Class I: Inaugural Class
History was made when the inaugural class of the Africa Leadership Initiative South Africa finally gathered for the first time. Peter Reiling and Isaac Shongwe dreamt of the day when great African minds would came together to promote what they call a Good Society.
The Africa Leadership Initiative SA Fellowship programme was established to create and nurture a network of enlightened leaders who accept the primacy of the common good and are prepared to act to accelerate South Africa’s development. To this end, ALI SA selects an annual class of successful leaders drawn from business, government and civil society who participate in four one-week moderated dialogue seminars over a period of 18 months.
ALI SA’s first handpicked class of 15 fellows proved more than capable to help shape our country’s future leadership.
Four fellows from the inaugural class were elected members of the ALI SA Board:
- Ralph Freese – Former Board Member and Private Moderator for ALI fellows in need of a weekend of reflection;
- Leslie Maasdorp – Former Board Member and Vice President of the New Development Bank;
- Bruce Robertson – Current Board Member (known as the ‘calm moderator’);
- Bongiwe Njobe – Former Board Member and Executive Director of ZA NAC Consulting and Investments.
Fellows of our inaugural class have clout in all sectors ranging from business, education, the media to science and the arts. This cohort is a true reflection of leadership that has definitely moved from success to significance. ALI’s first class marks the inception of a remarkable mentorship initiative to shape future leaders with integrity.
See Class I Fellows
Class II: Kilimanjaro
Class Kilimanjaro: A name chosen to represent the calibre of its fellows – leadership mountaineers.
The yield of high climbers in Class Kilimanjaro is equally high. Of the 20 fellows, some are well-known:
- Ferial Haffajee – Editor of City Press and Author of the acclaimed and best-selling book What if There Were No Whites In South Africa.
- Justice Malala – Author of We have now begun our Descent, an Exclusive Books and Sunday Times bestselller.
- Dr Mothomang Diaho and Futhi Mtoba – Founders of TEACH South Africa, one of our most successful ALI projects to date.
- Watanan Petersik, Heather Sonn and Dele Olojede – prized ALI SA moderators. Dele Olojede is a Pullitzer Prize winning Journalist and former Bureau Chief at the United Nations for New York Newsday. Chairman of the Board of Kashim Ibrahim Fellowship in Nigeria. Winner of the John P. McNulty Priz in 2011.
- Roger Dickinson – uplifts communities through spelling bees and open dialogues on pertinent issues such as xenophobia.
- Ann Lamont – crafted the ALI strategy document.
- Chief Emmanuel Legida – Founder and Chairman of the first Black owner-managed stockbroker firm on the South African stock market.
- Adrian Enthoven – ALI SA’s Chairman, a highly accomplished businessman and dedicated philanthropist.
The fellows of Class Kilimanjaro make it their mission to give back to society – an idea that ALI SA strongly promotes: leadership with significance.
We salute our Class Kilimanjaro climbers who always endeavour to make a positive impact on their way up.
See ALL Class II Fellows
Class III: Seriti
Class Seriti: The name is an original Sotho word meaning “dignity and integrity”. It aptly describes this group of fellows who inspire, promote and restore the dignity and integrity of those in dire situations.
Class Seriti boasts some of the best projects and 19 fellows in the legal fraternity, business sector, the media, art and education. Fellows include:
- Dr Lungile Bhengu Baloyi – Director of African Midwives Institute and social justice advocate unafraid to tackle poverty alleviation and inequality
- Nicola Galombik – Founder of Harambee in 2011. Harambee connects employers with entry-level job seekers and places around 10 000 employees a year
- Fred Swaneker – Co-founder of the African Leadership Academy, the continent’s only pan-African high school. To date the academy has admitted over 700 students from over 45 African countries
- Charles Luyckx – one of the Founding Directors of Nando’s UK. Together with three other fellows, they started FUEL – a project to help ensure that government provides school children in need with two healthy meals a day
- Vuyani Ngalwana – Senior Barrister at the Johannesburg Society of Advocates. He is well-known for his contributions in several publications explaining complicated legal matters in layman’s terms
- Neo Muyanga – Composer and Recording Musician awarded research fellowships with the Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research (WISER), the Centre for African Studies at the University of Cape Town, Duke University in North Carolina and the University of California Irvine’s Humanities Research Institute
- Thina Siwendu – current Board Member of ALI. She has also served as Acting Judge in the Gauteng Local Division during the past two years
Class Sereti fellows are committed to ALI’s ideal of the Good Society.
See ALL Class III Fellows
Class IV: Kalipha
Class Kalipha: The name is derived from the isiZulu word Ukukhalipha which means: “to be sharp”. This cohort of 19 can certainly claim the compliment of being clever with exceptional fellows like:
- Gary Campbell – Spearheads the ALI project, FUEL. Through FUEL Gary and a team of fellows ensure that 9 million learners in various provinces around South Africa are fed 2 meals daily
- David Kalombo – Heads one of the biggest HIV & AIDS treatment programmes in the country
- Joshin Raghubar – Entrepreneur and Communications Specialist and current Board Member of ALI SA
- Derek Thomas – Moderator of YALI (Youth ALI) classes. Moderated an ALI Media class in Kenya
- Sibongile Khumalo – South African Singing Legend who sadly passed away in 2021.
Class Kalipha is set on finding the path to a Good Society, treading that path and gladly and diligently showing the way.
See ALL Class IV Fellows
Class V: Mayihlome
Class Mayihlome: The isiZulu word Mayihlome means “to arm”. The Africa Leadership Initiative encourages our fellows to arm themselves with the knowledge and tools to help create a more sustainable future for their communities.
This cohort of 18 fellows boasts a broad spectrum of talent:
- Percy Mahlati – Medical Doctor, Author and Founder of the African Institute of Health
- Michelle Odayan – Advocate of the High Court, Founding Board member of Play Africa (working toward establishing the first Children’s Museum in Africa), and vociferous champion for women’s rights
- Trevor Ncube – Executive Deputy Chairman of the Mail & Guardian Media Group (South Africa), Chairman of Alpha Media Holdings (AMH) based in Zimbabwe. AMH owns four newspaper titles in Zimbabwe.
- Zohra Ebrahim – Governance Specialist and Member of the ALI-SA Board
- Jacob Lief – Founder and CEO of Ubuntu Pathways, a non-profit organisation that takes vulnerable children in Port Elizabeth, South Africa from cradle to career, with an integrated system of medical, health, educational and social services. In 2010, Jacob was recognised by the World Economic Forum as a Young Global Leader. In 2012, he joined the Clinton Global Initiative Advisory Committee.
- Mahesh Cooper – Director at Allan Gray Limited, the investment management company.
The fellows of Class V keep arming themselves to continue in the battle to promote ALI’s philosophy of the Good Society. This is evident from the contributions to their respective communities, sectors, countries and professions.
Sibongile Khumalo, legendary South Africa diva and ALI-SA fellow, recorded a song about African women bringing about positive change in their communities:
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Class VI: Tshelela
Class Tshelela: The Northern Sotho word tshelela could be translated as “cross-over”. The name signifies the transformational journey of the fellowship. The cohort of 15 is one of the smallest in the fellowship, but as the saying goes, they punch way above their weight. Take a look at the credentials of some of Class Tshelela’s fellows:
- Kefiloe Masiteng – Deputy Director General for Population and Social Statistics at Statistics South Africa.
- Andrew Zaloumis – CEO of iSimingaliso Wetland Park Authority. Under his leadership, the 330,000-hectare iSimangaliso Wetland Park, which includes 9% of South Africa’s coastline, was proclaimed and listed as South Africa’s first UNESCO World Heritage site.
- Thembi Msibi – CEO of the Advertising Standards Authority.
- Oliver Fortuin – General Manager, IBM South Africa. He formally mentors aspiring executives in the community.
- Ethel Mokwele – Founder and Managing Director of Hope Nutrition Consultancy. Ethel has a special interest in community nutrition and development. She is also CEO and Founder of Nkanyiso, a nutrition and HIV/AIDS non-profit organisation that deals with care and support for orphans and vulnerable children.
- Heather Third – Founder and CEO of Rainbow Consulting and former Chief Operating Officer of Microsoft South Africa.
See ALL Class VI Fellows
Class VII: Dinatla
Class Dinatla: The Sotho word Dinatla literally means “the strong ones”. It denotes strength, willingness to excel and a strong work ethic.
This aptly describes the spirit of the Dinatla cohort of 19 fellows, who include:
- Bheki Makhubu – Editor Swaziland Independent Publishers. His relentless promotion of the Good Society in the Kingdom of Swaziland resulted in his unlawful imprisonment and stirred his classmates into supporting his family until his eventual release.
- Simphiwe Duma – CEO of Technology Innovation Agency, Senior Member of the South African Institute of Electrical Engineers.
- Rejane Woodroffe – Réjane Woodroffe is the Director and a Founding Member of the Bulungula Incubator Project – an integrated rural development programme in the former Transkei (Eastern Cape). Recipient of the prestigious McNulty Prize in 2014 for this project.
- Tsakani Maluleke – current Deputy Auditor-General (DAG) of South Africa, the first South African woman to be appointed DAG in the organisation’s history of 103 years.
To paraphase our Chairman “ALI has shaped our sense of purpose. The refrain: “if not you, then who?”, continues to motivate and inspire our fellows.”
See all Class VII fellows
Class VIII: Mahube
Class Mahube: The Setswana word for “a new dawn” was chosen as class name for this special group of 20 fellows drawn from business, government and civil society. Over a period of 24 months fellows participate in four seminars:
- The Challenge of Leadership
- In Search of the Good Society
- Leading in an era of Globalisation
- The Promise of Leadership.
The programme is designed to assits fellows to confront the foremost challenges of our time.
This cohort boasts two members of the current ALI SA board and a deputy Governor of the South African Reserve Bank:
- Tandi Nzimande – CFO, Women’s Development Bank Investment Holdings
- Kuben Naidoo – Deputy Governor of the South African Reserve Bank
- Baphumelele Mngadi – executive head of corporate affairs at the South Africa Maritime Authority.
- Mcebisi Ndletyana – Head of the Faculty of Political-Economy at the Mapungubwe Institute for Strategic Reflection (MISTRA). He taught at New York’s City University of New York, Marrymount Manhattan College, and the Nelson Mandela Metro University in Port Elizabeth.
See ALL Class VIII Fellows
Class IX: Tariro
Class Tariro: The Shona word tariro means “hope”. The name seemed to be a precursor of the Tariro fellows’ work post graduation. This class of 20 fellows has been very active arranging moderated discussions on pressing issues in South African society, and raising funds for the victims of country-wide xenophobic attacks. Halala Tariro!
- Hanno Kemp – Programme Director of the FUEL Trust, where he uses change management and capacitation to influence the performance of systems within the South African Department of Basic Education, such as the National School Nutrition Programme, which feeds almost 9 million students each day.
- Zanele Mthembu – Founder of Brown Panther Films and Head Mentor at the ZA Media Incubator (ZAMI). Zanele is committed to building local production capacity and a pipeline of industry talent in South Africa.
- Khulekani Mathe – Acting Head of the National Planning Commission Secretariat in the Presidency
The ninth class of the Africa Leadership Initiative SA Fellowship programme commenced in May 2014 and 20 Fellows graduated in September 2015 to become part of the broader Aspen Global Leadership Network, currently consisting of 2200 Fellows across 48 countries, all committed to positive change in their respective societies.
See ALL Class IX Fellows
Class X: XSeed
Class XSeed: ALI has been planting seeds for a decade in order for fellows to grow into formidable leaders promoting ALI SA’s ideal of the Good Society and exceed all expectations of leadership in Africa. ALI SA’s tenth class consists of 21 formidable fellows, including:
- Pamela Bosman – Executive Director, Lumoka Strat, a consulting company providing comprehensive financial management and software solutions.
- Kofi Amegashie – Former Executive Director, Africa Leadership Initiative
- Chinezi Chijioke – co-Founder & the CEO of Nova-Pioneer Education Group, a network of accessible 21st century private schools across Africa. The mission of Nova-Pioneer to develop generations of innovators and leaders who will shape the Africa Century. Today Nova-Pioneer operates 4 schools in South Africa and Kenya, with a goal of operating 100 great schools over the next decade.
Over the last decade, ALI SA has graduated 170 Fellows from across Southern Africa in the effort to drive conscious leadership and actively build what we stand for: the Good Society.
See Class X Fellows
Class XI: Tekano
Class Tekano: Tekano means “equality” in SeSotho, and these leaders have made a collective commitment to promote it as a core belief, value and aspiration.
We salute our Class Tekano fellows who help grow the ALI network and establish exemplified, effective values-based leadership. Exceptional leaders can be found in different spheres of society and we don’t have to look any further for good examples:
- Naledi Nomalanga Mkhize – emerging historian and community development practitioner. She is a history professor at Nelson Mandela University, but currently holds the Sam Moyo Postdoctoral Fellowship at Rhodes University. Her current research interest is in Eastern Cape historiography and she takes a particular interest in the historiography of 19th century Xhosa writers.
- Joy Olivier is one of the co-founders of IkamvaYouth. All her work is focused on redressing inequality and injustice in South Africa through promoting equal access to quality education and opportunities.
- Bongiwe Mlangeni – CEO of the Social Justice Initiative (SJI), a South African non-profit that promotes philanthropy in support of human rights and social justice projects.
See ALL Class XI Fellows
Class XII: IsiLimela
Class Isilimela: IsiLimela is the isiXhosa word for the group of stars called The Pleiades in English. When they appear in the African night sky, it is time to hoe the ground and prepare for the growing season. Across the continent these “digging stars” are associated with growth and new life.
Class IsiLimela consists of 22 fellows hoeing the proverbial ground to implement sustainable and lasting positive change. Fellows include:
- Nomfundo Mogapi – CEO of the Centre for Mental Wellness and Leadership; Chairperson of the Mental Wellness Initiative. Nomfundo has a passion for providing and understanding the psychosocial healing of individuals, institutions and collectives. She has helped shape regional policies like the African Union Transitional Justice Policy (AUTJP), the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights’ (ACPHR) General Comment on redress for victims of torture.
- Rebecca Oppenheimer – Writer, Entrepreneur and Philanthropist. She is driven to help South Africa transform its historic inequalities. Rebecca is currently developing a rain-harvesting vertical gardening system that she hopes will contribute to better nutrition programmes in under-resourced communities.
- Hlompho Ntoi – Joint Managing Director at African Infrastructure Investment Managers (AIIM) a private equity business that invests in infrastructure projects and businesses across Africa.
ALI Fellows lead with integrity and that is why they have such an impact on society.
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Class XIII: Akani
Class Akani: Akani is a Xitsonga word meaning “Build, build together”. Class Akani is our largets cohort of 24 fellows who are motivated by a single call to action: to build and rebuild our countries, our regions, our people, our economies, our morality, our state, our freedom … and to unify our citizens in the process.
Class XIII was the first ALI cohort to meet on Zoom. We feared this would mute their enthusiasm or dilute their class chemistry. Yet, they participated with enviable energy, expressed strong opinions, called for extra sessions, and bombarded the moderators with questions. Amongst the 24 fellows were:
- Umunyana Rugege – Human Rights Lawyer and the Executive Director of SECTION27, seeking to achieve substantive equality and social justice. She graduated from the State University of New York at Buffalo; has a Master’s from Cornell University; and an LLB from the University of Cape Town. She has clerked at the International Criminal Court in The Hague.
- Gareth Morgan – Director of Resilience in the City of Cape Town. He led the development of the first Cape Town Resilience Strategy. He was a senior member of the team that won the 2020 Global Public Service Award in the COVID Rapid Responders category from an A-political organisation.
- Tau Tavengwa – Co-founder, Curator and Editor of Cityscapes, an annual publication about cities and urban life across Africa, Latin America, and South Asia.
This a class of strong characters, tempered by wise voices. They showed an early determination to make an impact in our troubled times.
See ALL Class XIII Fellows