Meet our Judges!

Derek Watts

Derek has been anchor and presenter of M-Net’s award winning investigative program Carte Blanche for 28 years.  He was the first sport anchor on television news and then moved to start Top Sport.


  • 2004\05\06\07 Crystal Award – Voted as Best Male TV Presenter in South Africa
  • SAB Environmental journalist of the year
  • Star tonight: Best Actuality reporter
  • Star Tonight: Best sports Presenter
  • Rotary Paul Harris award

Twitter: @DerekWatts

Toby Shapshak

Toby Shapshak is editor-in-chief and publisher of Stuff, a contributor to Forbes and a columnist for the Financial Mail. His TED talk on innovation in Africa has over 1,4-million views; and he has written for CNNThe Guardian in London. He was named in GQ’s top 30 men in media and the Mail & Guardian newspaper’s 300 influential young South Africans.

Twitter: @shapshak |shapshak.com

Nafisa Akabor

Nafisa Akabor is a freelance technology journalist and blogger. For more than nine years, she has been an influential voice in consumer and business technology across print and online. She has written for some of South Africa’s top publications like TechCentral, Forbes Woman Africa, ITWeb, Marie Claire, Sawubona, and Destiny magazine. Akabor is also a judge at the MTN Business App of the Year Awards.

Twitter: @nafisa1 | http://www.nafisa.co.za/

Stephanie Cowper

Stephanie Cowper is 25 years old and is passionate about technology & social upliftment! She’s fortunate to have studied in South Africa as well as in Hong Kong & the USA. Stephanie works as a Junior Business Architect at Dimension Data Global Head Office, and in her spare time runs a tech startup called BeSpecular. The BeSpecular app launched on 1 July and is available in the USA, Canada, UK, Ireland, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. BeSpecular connects sighted volunteers to blind & deaf-blind users around the world. It’s a fun and convenient way for sighted people to do something meaningful. The app enables blind and deaf-blind people to lead more independent lives while simultaneously interacting and educating sighted people.

Twitter: @StephCowper_SA

Ideshini Naidoo

Ideshini Naidoo, the Chief Customer Experience Officer of MTN South Africa and former Barclays Africa Head of Corporate Electronic Channels, was responsible for both Online and Host channels for wholesale customers across Africa. Previously, she was CIO for FNB Online Banking and then for FNB Corporate Banking, responsible for building FNB’s market beating open-source electronic banking platform.

Her tech career has spanned building a PKI switch for one of only two top 100 eCommerce companies to survive the .com bust to programming the first digital X-Ray machine able to scan an adult in under 13 seconds with radiation dosage lower than a domestic flight.

Benjamin Marais (Keynote Speaker)

Marais has a wealth of experience in the banking, health and digital space. A qualified engineer with a BEng, Electronic Engineering qualification from the University of Pretoria.

Marais has participated in numerous IT projects in Africa, Europe, APAC and America throughout his career. He played a key role in bringing PayPal to South Africa; an eBucks/FNB initiative and successfully delivered the Discovery Vitality platform in the USA, Asia and China

MTN has appointed Benjamin Marais as its new CIO, effective 1 March. Marais joins MTN from Discovery Health, where he has worked as CIO of Vitality and Card Systems since 2011.

Twitter: @benjaminmarais