Principal, Dalberg Advisors

Mokena Makeka

Mokena Makeka is a Principal in Dalberg Advisors. He is a South African raised in Maseru, Lesotho and New York, USA and is an accomplished architect, artist, creative, curator, global leader, scholar, speaker, urbanist.

He holds a B.Arch Dist. Hons, ( Magna Cum Laude) University of Cape Town (UCT), and various executive leadership qualifications, from the Harvard Kennedy School, Oxford University and others.

He is currently the Azrieli Visiting Critic of 2020, Carleton University School of architecture and urbanism- Canada, Adjunct Professor Cooper Union- New York, and is a Board member of the South African Green Building Council and is a board member of the Cape Town Central City Improvement district.He is a Young Global leader at the World Economic Forum 2015 and is a member of the WCS Young leaders in urbanism. (Singapore). He is an Aspen Fellow in leadership 2020. He is at the forefront of thinking on contemporary inclusive African Cities, and is focused on ecological and socio-economic justice.

Mokena Makeka is one the 40 cultural leaders of WEF17, Davos/Klosters alongside such luminaries as Shakira and Forest Whitaker, recognised for speaking truth to power and seeking to change the world for better. A sought-after speaker and thought leader on African cities, design, social and spatial practices, and demographic change. He is also the founder of the House of Makeka, a premium lifestyle suite of design and product experiences working to change the world through smart and exquisite/inclusive design.

He is a respected expert on Transit Oriented Interchanges, as well as being the lead architect and visionary for the reimagination of Cape Town station 2010, as well as Cape Town 2030. He has led numerous strategic infrastructure processes, and has led interdisciplinary teams for two decades. He was worked intimately with IPMS and later PRASA as a leading consultant from 2005 to 2015 on rail and public realm infrastructure. He has worked with the city of Cape Town and the provincial government of the Western Cape on various transit-oriented development projects as far back as 2002. He brings strong technical and leadership in public transport/ rail interfaces and deep experience in corporate governance and technical oversight.

He is committed to social transformation and cities of spatial and ecological justice. He is particularly concerned about the positive role that stations and rail can play in economic justice.

He has led and worked on various and complex construction projects, and advised and worked on projects in Lesotho, Madagascar, Tanzania, South Africa and China, including the Cape Town station project 2007-2016, Cape Town International Convention Center 2017, Silo district VA & Waterfront 2017, as well curated international exhibits, the most recent being the Africa@work exhibit at the Africa Center on Fifth Avenue, New York.

Amongst various architecture and urban design awards and recognition in design competitions, career highlights include being selected as one of the Ordos 100 architects by Hertzog & De Meuron and Ai Wei Wei. Mokena has served as a member of the World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council for Design. He has also served as an advisor to the South African Minister of Human settlements. He also served on the national committee for arts and culture for the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

Mokena has extensive experience of chairing, founding and serving on boards across the creative sector and built environment and some of these roles include the South African Heritage Agency, the Cultural and Creative Industries Federation of South Africa, Cape Town Heritage Trust, the Isandla Institute (ex-chairman of the board) and Bush Radio Station. (ex-chairman of the board), Cape Africa Platform (ex-chairman of the board). He served as national strategic advisor to the Minister of Human Settlements, South Africa, and on the national council for arts and culture.

He led the international award winning architectural and urban planning firm Makeka DesignLab/Works. Mokena offers high-quality design and strategic insight, innovative design solutions and mentorship across various disciplines.

Mokena brings strong leadership experience, innovative mindset, rapid analysis, exceptionally strong communication skills and experienced problem-solving acumen, ability to work under pressure to any role he takes on. He is fully familiar with organizational oversight and corporate governance, having undertaken research engagements and change management projects at governance level. He is highly skilled in a wide range of topics, including project strategy, portfolio assessments, creative economy education and policy, report writing, strategic review, and architecture design.

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