Africa, you are About to Take Off

Whether you are a student, employer or investor at ALU, you are part of a revolution. This is exactly what Fred Swaniker, founder and CEO of African Leadership University wanted to instil, when he paralleled the inaugural campus in Mauritius to 1969’s moonshot, in his speech at the Grand Opening on the 17th of March.

I met up with a few of the spaceship’s 176 crew members — the ALU students — to discuss the values and principles of learning, diversity, leadership and power. But above and beyond, I wanted to hear about the future of Africa in the 21st century, as inspired by them — the next generation of ethical and entrepreneurial African leaders.

Hellen Brahane, Sandile Dlamini and Amani Naburi have just woken up, when they join me for breakfast at the residence diner in Trou aux Biches. Where we sit, we get a glimpse of the Indian Ocean’s turquoise waters and the horizon — as deep as our conversation.

Hellen takes the lead, while Sandile and Amani are biting into their omelette:

“My ALU application asked for previous leadership engagement. I was in my second year of Economics at the Moi University in Kenya, and I was one of the three ladies in the Student Government. The Government is divided into tribes, but I hated it because it’s not about the tribe — it’s about what we do. My parents are from Eritrea, so I could only fit into a small tribe from the coast — 100 people in the whole university out of 5000. But I had to hold onto it because as an independent, people wouldn’t listen to me. The Student Government was a bad leadership experience, but its operations have driven me to speak out and make a change. So, here I am.”

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Author: Maria Iotova


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