My #DLD19 experience

By: Zibusiso Mtunzi, 3rd Year Student, Zimbabwe.


Last month, the African Leadership University presented an opportunity for 2 students to accompany our Founder, Mr. Fred Swaniker, to the DLD Conference in Munich. After submitting a blog post entry, I was one of the students selected to attend Europe’s hottest digital innovation conference. As someone who has always been passionate about digitally transforming Africa, I saw this exceptional opportunity as the first step to meeting and learning from like-minded people.

DLD stands for DigitalLife and Design, and this was evident throughout the entire conference — from the speakers and attendees to the marketing collateral. The connections made and insights gained from the conference have all contributed to my personal and professional growth. These tie in perfectly with my mission to redefine sustainable electricity (energy) production, whilst encouraging tourism and wildlife conservation. To find out more about my experience before, during, and after the conference, please check below.


20 December 2018. I was overjoyed and thrilled when I found out I was selected to accompany Mr. Fred Swaniker to the #DLD19 Conference in Munich, Germany.
18 January 2019. This was my first time traveling to Europe and experiencing temperatures below 10°C. All I could see from the plane was snow-covered houses and roads. I made sure I was well prepared for the weather by following a strict checklist before I left home (Zimbabwe). Nothing was going to distract me during this conference, not even the cold.
18 January 2019. I arrived in Germany on Friday, and since the conference was only starting the day after, I spent my Friday exploring the beautiful city of Munich. Although, I had fears that the language barrier would make my tourist experience a tad difficult. Most of the Münchners I came across were English-speaking and super friendly, ready to show me around. I had a great time playing tourist. One of the tourist attractions I visited was the BMW Headquarters. It was awesome to see all the crazy innovations and test out some of the cars later that weekend during the conference.
19 January 2019. Day 1 at #DLD19. Steffi Czerny, Founder of DLD, introduced the theme of this year’s DLD Conference as ‘Optimism and Courage’. I found this theme particularly striking and personal because optimism and courage are values I try to uphold in my daily life. I spent the last hours of the day with Fileille (my fellow student) and Mr. Fred Swaniker. I always look forward to spending time with Mr. Swaniker because the story of how he turned his dream into reality never gets old.
20 January 2019. Day 2 at #DLD19. The conference was attended by over 1000 people, all from different industries but interested in digitization. I got to meet several influential people, some of whom were fashion designers, Samuel Ross, and entrepreneur, Okendo Lewis-Gayle. As a young, ambitious college student, being in the midst of such brilliant people was mind-blowing. I have been in touch with some of the executives I got to meet, and I am hoping to intern in Europe over the summer and learn so much more.
21 January 2019. To say the least, Munich and DLD exceeded my wildest expectations. I can only hope for and work towards seizing more opportunities like this in the future. Till next time, Munich!

“We believe that unconventional thinking, combined with purposeful technology, can truly change outcomes in the world.” ~ Joanna Shields in her presentation about AI: The next revolution in Medicine. #DLD19

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