It could be taken to be a marketing gimmick, certainly one that works. Take a high profile personality and make him the face of your event and that will surely guarantee success. In a way, the SOAR Africa Leadership Summit seems to have hit the jackpot in this regard with megachurch pastor Bishop T.D. Jakes.
T.D. Jakes, the founder and senior pastor of The Potter’s House, a non-denominational megachurch in the US, has been the centerpoint of the inaugural Africa Leadership Summit. When he jetted into Kenya, the pastor cum businessman was received with much fanfare.
But why not? T.D. Jakes is one highly listened to speakers on the planet. His sermons are widely shared and his books recommended in droves. He carries a force of personality which certainly would not leave many surprised that all the hype over the African Leadership Summit seems to center around him.
What it does do, however, is to leave his fellow speakers lingering in the shadows, eclipsed by the cult-like following of T.D. Jakes.
The Africa Leadership Summit, which will run on September 5 and 6, is scheduled to also feature Strive Masiyiwa, Africa’s eighth richest man who is worth approximately Ksh237 billion.
Founder of telco giant Econet, Masiyiwa should also possess an almost similar status especially as he is the highest profile African speaking at the summit. However, his light seems somewhat dimmed by that of T.D. Jakes. It may be understandable, and it remains to be seen whether Strive will receive the same sort of fanfare welcome that the US megachurch pastor did.
Also on the speaker’s list is Nunu Ntshingilia, Head of Facebook Africa as well as Joshua Oigara, the chief executive of KCB Group, one of the sponsors of the summit.
Other speakers for the summit that has registration fees for as low as Ksh15,000 to highs of Ksh75,000 include Supreme Court Justice Njoki Ndung’u, executive nomad Polycarp Igathe and business mogul Darshan Chandaria are also set to feature at the summit in some capacity or another.
SOAR Africa Leadership Summit
The summit’s vision is to congregate Africa’s top corporate, social and political leaders to address their most pressing challenges and how to fix them.
In a statement in August, SOAR Africa director Joy Wachira said, “SOAR Africa creates a space where we champion the right leadership ingredients, share learning, transfer knowledge and mentorship, and this is because we believe that only by pulling together will we ensure no one is left behind.”
The leadership event will be held at the indoor arena of the Moi International Sports Center, Kasarani. It also features a fireside chat dinner with Bishop Jakes and Masiyiwa, as well as a full day summit.
Eligibility for the dinner fireside chat will cost attendees Ksh75,000 for a V.V.I.P ticket, slots which according to the event organisers have already been sold out.