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Ontlametse Gaothuse

Futurist Profile


Ontlametse Gaothuse

Forecasting & Planning

Principal, Research, Science and Technology Officer: Department of Research, Science and Technology, Botswana

Education: MSc. Management Science & Engineering

Ontlametse 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 a Futures thinker I strive to look for alternative ways or options to the continuous challenges. I do this by applying the Futures methodologies to policy and strategy design. The diversity of the human race is what defines our individual freedoms.

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

I have been working as a Futures thinker for 7 years.

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

My experience spans from participating in trainings in the United States of America, Institute for the Future. South Korea and Botswana.

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

The language used is English language and Setswana.

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

Many times, our lives or actions are based on conformity. Very little deviations from the established is tolerated. What motivates me is breaking the barriers of Africa’s colonial paths in or to find the African way.

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

The ultimate goal is to embrace diversity of thoughts and infusion of alternative options to drive multiple scenarios. And most importantly to seek solutions to challenges of daily lives.

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

Technology as a driver of economy of countries is pushing society away from our cultures to a European culture. How about technology driving the Botswana culture or African cultures.

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

My training is on Technology Management.

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

Others describe me as… focused

I describe myself as… agile



What is one of your favourite quotes about the future?

“The world is yours…” - Scarface

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

I think Africa we are not deliberate in thinking about the future. The Future of Africa belongs to Europe and Americans. Conferences about African Futures are even held in European countries. Many countries have Vision but very few Futures strategy and the vision remains elusive.

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

The mandate of Institutions is not Futures focused. It is driving the now and financial challenges of the present. Very little time is spent on thinking about what the future looks like if we take this route or do nothing.

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?

I think the best way is to read African history and literature novels. Progress to getting a formal training in Futures thinking in any institution. It is a lonely path because very few people are thinking about the future in a formal setting in Africa. E.g. ‘The Future of Fun’ we all want to make money and have fun but, what is ‘Fun’ in the African way?

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

African Futures book is a good place to start to introduce concepts.

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

As a IFTF Alumni I would recommend visiting the website as it will open doors to practitioners across the global space. Foresight for Development will give you a good eye of the developments in Africa.


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