Better Living Challenge


Getting to Know our Selection Panel: Songo Didiza

Jul 14, 2014

As part of an ongoing series, we will be interviewing members of our Selector Panel to get their views on the challenge and see what they’re looking for from the entries. We also hope to find out more about them and their own work…

Structural Home selector Songo Didiza is a management consultant. An ideal choice for the Better Living Challenge selection panel, she is passionate about the emerging African green economy and believes that innovation-driven solutions to our social and economic challenges will come from the communities and people of the African continent.

Songo has a degree in Economics Science from Wits University, where she majored in Mathematics and Economics, and is currently reading for her Masters in Sustainable Development and Renewable Energy at Stellenbosch University. Her key industry exposure includes advising on integrated strategies for large corporate and Fortune 500 companies, spanning the financial services, mining and energy sectors, and including the emerging renewable energy sector in South Africa. Songo is also involved in several startup initiatives within the consulting and renewable energy business service offerings sector. She participates in various leadership development organisations as a subject matter expert on sustainability and the broader green economy.

The Better Living Challenge interviewed Songo to gain some insight into her experience as a Selector on the BLC Selection Panel.

What sparked your interest in the Better Living Challenge?

It was Green Cape, and its role as the implementation agency for the green economy strategy in the Western Cape. I am also a “greenie” at heart. I always try to stick to sustainability principles.

 Why is the Better Living Challenge so valid?

I believe that green economy solutions should prioritize low income households as a primary response to the environmental crisis. The BLC speaks to this objective.

What are some of the exciting aspects of being part of the Selection Panel?

Being challenged by the other panelists – the Selection Panel is comprised of experts in their respective fields and I am looking to forward to learning from them.

 What skills are you having to call on in your role as BLC selector?

Business acumen, ecological design principles and strategic insight.

What would you like to see the Better Living Challenge achieve in the long run?

I hope this year’s outcome will form the base of a long line of innovative solutions to come. I also hope it will start to probe societal perceptions of alternative technologies.

What green product/s do you use in your own home?

I own very few electrical appliances and this definitely helps keep my energy costs (utility bills) down. Otherwise I don’t have any “green products”. I like to believe that I have a green process, i.e.  I walk to work, switch off my geyser, recycle, etc.