face.

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

My aim is to create an organisation that is one of the go to places with regards to information on what is occurring in the creative and knowledge economy in Africa. I want to be part of the people talking to decision makers, heads of state, AU delegates and advising them on how best to create solutions to provide better options for Africans.

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

My former lecturer Elizebeth Croser, encouraged me to look at trends beyond the glits and glamour and to recognise the impact they play in various industries. She also encouraged me to be the solution or find the solution to the opportunities I was seeing.

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

I have a BA in fashion design with Trend Analysis as one of my main subjects.

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

Others describe me as ambitions

I describe myself as a learner.



What is one of your favourite quotes about the future?

“The future belongs to those that create it today” – Martin Luther King.

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

It’s a boiling pot of young innovators, thinkers and creative solutionists. Given the correct guidance and opportunity Africa could receive a good serving of positive change. If not handled with deliberate direction the continents youth will be a challenge to cope with.

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

Institutions tend to encourage the call for global change makers, so they naturally look at what the world is doing and find comfort in futurist’s insights from countries abroad. However if they were to promote creating African solutions that would positively impact the world there would be a much greater appreciation for African futurists knowledge as much of this information is not easily available nor promoted.

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?

Find a topic, theme, concept that you want to promote, change or bring attention to and run with it. The more research, conversation and writing we have about what is happening and going to happening in Africa the better options we will be able to create.

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

Don’t know about future resources but these are some sites I go to ,that tend to direct my research.



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