Open Design Afrika Wetopia Academy

“Making Cities Together” in Cape Town

Open Design Afrika (ODA) proudly launched the first Wetopia Academy in October 2019 where a diverse pool of city makers and change makers united to collectively build new, inclusive, and more prosperous ecosystems that can benefit the greater good of our people.

Lack of empathy and an authentic connection and understanding of other cultures and people hinders collaboration, progress, and impact that’s needed to stimulate systemic change, social cohesion, and nation building so that people can unite to build more resilient and thriving communities and cities.

Conceptualized and curated by Joke Quintens and Suné Stassen from Open Design Afrika, the ODA Wetopia Academy is a learning program for active citizens, change-makers, and policymakers who are serious about creating real change.

Aligned with the longstanding ‘citizens education platform’ of Open Design Afrika Festival and in collaboration with a number of local and international field experts, city-makers, and change-makers, we are excited to take things to another level.

The first Wetopia Academy was launched in Cape Town, South Africa in October 2019 at the Open Design Afrika Festival.

ODA Wetopia Academy inspires policymakers, civil servants, citizens, social and cultural workers, and social entrepreneurs to be active change makers. By setting up new alliances and encouraging the making of new connections, ODA Wetopia aims to encourage active participation, develop responsible and responsive citizens, create sustainable collaborations, and build good governance.

This Open Design Afrika project is a yearlong program of events done in collaboration with Joke Quintens, the custodian of the “Wetopia” concept and former deputy mayor of Genk (Belgium), a policy-maker and field expert in making cities together. We are also very proud to be associated with the Robert Bosch Stiftung organization which was the first official sponsor of the ODA Wetopia Academy in 2019-2020.

ODA Wetopia Academy chapters:

  1. The Wetopia City and Community Activations and Interventions
  2. Wetopia Inspiration Days
  3. Wetopia Learning Programme for Policymakers

The ODA Wetopia launch in 2019 included the following events:

  1. Wetopia Community Activations and Interventions
  1. Wetopia Inspiration Days & Learning Programme:


The ODA Wetopia Academy is a yearlong program of events and activations

At the ODA Wetopia Academy, we collectively demonstrate, investigate and develop exciting experiences that stimulate different collaborations between policymakers (politicians, civil servants, community leaders, entrepreneurs, institutions…) and civil society (citizens, communities, artists, city makers,..). It’s about creating new opportunities where we can explore, learn, understand and design new ways to create democracy through collaboration and co-creation.

“Wetopia” magic happens when like-minded people from diverse backgrounds unite through significant experiences for a common goal and create real change as a united front. Throughout Wetopia experiences people also start to understand their different roles, own value and power and responsibility as active citizens to help build a better future that can benefit the greater good of our people

Wetopia events and activations consist of the following three pillars:


The ODA Wetopia city and community activations. * The G100 from Langa and the G100 from Kensington was the first participants. Using storytelling, song-making, and other creative tools, participants will gain key skills to help them shape a new community narrative. The questions they asked were: “What do you want the world to know about your community? What is your collective narrative to the world?” and “what community interventions can strengthen your new community narrative?”


The ODA Inspiration Day for all Wetopians are hosted at the ODA annual festival. *Be inspired, network, learn and share knowledge: Join inspiring city-makers, policy-makers, social designers, change makers, and civil society from Afrika and the rest of the world where they share inspirational projects that have already ignited significant change.


The ODA Wetopia Academy Learning Programme for policymakers is a handson, experiential “field” school where policymakers will learn how to become a real “Wetopian” and collaborate with civil society to make better cities together. The Learning Programme also includes a year-long commitment to collaborate with communities to execute and implement the interventions that were identified at the Wetopia workshops.

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