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Letter from Isaac Shongwe on Ali Mufuruki’s passing

Dear ALI Fellows,

By now, some of you would have heard about the passing of Ali Mufuruki, the Founder and Chairman of Africa Leadership Initiative East Africa. Ali left us in the early hours of Sunday morning at the Morningside Clinic in Sandton, Johannesburg.

My condolences to Ali’s family; Saada and daughters, Leila, Zahra, Sofia, and son Tighenye. We share the deep pain that you are feeling at this moment. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.

Ali, myself, Ken Ofori-Atta, Romeo Rodrigues and Peter Reiling are the Founding Partners of the Africa Leadership Initiative. Over the years, the bond amongst us has strengthened, as we have endeavoured to create and build a new generation of African leaders who are values-based, ethically strong and community-orientated.

As you can imagine, when I received the call at about 7:30am on Sunday morning from Dave Kahwa, I was totally devastated. The commitment that Ali had shown in contributing meaningfully to ALI, and developing and moulding leaders on the continent, was profound.

Last year in June, Ali hosted a steering committee that had been formed at the Africa Action Forum at Spier in Stellenbosch six months earlier. The purpose of the committee is to work on strengthening the Fellowship across the continent. Those of us who went to Dar Es Salaam left our two-day get-together encouraged and committed to make our Fellowship a truly Pan-African one.

The influence that Ali has had on the Fellows in East Africa has been immeasurable.

As a Fellowship, the best thing we can do to honour Ali’s spirit is to ensure our vision of being a catalyst for values-based leadership on our continent is realised.

At times like these, when confronted by mortality, I turn to Seneca’s The Shortness of Life for inspiration, with this passage providing me perspective: ”… So it is: the life we are given isn’t short but we make it so; we’re not ill provided but we are wasteful of life… Why do we complain about nature? It has acted generously: life, if you know how to use it, is long.

Ali knew how to use his life to achieve significance. Let us do the same.

As we mourn my dear brother Ali, I’d like to invite all the Fellows, as we reflect on the shortness of life, to rededicate ourselves to the journey that is still ahead of us in contributing meaningfully to our beloved continent.

With warm regards,
Isaac Shongwe

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