7 digital conferences to attend in South Africa in 2018


If you’re anything like me, a person who plans and makes lists for everything, you will probably appreciate that I lock important events into my diary long before tickets to the best digital conferences are sold out.

Each year I research upcoming conferences, networking events and expos that relate to my job as a digital transformation consultant. The problem is, there are dozens to choose from and some of them don’t always live up to expectations.

Don’t fret though. Here is my curated list of industry events with a short breakdown of what you can expect from each. If conference budgets are tight, don’t worry – I also included webinars and free events to help you choose what’s right for you.

Digital transformation

Chief Digital Officer Africa conference

Details: 5-7 March, Johannesburg

The Chief Digital Officer Africa conference has serious pulling power. The line up of speakers impresses (heavy weights from the insurance, banking and telecommunications world) and the topics are usually very forward-looking – ideal for those tasked to shape and drive their organisations’ digital transformation agenda.

If you want more practical discussions, then I suggest you break off into a Stream Session which is a small-group discussion and networking opportunity.

eCommerce Money Africa expo and conference

Details: 14-15 March, Cape Town

This year’s #ECMA18 is going to be big. It covers a broad range of topics related to digital, tech, commerce, fintech and more, delivered by an impressive mix of industry experts and entrepreneurs across a wide spectrum of industries. The event is so big that it has two dedicated conference streams: eCommerce and MoneyAfrica as well as an expo floor with scheduled masterclasses, tech demo sessions and talks.

There is no way you can get to all of the presentations and discussions, so plan ahead and pick your most valuable talks to attend over the two-day event.

Mondato Summit Africa

Details: 17-18 April, Johannesburg

If I have to pick only one event to attend this year, the Fifth Annual Digital Finance & Commerce Executive Conference is it. I haven’t attending it in the past, but the agenda stands out from all the other conferences and you’re not likely to encounter a topic here that you’ve already seen or heard at one of the other events on the circuit.

Instead of unpacking digital transformation as a topic itself, the event goes straight to work on topics that CDTO’s, CIO’s and other C-level executives with digital KPI’s are already grappling with, such as digital finance, e-commerce, fintech innovation, financial inclusion, data, markets and competitive environments.

Expect a good mix of exhibition and demos, expert presentations and panel discussions.

Digital Transformation Congress

Details: 26 July, Johannesburg

If digital marketing insights is what you’re looking for, you can skip this one. This one focuses on senior executives tasked with digital transformation from a technology, organisational development and policy perspective. It’s likely to attract mega corporates and public sector if the speakers list is anything to go by.

Customer experience

Digital Customer Engagement & KYC conference

Details: 7-8 March, Johannesburg

The Digital Customer Engagement & KYC conference’s name says it all: it looks at the convergence between digital technologies and customer environments. It promises to be sharing both strategic insights as well as practical advice and discussion.

I haven’t attended this conference before but am considering it because there aren’t a lot of conferences out there that focus on both digital and customer disciplines yet.


Township Shopper Marketing Summit

Details: 10-11 May, Johannesburg

The Township Shopper Marketing Summit will engage brands on various topics and buyer groups that are often misunderstood or under estimated, such as Black Twitter, black business women, the power of music in township gettogethers and the rise of Kasi traditional foods. To my knowledge, this is a one-of-a-kind event.

Though this event doesn’t focus on digital marketing, I do think this is a great opportunity for agencies and brands to educate themselves on this market segment when planning digital marketing and product development with them in mind.

DigiMarCon Africa 2018

Details: 8-9 November, Johannesburg

The Digital Marketing Conference Africa 2018 (aka DigiMarCon) is the African leg of the global DigiMarCon events that take place across the USA, Australia, England, Singapore, Dubai and South Africa. It hasn’t released its agenda or speakers list yet, but expect leading marketers, agencies, brands, publishers and developers on the circuit.

Expect a mega event with loads of networking opportunities, shoulder-rubbing with industry peers at keynotes and learning from the experts’ stories.

Added bonus: the website provides you with a “ROI letter” template you can use to get your manager’s approval to attend the event. It’s a bit cheesy, but it’s a nice value add.

Free PROSCI Webinars

The PROSCI website is a great source of information for change management practitioners and their regular live webinars are worth a watch. They’re often scheduled for North American diaries though, so if you miss a webinar, don’t worry because they archive them and you can replay the webinar and download the slides.

Topics they’ve recently covered include How to Manage Resistance to Change; How to Engage your Sponsors; and How to Leverage the Project Change Triangle.

If you have any events you’d like me to know about, I would love to hear from you.

Disclosure: Ika van Wyk is head of Creative Spark’s digital transformation division. Creative Spark is the owner of Memeburn.

Feature image: Mikael Kristenson via Unsplash



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