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Tesfaye Fentaw Nigatu

Future Thinker Profile


Tesfaye Fentaw Nigatu

Instructor/Lecturer: Bule Hora University

Masters of Arts (MA) in Tourism and Heritage Management


Tesfaye 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?

Social theorist (especially on social contract, social capital (network, trust) and social responsibility theory). I strongly like taking responsibility for the human condition as it is paramount for human development.

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

Since I was a student in preparatory and university degree I liked to engage in civic participation and reach out to the needs of human beings in every aspect of life, and as much as possible.

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

I started out in Ethiopia as the motherland and the center of African Union (AU). When I serve Ethiopia, I serve all Africans in every aspect of African development.

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

English and Amharic.

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

The motive revolves around the issues of dilemmas for the African development, including lack of trust in politics, personal life and at local level (not inherited but maladapted through time, because we Ethiopians, in particular African, are in generally known for our hospitality and respect for one another). In addition the downward development of social capital and lack of strong networks in every aspect are the African development trap. So, I want to work on these development traps of Africans.

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

I want to use Marcus Garvey’s words to illustrate how he influenced me: “History is the land-mark by which we are directed into the course of life. The history of a movement, the history of a nation, the history of a race is the guide post of that movement’s destiny, that nation’s destiny, that race’s destiny.” And, “Ambition is the desire to go forward and improve one’s condition. It is a burning flame that lights the life of the individual and makes him see himself in another state. To be ambitious is to be great in mind and soul.” These two are my inspirational quotes. That is why his philosophy, “African for Africans” influenced and made me an enthusiastic.
Emperor Twodros II of Ethiopia: His innovativeness and ambitions to make Ethiopia a great nation.
A lot of local/country leaders who never get any attention but contributed a lot to the freedom of their peoples through African example, eg. the war generals at the battle of Adwa.

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

Before my university education I had a kin interest in civic participation, cooperation and other societal concerns. At university I studied History and Heritage Management and strongly committed my time to social theory and identity usage. From that viewpoint I worked on the social theory concepts in the development of history and heritage conservation, including the development of tourism as one development means for the Ethiopian economy. Sustainable development of humanity is my ultimate goal. Connecting current development paradigm with that of the ancient is the reason why I studied Masters in Tourism and Heritage Management.

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

Many others describe me as to “live for others and want to solve someone’s problem.”
I describe myself as “a social problem-oriented man and future sustainable development orator.”



What is one of your favourite quotes about the future?

“We need more light about each other. Light creates understanding, understanding creates love, and love creates patience and patience creates unity.” - Malcolm X

“Humans have come into being for the sake of each other, so either teach them, or learn to bear them.” - Marcus Aurelius

“Any woman who understands the problems of running a home will be nearer to understanding the problems of running a country.” - Margaret Thatcher

“The greatness of man is not in how much wealth he acquires, but in his integrity and his ability to affect those around him positively.” - Bob Marley

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

If we cooperate with each other regarding the African resources which could be used for the development agenda for all of the peoples. In order for that to happen, I think we should take responsibility and re-think again on our historical background and social development background for the creation of a futurist continent, by seeing internally, not nostalgic, the foreigners ideology. “Back to homeland with mental well-being not only physical return.”

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

We have faced many challenges like good governance, political security rather than human security, downward development of trust among organization/government/ peoples, irresponsible business practices, especially by national and multinational companies, and local civil wars. The best solution for all this is the development of civil service organizations, the creation of public/private partnerships, the development of corporate social responsibility practices, and the development of indigenous innovation hallmarks.

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?

First consider to invest in you first, then African foresight will get the cram of life from you for the benefit of all humanities. Take responsibility for your work as a student or as a worker.

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

  • Milkias, Paulos and Metaferia, Getachew. (Eds). The Battle of Adawa: Reflections on Ethiopia’s Historic Victory against European Colonialism.
  • Muchie, Mammo. (Prof). Contrition Of Work From Different Historians And Political Scientists and other works written by the author on Adawa and Ethiopianism.
  • Collier, Paul. The Bottom Billion: Why the Poorest Countries are Failing and What
  • Woolcock, M. and Deepa Narayan. Social Capital: Implications for Development Theory, Research, and Policy.
  • Garvey, Amy Jacques. The Philosophy and Opinions of Marcus Garvey. United States: The Majority Press, 1986. Print.
  • Garvey, Amy Jacques. “African Fundamentalism”. The Negro World. 1925.
  • Samuel M. Makinda And Wafula Okumu. The African Union Challenges of Globalization, Security, and Governance.

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?


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