Coming out of the sessions, I had goosebumps. This was people coming together to solve really complex problems, and it gave me tons of new ideas for potential solutions in my local community.” says Phenyo Mogamisi. What he is describing is his experience from having participated the first-ever World of Wisdom gathering in August 2020.
Phenyo is a South African entrepreneur and changemaker, serving on many investee boards within mining, water management, tourism, and infrastructure development around the African continent. He is passionate about creating a more sustainable Africa, which to him partly means exploring new solutions in the region’s important, yet environmentally complicated, mining industry. He also works to allow the creativity of African arts and culture to reach a global audience, as well as to bring the wisdom of local indigenous traditions into sustainability innovation projects. **He was involved in the Absolut 2017 Gold Canne Film Award winning Afrofuturistic campaign, One Source lead by Khuli Chana.**
One example close to Phenyo’s heart is a **waste water recycling project. It makes use of Hyacinth plants growing naturally on waste in local dams into agricultural compost saving millions of litres of water while preserving the underwater life & the environment. The plant also has capability to create bio-energy, turning the waste into electricity.** It was to share such local projects with others around the world, and to connect and find new ideas, that Phenyo felt called to join the sprouting World of Wisdom community.
In the middle of a global pandemic, more than 600 people from 44 countries came together at World of Wisdom to explore a new way to tackle personal, local and global challenges. Hosted partly in a limestone quarry on the Swedish Island of Gotland, and partly online as a global Covid-safe gathering. Phenyo was one of the online participants, joining from his home in South Africa.
“This is an emerging network of people sharing the same principles of doing good in the world through collaboration and stewardship. Together we’re forming a bridge across borders and sectors to explore common challenges, new solutions and collective empowerment for building a new planet- and people-centric ecosystem,” he explains.
World of Wisdom acts as a community platform for open and playful co-creation around today’s most pressing challenges. Designed around ten simple guiding principles for how to come together, explore and create, it allows anyone in the world to set up their own gathering anywhere in the world.
The World of Wisdom August gathering marked the launch of this decentralised open-source concept, and more gatherings are now emerging through the growing community. The first gathering hosted a mix of co-creators, ranging from indigenous elders and meditation facilitators, to leading water scientists and sustainability experts from companies such as Tesla and Patagonia. The Absolut Company joined the co-exploration by hosting an online bar for participants to learn about sustainable bartending, while enjoying informal conversations around the future we seek to create. The SustainaBar was broadcasted from Stockholm, with bartenders Jakob Sundin and Joel Katzenstein guiding participants from all over the world in how to make more sustainable cocktails. The SustainaBar session was one of more than 100 sessions created by the participants during the six days of the gathering, some of which where recorded and can now be enjoyed on YouTube.
After this first gathering, the World of Wisdom community is openly inviting anyone to create their own gatherings and connect them into a global network. Phenyo Mogamisi is one of the first to accept that invitation, as he is now planning World of Wisdom South Africa.
“We’re now setting up WoW Africa with the intention plant this seed on the African continent. The idea is to explore the unique challenges and opportunities we have here, and mix our modern industries and cultures with our indigenous heritage. It will be a creative gathering, exploring the future of the mining industry as well as our local arts and traditions, in an attempt to co-create a common path forward for this region and the world.” he explains.
Phenyo believes that connecting and co-creating with like-minded changemakers from around the world, is one of the most important aspects of his work, moving forward. As humanity’s challenges increasingly affect more people around the world, more people around the world must come together to explore new solutions. Phenyo Mogamisi is one of those changemakers, connecting the dots and exploring the ideas that may bring us a brighter future.