One of my favorite memories of 2017 is being part of ESSENCE Festival Durban. I've attended and worked at ESSENCE Festival in New Orleans in previous years but ESSENCE Festival in Africa is something of a dream. When I found out that the festival was coming to Durban, South Africa I knew I had to be a part of it. In 2016, I reached out to whoever I could about contributing and found an opportunity to be part of the Global Beauty Consortium where we hosted hair and beauty executives from the US during the festival. Seeing it up close gave me the desire to play a bigger role in adding value for the next edition.
This year I was tasked with designing a Tech Zone experience at ESSENCE Festival Durban. After recruiting the assistance of She Leads Africa, we facilitated discussions around how technology plays a role in a variety of industries and disciplines including Tech and Tourism, How Tech Influences the Beauty Industry, How Tech and Government Can Collaborate, Tech Meets Culture, and How Young Africans Consume Digital Media. She Leads Africa also added value through Digital Skills Seminars that ran during the panel discussions and presentations along with creating our Tech Zone @ ESSENCE Festival Durban Splash Page. We were fortunate to include business professionals from CISCO, Kwese, Uber South Africa, and Zoona, to name a few. ESSENCE President Michelle Ebanks and Editor-In-Chief of ESSENCE Magazine Vanessa K. De Luca came by to view our activation.
In addition, I was utilized to moderate a few panel discussions at Center Stage around Youth Empowerment through Social Entrepreneurship and Education. The experience was rewarding one and helped me build skills and relationships while providing value for the ESSENCE Festival platform on an international stage. I hope as it grows it will attract more support globally. If you have a passport, this is definitely something you do not want to miss.
Check out some photos from ESSENCE Festival Durban 2017 (mostly Tech Zone) below and let me know whether or not you would visit South Africa for ESSENCE Festival Durban! (Comment below)