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Serge Ntamack

Futurist Profile


Serge Ntamack

Researcher: South African Chair of Development Planning and Modelling

Sculptor and Author: Works of art


Currently undertaking a PhD in Town and regional planning at the University of Witwatersrand
Master in International Studies




A Scriptural Sculpture of Knowledges

This book is a scriptural sculpture of how the physical dimensions of the earth - built and natural - and antecedents of history structure knowledges and the physical containers - human and non-human ñ that embody those knowledges. The book deals with universalisms grounded on African experiences and perspectives. A key theme is how (in)security relates to knowledge creation by drawing a parallel between the proliferation of violent conflict in Africa and the marginal position that the continent occupies in the modern formation of knowledge. Also explored is the concept of creativity in relation to art and politics, as experienced by the black African elite. Bottlenecks to African creativity and the role of space and history in the production and reproduction of knowledge and ways of knowing are critically reviewed. The author makes a case for the existence of irreducible forms of knowledge existing in distinct laboratories and traces how particular biological and environment features interact with human cognition to form what passes for knowledge. He interrogates the variety of environment cognition in the light of an increasing homogenization of human cognition globally with a particular accent on climate change. This is a bold and legitimate voice on an important conversation. Buy this book in print

Read more about Serge and his view on being a futurist


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 would like to believe that I am both a thinker and practitioner. Just like, the woman and or man in the African street, I think and practice. If there is something different in my thinking and practice, it will be the amount of time that I spend teasing out what the unknown hold as possibilities for a better life in common.

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

I don’t know- the bulk of it has been informal.

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

I lived, studied and work in Cameroon, Norway and South Africa. I see life as a project in which what is seen as the future, present and past gather to create a presence. I have tried to be present in all of the above countries depending on their contexts.

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

English, French, sculpture, drawings, and paintings

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

I am not comfortable with life as it is given to me. It seems to me that there is something else (something better), and I believe that it is worthy to try to find it or simply make it come into being.

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

To say that it is possible not only for me, but for you as well. So, you need to nurture your “faith” by allowing it to be tested with deception and risks. Because it may be the place where dwell the seeds of hope that the unknown kept for you in the present, as a way of suggesting you to carry them in the future as achievements.

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

My late father, Esseba Abefenie Onesime.

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

Political science

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

Others describe me as… “strange”

I describe myself as… I don’t have a description of myself in the light of words. Because I always change. And what remains the same is the integrity of the “I” who inspires what is spoken through me.



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

It is most about fragments of our own past or versions of past histories of people from other continents.

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

The future, I mean the unknown could be the home for all type of fantasies because it holds no sense of security until it becomes past. As vision of the future, African institutions often defend and protect secured yet incremental version of past experiences to navigate through time and space. The barrier then maybe to re-invent human/non-human relationships with/in time and space also for the well being of the majority the people living in the African soil.

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 what drives you, and learn how to drive your life together with it. Depending on what you really want and what you are really about, you will find yourself already at your destination. If it is a new destination, you will have to learn how live there by refreshing and aligning your thinking and practices.

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

Don’t read, listen. Readings are voices. Make sure you know how to listen to yourself among other voices. Then you will find what you need to read. What you have to read, will find you.

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

Observe the environment around you, listen to what people talk about, and remember the future is often a version the past. But If you want to meet the unknown, then ground yourself firmly in the present and you will discover that the future maybe something more than what is already said, what you have already done. Once you know that, is up to you together with what drives you to start doing something else, something novel or simply to learn again how to conform to what has been already done and said-because you are no longer the same.



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