Toby Shapshak at TED Global in Edinburgh.

Toby Shapshak writes and speaks about how technology has fundamentally changed how we work and play, especially since the Covid-19 lockdown dramatically changed the world.

Toby is the editor-in-chief and publisher of Stuff Studios, but also a small business owner who has weathered the worse economic storm of this century.

He is a senior contributor to Forbes on innovation, and writes a weekly column for South Africa’s Financial Mail and Daily Maverick.

His passion for the last decade has been how innovation is better in Africa. His TED Global talk in 2013 on how Africa is solving real problems has had over 1,5-million views; and he has been featured in the New York Times.

He believes Africa is a mobile-driven continent, about which he has written for CNNThe Guardian in London, Quartz and for Forbes. He is writing a book on innovation in Africa, looking at how the problems Africa is solving for itself will benefit the rest of the world.

He has spoken at numerous conferences about innovation in Africa, including TED Global in Edinburgh. Toby has spoken four times at the South by South West (SxSW) conference in Austin, Texas; at Intel’s IDF conference in San Francisco; The Guardian newspaper’s Activate: Johannesburg; Germany’s Zukunftskongress (Future Congress), Sweden’s The Conference, AfricaCom in Cape Town, TEDxGateway in Mumbai, the GSMA’s Mobile 360 in Kigali, Pivot East in Nairobi, and Tech4Africa in Joburg.

Toby was named in GQ’s top 30 men in media and the Mail & Guardian newspaper’s 300 influential young South Africans list; and has won the ICT Journalist of the Year.

GQ said he “has become the most high-profile technology journalist in the country” while the M&G wrote: “Toby Shapshak is all things tech… he reigns supreme as the major talking head for everything and anything tech.”

As a news and political journalist, he ran Mail & Guardian newspaper’s website when it was the first news site in Africa, shadowed Nelson Mandela when he was president, and covered the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

He has interviewed a range of tech industry luminaries, including Bill Gates and Apple co-founders Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak.

Formerly a senior newspaper reporter covering everything from crime to politics, he has been writing about innovation, telecoms and the internet and the impact it has on our lives for more than 20 years, including the Sunday Times, Business Day, Mail & Guardian, Financial Mail, Daily Maverick, The Times, City Press, ThisDay, and The Weekender.

In this TED Global talk, Shapshak discusses how in Africa, necessity is the mother of innovation.

Shapshak is available for speaking events.

Contact: speak@shapshak.com

Awards & interviews


ICT Journalist of the Year – Bizcommunity

“Toby Shapshak, technology editor of the Mail & Guardian and contributing editor of GQ magazine, has been named the overall winner of the third annual Telkom Information and Communication Technology Journalist of the Year Awards.” [full story]

Geek speak – Mail & Guardian

“Toby Shapshak, winner of the Telkom ICT Journalist of the Year award, translates techno talk into digestible English”. [full story]

A neophyte by any other name – The Media

“Toby Shapshak is many things: techno junky, journalist and editor – mostly he’s just a really talented writer who knows stuff.” [pdf]

GQ’s Top 30 Men in Media

Toby was named a part of this prestigious group of people, alongside M&G founding editor Anton Harber, struggle stalwarts Tokyo Sexwale and Murphy Morobe, and former M&G owner Trevor Ncube.” [pdf]

Mail & Guardian influential young South Africans

“Toby Shapshak is all things tech. As the editor of Stuff magazine – a geek’s publication paradise that comes complete with scantily clad girls holding the latest must-have gadgets – he reigns supreme as the major talking head for everything and anything tech.”

“Shapshak regularly appears on CNBC Africa, writes a technology column for The Times and is a contributing editor for Business Day’s Wanted magazine. But this former contributing editor at GQ magazine is not all glamour and gadgets. He cut his teeth at Sapa, where he covered the Truth and Reconciliation Commission hearings. Still, Shapshak is a nerd at heart – he’s a known collector of Star Wars memorabilia and Nelson Mandela kitsch. Albeit the kind of nerd that runs the sexiest technology magazine on the market.” [full story]