|   Let integrity lead.

Latest News

Class 13: Zoom pioneers

29 April 2022
Class 13: Zoom pioneers

Class 13 was the first ALI cohort to meet each other on Zoom. We feared this would mute their enthusiasm or dilute their class chemistry. Yet, they burst on to the ALI scene with enviable energy, expressing strong opinions on all readings, calling for extra sessions, and bombarding the moderators with questions. This a class of strong characters, tempered by wise voices. They showed an early det...

Read more
South Africa – a failed state?

  Our history is one of migration, colonial conquest and the construction of four countries that were amalgamated to enclose a single economy, within which solutions to the “national question” continue to drive conflict. The tribe, class, race, creed and gender issues central to the building of our nation remain unresolved. Despite significant variation in definition and usage, we can ac...

Read more
Class 12: The Challenge and the Good Society

We gathered for our first seminar, aptly titled The Challenge, just as the first Covid-19 wave started to gain momentum in March 2020. The period that followed proved to be exceptionally challenging, but we overcame the unforeseen obstacles brought about by a global pandemic and hosted Seminar 2: The Good Society (with a very successful Antigone) in September 2021. Class XII: Isilimela  experi...

Read more

Can one be happy?

9 March 2022
Can one be happy?

In these turbulent times, with rampant inequality, dislocation and alienation; when, for thinking people, moral and emotional outrage is unavoidable – Can one be happy?  In fact, should one be happy? In the journey ALI-SA Fellows embark on we clearly encounter two arcs: the personal (Fellows emerge with a better understanding of themselves); and the social, which deals with governance of human...

Read more
Letter to ALI Fellows: Great leadership is most needed in times of challenge

Greetings to all ALI fellows across the continent and globe. After 2 very challenging years for public life, the sense I get is that we are returning to normality. Just at my children’s’ schools I see more public gathering and  greater social interaction as we have started the academic year. Ironically this felt awkward at first, then we appreciated the fact that this was what life was like ...

Read more
New books penned by ALI fellows

Native Merchants – The Building Of The Black Business Class In South Africa is Class 2 ALI Media Fellow, Phakamisa Ndzamela’s debut title. The book explores underwritten stories of black entrepreneurs during the 17th to early 20th centuries, giving insight into a time when black people built successful enterprises on their own account and not as labourers. The book is available from online re...

Read more

Our literacy crisis

15 February 2022
Our literacy crisis

The 2030 reading panel plans to meet annually, bringing together respected SA leaders to monitor and influence progress in literacy in South African schools. Their gathering on 2nd February highlighted the parlous state of our nation. With SONA around the corner let us hope some attention is paid to their conclusions. For those who were able to join us yesterday for the inaugural Reading Panel, t...

Read more
Letter: Covid, Climate and Community

What a wonderful year this has been! We wonder why, when solutions are at hand, we allow global heating to run rampant, fail to change our behavior in the face of the pandemic and tribalise into fractured communities when we know now more than ever, that issues of race, tribe and creed are social constructs that artificially divide. And this is just the global position. In SA we can add failure t...

Read more
ALI-SA Fellow, Arthur Mutambara, Appointed to Steer UJ’s Institute for Future of Knowledge

Roboticist Prof Arthur G.O. Mutambara who is an author, chartered engineer, and academic has been appointed as the executive director and full professor of the Institute for the Future of Knowledge (IFK) at the University of Johannesburg. The IFK is a cross-disciplinary ecosystem – an epistemological interface between the fourth Industrial Revolution and the Humanities. He will be establishing ...

Read more
The voters have spoken. What is the message this carries for the future of SA?

South Africans – at least, the party-political ones – are facing the future with a large degree of consternation since the results of the local government elections were released. With  42m South Africans eligible to vote and 26m registered these are the key considerations: There was a low turnout of 46% of registered voters. That is not unusual in local government elections. What was dif...

Read more

Conference of the Parties 26

18 November 2021
Conference of the Parties 26

The CoP dance continues. One step forward, two steps back. With a jump to the left then a leap to the right. If we are to accept that the agreements reached in Glasgow is where this process will end, we must accept a 2,5 degrees Celsius warming and some dire consequences.  The credibility of the process is – again – being tested. However, it remains the only global forum and is valuable in m...

Read more

Defining a good society

6 October 2021
Defining a good society

Long, long ago driving with my grandfather (a teetotaller and plumber) we saw someone lying next to the road. He pulled over and we checked on the man – somewhat drunk, but uninjured – then gave him, a complete stranger, a lift home.  Yesterday I saw two people lying on the pavement outside a private hospital in Rondebosch, Cape Town. Along with others, pedestrians and drivers, I drove on by....

Read more
It’s getting hot around here!

Predictions of doom are as bad as denialism. There is much we can do to shift the trajectory of climate change.  We currently face the greatest challenge of civilised humanity. We are heating the planet, upending the balance of the ecosystem that birthed us, risking livelihoods, crop failure and drowning cities. In November, in Glasgow, politicians from 189 countries will gather under the gaze ...

Read more
Insurrection? Treason? Intelligence misadventure? Failed plot?

Between them, Adriaan Basson (Class XIII), Ferial Haffajee (Class II) and Mondli Makhanya (Class III) represent three of the most credible news sources in South Africa: News24, Daily Maverick and City Press respectively. If anyone should know what’s going on, it should be they. So, these are the things we seem to be able to be sure about at this stage: What took place in KwaZulu Natal was an or...

Read more

The Housing Question

6 August 2021
The Housing Question

The RDP and Breaking New Ground initiatives held “housing” as an excellent tool for redressing racial, economic and Apartheid spatial divides. These saw the delivery of three and a half million houses to poor South Africans. This we justifiably celebrate as a great success for the country. However, the failure of our housing practice was driven by our measuring success only by the numbers bui...

Read more

Treason?

15 July 2021
Treason?

In November 1916, Pavel Milyukov, recognising the inability of the Duma to do the right thing, asked whether that was driven by stupidity or treason. Here, in the last few days, we can add questions of the levels of competence, quality of leadership, and management failures. For example, our intelligence services failed to understand and prevent the actions intended to reduce our supply chains in ...

Read more
Investing in After School Programmes to stem learning losses, fight fast-growing inequality and build back better

by Sibongile Khumalo Seventy percent of South Africa’s children enrol in low and no-fee (quintile one to three) schools. Pre-COVID-19, less than a third of these children were making it out of the schooling system with a matric certificate. Almost half dropped out before grade 12, usually after repeating a few grades; and this grade repetition cost the system over R20 billion annually. Eight pe...

Read more
Dark clouds, and silver linings

Eighty-one people joined a Zoom Dialogue in early March when a range of Fellows was invited to share their personal reflections on the state of the nation. It became abundantly clear that although there is the odd silver lining here and there, the dark clouds are mounting, leaving many feeling – if not helpless, certainly frustrated. Let’s start with the few silver linings that shone through ...

Read more
Introducing the 4th Class of the ALI – Young Leaders Programme

Previously known as the Young Africa Leadership Initiative (YALI), the ALI – Young Leaders Programme is premised on the Africa Leadership Initiative’s (ALI) purpose to develop the next generation of values-based, young African leaders who are prepared to be significant co-creators of a good society. The age profile of ALI – Young Leaders Fellows ranges from 25 – 35 years, and ...

Read more
Cryptocurrencies: a shift in the world’s operating system, or a get-rich-quick scheme?

Money has always evolved, and this evolution has always been towards reduction of transactional friction and better stores of value. Bitcoin, cryptocurrencies, and the underlying blockchain technology breakthrough fit the mould as possibly, even probably the next evolution of money. These are the bitcoin fundamentals: Only 21 million tokens or coins will ever exist (just over 18,6 million are al...

Read more
Bruce Dennill reviews: Like Water Is For Fish by Garth Japhet

There is a fascinating concept at work in Like Water Is For Fish, a non-fiction book detailing the effectiveness of storytelling in communicating important messages and doing so in a mixture of memoir-style flashbacks and combinations of the perspectives of other individuals author Garth Japhet has met along the way. If it sounds like a hodge-podge, it doesn’t read like one, rather coming a...

Read more
How Can The Audit Profession Find Its Way Back To Noble Leadership?

How can the audit profession find its way back to noble leadership? In a passionate digital Dialogue hosted in late January, Professor Wiseman Nkuhlu spoke about the social role of the auditing profession with an emphasis on the big four auditing institutions. ALI Fellow Sindi Mabaso-Koyane (Class VIII Mahube) responded, and the session was moderated by South Africa’s Auditor-General, Tsakani ...

Read more
Mayihlome – Tribute to Sibongile Khumalo by Isaac Shongwe

In the early 2000s, ALI Fellow (Class IV: Kalipha) and South Africa’s “First Lady of Song”, Sibongile Khumalo, released her hit single, Mayihlome (https://bit.ly/2L7vsy3). It would go on to be amongst the most loved songs within her illustrious discography of globally-acclaimed hits. Yet there was more to that particular song than poetic lyrics sung in her matchless voice. It was more than j...

Read more

A Message from the Chairman

17 December 2020
A Message from the Chairman

Dear Fellows, To say that 2020 was a year like no other, would be classified as a massive understatement. The COVID-19 pandemic has been the item looming largest for all of us at a political, professional, social and personal level. Beyond the pandemic there is still an unprecedented democratic challenge in the USA,  the Black Lives Matter movement taking centre stage in the debate on race and t...

Read more
Zoe responds! The climate as driver of political economy and psycho-social malaise

Written by Dr Zoe Lees It’s all very well talking about these lofty ideals of a new order for Africa, but in sub-Saharan Africa we are facing serious human rights abuses and chaos in Zimbabwe with deepening poverty and desperation, Mozambique is facing an ISIS incursion, Zambia is defaulting on its debt, Ethiopia… Tanzania….the list goes on. We can’t even agree on a common vision ...

Read more
Climate change response for Africa

2020 was a year in which natural phenomena shocked the globe in many ways. If we didn’t fully appreciate the economic imperative of addressing climate change before, we do now. And Africa is at the end of the queue for global support in terms of climate initiatives: of the total global ±$720 bn philanthropy spend, $5/6bn goes to climate space; and of that just 1% comes to Africa. The coronavir...

Read more

A Review of a Difficult Year

15 December 2020
A Review of a Difficult Year

What a year it has been. It started well. From February 26-29, we had the rare joy of spending four days together at the second Africa Impact Forum. More than 100 Fellows from nine countries came together in Accra, Ghana, around the theme “Building to Last: Leadership vs Systems”. In the group there were 25 from ALI-SA; as always when we engage with our ALI colleagues from across the continen...

Read more
New Head of The Solidarity Fund is Fellow Tandi Nzimande

The Solidarity Fund has appointed Fellow Tandi Nzimande as Fund CEO. Nzimande was recommended as the CEO at a Board meeting held on October 22, 2020. It is her work in the development and empowerment fields which makes her the ideal candidate to lead the Fund especially now, as it enters a new phase that requires strong leadership to ensure mandates are met with efficiency, integrity, and passio...

Read more
Lessons from the Humanitarian Initiatives Of Covid-19

The numbers of those in South Africa who are thought to now need food relief vary, depending on who you talk to [1]. Gift of the Givers director Dr Imtiaz Sooliman says maybe about 20-million. Andy du Plessis, manager of FoodForward, says it could be 30-million including those who were previously below the poverty line, those who lost their jobs during the pandemic lockdown, and those who lost ac...

Read more
The fierce urgency of now – the 2020 RAAF goes digital

The Aspen Institute has never been accused of a lack of ideas. And nobody attending its events complains of too little talk. Indeed, as we can all recall, the ALI seminar program is experienced through conversations. The readings, Antigone performance, and even the ventures are discussed at length. Moderators urge fellows to take action at every turn, “…..yes, but what will you do about that...

Read more
Thoughts on our ALI’s Impact during COVID Lockdown

The founding intent of ALI was for our Fellows to achieve an increased positive impact on the world in which we live. Whilst we now better understand the impact of our programme onFellows, it remains elusive to measure the full impact of Fellows on the world. It has long been said that the “Projects and Ventures” Fellows are required to initiate will be the drivers of our impact beyond tha...

Read more
Beirut – a very personal response

My dear friends So many of you have been reaching out in the hours and days following the tragedy in Beirut, asking about us, about what happened, and about how you can help. I’m sorry I haven’t been able to respond to all of you. Here is my response now. Before anything else, we wanted to thank you from the bottom of our hearts; I cannot begin to express what it means to have your su...

Read more
ALI Zoom Dialogue: Mental illness: the shadow pandemic

Covid-19 has hit education hard. In an already fragile system, teachers, pupils and managers were all impacted negatively by the State of Disaster lockdown. The re-opening has been, if anything, worse, with contradictory messaging, union action, the trauma of infection hotspot suspicions, and crushing socio-economic disparities compounding fear, anger and frustration. In the formal education worl...

Read more
The untold pandemic statistic: its psychological cost

By Nomfundo Mogapi Our starting point: psychological depletion South Africa’s population was critically psychologically depleted even before Covid-19 dropped a pall of fear, stress and confusion over the country. Reports note that somewhere between one in four and one in six South Africans suffers from some form of mental disorder during their lifetime, with only 15-25% of affected individuals ...

Read more
Karl Flowers’ Legacy: How Fellows Can Help

The Karl Flowers Trust launched this June, 10 years to the month since our friend passed away. A member of the Kilimanjaro class, Karl was passionate about ALI and our work. He assisted as a moderator and was integral in helping to build our community. Karl’s will stated that a significant portion of his estate should be placed in a trust to assist “young people between 16-25 years, who are u...

Read more
ALI Zoom Dialogue: Not much to go around

ALI stands for a commitment to contribute to a set of lasting interventions towards the Good Society. The municipal audit results, under the theme “not much to go around, yet not the right hands at the till”, came at a particularly bleak time – a time when the Good Society feels like it may be an impossible dream. For some, the last straw has been questionable tender awards relating to the...

Read more
ALI Fellow Babalwa Ngonyama elected as chair of UCT’S Council

The University of Cape Town (UCT) has elected ALI Fellow and former Safika Holdings CFO Babalwa Ngonyama (Class VIII: Mahube) as the new chair of its council. Nazeema Mohamed will serve as deputy chair. In the words of UCT’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng, the appointment is “historic” because it is the first time in 100 years that a woman chair serves on UCT’s Council. It i...

Read more
Death and taxes, by Ralph Freese

It is widely held that death and taxes are the only certainties. Given the state of the world’s economy and natural and social systems, we can add two more for the foreseeable future: debt and uncertainty. With unprecedented government borrowing, the lockdown of half the world’s people and the strangulation of much of the world’s economy, we are “on the way to hell in a handbasket”. Emp...

Read more
Phathutshedzo Madima has been appointed as the new non-executive director at the YAEI

ALI would like to congratulate YALI Fellow Phathutshedzo Madima for his appointment as the new non-executive director and advisor of the Young African Entrepreneurs Institute (YAEI). The non-profit youth development organisation focuses on well-rounded career development by integrating employability, entrepreneurship and mentorship for diversified post-schooling opportunities in South Africa. Wit...

Read more
A rollercoaster of ill health, extreme emotions, and utter exhaustion

Paul Garner shares his experience of having COVID-19 In mid-March, I developed COVID-19. For almost seven weeks, I have been through a rollercoaster of ill health, extreme emotions, and utter exhaustion. Although I have not been hospitalised, it has been frightening and long. The illness ebbs and flows, but it never goes away. Health professionals, employers, partners, and people with the disease...

Read more
In search of a new chair of the ALI-SA board

Adi Enthoven has served on the ALI board for 12 years; he spent the last five years serving as the chair. Most Fellows are aware that Adi and his family have been the backbone of this organisation and its largest funders for some time. He will soon come to the end of his tenure. Adi commits to remain active in support of ALI, and we will keep Spier as our seminar base for the foreseeable future. ...

Read more
Clouds and silver linings: Reflections from the ALI COVID-19 dialogue

On the 30th day of South Africa’s lockdown, 91 ALI fellows and guests joined a virtual Dialogue centred on the socio-economic impact of the national shutdown. Our immediate future is, as we know, tumultuous and stormy indeed, but the speakers also identified some potential silver linings. The dialogue was moderated by Ralph Freese, executive director of ALI South Africa. The panel included Adi ...

Read more
ALI Fellow Konehali Gugushe appointed CEO of Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund

ALI Fellow Konehali Gugushe (Class X: XSeed) has been appointed as CEO of the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund and the Trust. Her tenure started on the 4th of March 2020. She joins the Fund in the year of its 25th anniversary. Konehali’s responsibilities will include strengthening Madiba’s vision for his legacy organisations for children (the Fund, the Trust and NMCH) by promoting synergies, ...

Read more
YALI Fellows take on COVID19 and the healthcare sector

Free mobile and web-based COVID-19 pre-screening symptom checker launched to help flatten the curve  YALI Fellows Jessica Chivinge, Rhobhi Matinyi Farai Chikumbu and their business associate Farai Chikumbu have founded a healthtech start-up called epione.net. epione.net is an end-to-end healthcare platform that seamlessly connects all stakeholders in the healthcare value chain for improved patie...

Read more
From your future, with love – By Francesca Melandri

The acclaimed Italian novelist Francesca Melandri, who has been under lockdown in Rome for almost three weeks due to the Covid-19 outbreak, has written a letter to fellow Europeans “from your future”, laying out the range of emotions people are likely to go through over the coming weeks. I am writing to you from Italy, which means I am writing from your future. We are now where you will be in...

Read more
ALI SA Chair Adrian Enthoven steps up to make a difference in a time of a global health crisis

On Monday 23 March, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced a nationwide 21-day lockdown that will be implemented to curtail the spread of COVID-19. To safeguard the most vulnerable in our society from the potential economic ramifications of the lockdown, the government has set up a Solidarity Fund. The Fund will enable well-off South Africans and businesses to contribute towards the provision of muc...

Read more
The constitution and the economy: Eskom and the other SOEs

ALI’s March Dialogue in Cape Town was entitled: “Eskom through the gloom: placing the Constitution at the centre of the reform discussion”. Unusually for any conversation involving Eskom, the Dialogue was largely uplifting. This had nothing to do with good news, regrettably, but arose from the refreshed awareness of the quality of goodwill that is being brought to solving the problem by a b...

Read more
Isilimela – ALI’s Class 12 name is inspired by ancient African lore

We are the digging stars. It is time to invest in the harvest of tomorrow. We are the leaders who will light up the night with a promise of plenty, We are the renewal we seek. We are the herald of freedom that marks Africa Day. We are all digging stars. IsiLimela or the Pleiades were the ‘digging stars’, whose appearance in southern Africa warned of the coming need to begin hoeing the...

Read more
ALI West Africa Hosts African Fellows at the 2nd Biennial Africa Impact Forum in Accra Ghana!

The 2020 AIF was the 2nd edition of the forum where Africa Leadership Initiative (ALI) Fellows from across the African continent gathered to deeply connect, engage and recommit on matters of significance to the continent. The Forum aimed to deepen the pool of influential, effective and ethical leaders across Africa, who assume personal and collective accountability for the “Good Society”, by ...

Read more
AIF 2020 Youth Panel on Leadership vs Systems

The Youth Panel on Leadership vs Systems brought in new energy into the plenary sessions, with provocative ideas and new narratives from the panellists. Expertly moderated by one of Ghana’s leading journalists, Bernard Avle, the conversation sought to surface how these young people were seeing the tension between leadership and systems in their respective areas of work and their thoughts on how...

Read more

Thanks to our valued partners and to all the Fellows who continue to contribute in many ways.

  • Aspen Global Leadership Network
  • Yellowwoods
  • Barloworld
  • Tshikululu