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42 Zimbabweans Join Mandela Washington Fellowship

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By Staff Reporter


THE US Deputy Ambassador Thomas Hastings to Zimbabwe has congratulated 42 of Zimbabwe’s newest alumni of the Mandela Washington Fellowship.

The Fellowship, which began in 2014, is the flagship programme of the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) which empowers young Africans through academic coursework, leadership training, and networking.

Since 2014, nearly 5,100 young leaders from every country in Sub-Saharan Africa –240 from just Zimbabwe – have participated in the Fellowship.

The Zimbabwean contingent – chosen for their record of leadership, innovation, and commitment to giving back to their country – shone throughout this year’s fellowship experience.

They include Makumire Ropafadzo, a dedicated public servant for his fellow residence in Chiredzi Town, who leveraged the experience to take one step closer to his dream of managing a planning consulting firm in the future.

Linda Muriro, a journalist, looked to the fellowship to explore thinking in techniques to promote the inclusion of marginalized communities in the development and decision-making processes.

Sikhanyisiwe Sebata wants to use her YALI exchange experience to further social justice and community development projects.

Lucky Aaroni, the founder of Bustop TV, plans to leverage his YALI exposure to build on Bustop TV’s success, saying “l intend to maximise my fellowship experiences, my strengths and use them to impact my team and our organization.”

Sanelisiwe Emma Mlilo, a legal expert for small and medium enterprises, wanted to explore ways to use her legal skills to support low-income women and girls.

Sanelisiwe describes the fellowship best: “the community of leaders I had the privilege of interacting with from all across the African Continent has allowed me to forge a network that can easily assist me with challenges I may encounter throughout my leadership journey.”

The U.S. Embassy said it is inspired by the 42 Zimbabweans who persevered, despite Covid-19 and the virtual experience.

“They invested time to build meaningful personal projects, took advantage of every seminar, and brought their best to this growing network of young African leaders.  We can’t wait to see what they all do next,” it said.