The ALA Campus
African Leadership Academy’s campus on the outskirts of Johannesburg, South Africa, is an ideal environment for learning and self-discovery. Set in a tranquil location 30 minutes northwest of Johannesburg, our campus is built around a circular quad where students meet, interact, and study. Around the quad are our comfortable dormitories and classrooms, the dining hall, a 350-seat auditorium, and our Science laboratories.
Sports and Fitness
African Leadership Academy is committed to maintaining an active and healthy community. We believe a healthy body helps grow a healthy mind and all students are required to participate in our sports program. ALA offers a number of competitive sports offered year-round including football, basketball, volleyball and Ultimate Frisbee. Competitive sports teams practice at least twice per week and play matches against local schools, athletic clubs and universities Recreational sports on offer include netball, yoga, tennis, track athletics, touch rugby, martial arts, table tennis and cross-country. Gym class, a section of the wellness program, is required for all students who do not participate in a sport. Meeting once every two weeks, gym class teaches students basic fitness skills and provides a positive environment for students to exercise and have fun. In addition to emphasising the physical wellbeing of our students, ALA’s sports program strives to place leadership at the core of its programs, providing valuable learning experiences for our students’ leadership and team-oriented development.
Health and Wellness
The Academy is committed to ensuring and supporting the good health of all its young leaders. We work hard to find ways to measure our students’ wellness so that there is a way to mark and build on healthy practises and monitoring unhealthy ones. Our health and wellness offerings include:
Medical Personnel: The Academy employs a registered nurse full time who runs an on campus school clinic. All of the Academy’s faculty members and selected student with residential leadership responsibility are trained in first aid. The Academy engages with a medical doctor whose practice is within five minutes’ drive of the campus, and who is on call to attend to emergencies on campus if they arise.
Medical Insurance: All ALA students are required to have a medical insurance policy valid in South Africa. The school’s current insurance provider is Discovery Health, the leading provider in the marketplace. Upon acceptance, students will be enrolled in the appropriate medical insurance scheme which assures them of a baseline level of emergency, hospital and specialist care should they require it during their time at the Academy.
Wellness team: A team of life coaches including trained psychologists and a counselor meet with ALA students individually to assist them with emotional challenges.The team also delivers a weekly series of activities for all students. The Academy draws students from a vast range of countries and backgrounds, we have therefore invested in a superb support team to help students to face, understand and manage some of the psychosocial challenges they may face. This includes time management, to self-esteem, to previous trauma and abuse. All students are given an initial assessment by our team and then students can opt in for deeper assistance or support on any matter.
Clubs and Societies
Extracurricular activities at ALA are designed to be student driven: initiatives are led by our young leaders, crafted in response to their interests, and funded by a budget administered the Student Government. Accordingly, we have a dynamic roster of clubs and societies at ALA which currently includes African Dance, ALApella (the school choir), Animation Club, Chess Club, Cloud 9 (an all male singing group), Maths Club, Science Club, the Ubuntu Drama Club and many more.
The House Program at ALA is an opportunity to provide honest healthy bonding activities for the students, staff and faculty, bringing together the entire community. The activities are chosen and designed to be fully inclusive, consisting of sporting, cultural and fun-filled community bonding games. Each student, faculty member and staff members at ALA is assigned to one of six houses at ALA, which are named after major African rivers: Volta, Nile, Zambezi, Congo, Tana and Niger.
Each house meets at least once a week to plan social events, coordinate participation in upcoming competitions and build community spirit by playing games and getting to know each other. Each House has a student-elected Captain and Deputy who sit on the Student Government.
In an effort to provide as much varied and valuable support to each individual student, the Academy assigns each student to an Advisory Family. Each Advisory Family has six (on average) students, and two ‘parents’. Advisory families are diverse in terms of gender and cultural and geographic backgrounds. The advisory family meets once a week for an extended picnic lunch in the Quad where bonding is the most important objective.
Advisors act as campus parents for ALA’s young leaders, providing support for that student on emotional, social, psychological and academic questions. They also help students choose their subjects, advise on emotional decisions and act as a source for social interaction, on or off campus. Advisors write the student’s report comments, future recommendation letters, and serve as a direct contact for the parents or guardians.
Residential Faculty live in the dormitories to offer student support, and to ensure that students have a safe and pleasant residential experience at the Academy, with adequate adult supervision. They lead the dormitories under the guidance of the Assistant Dean for Pastoral Care. There are separate dorms for boys and girls. The dormitories are controlled by an access control card system, which limits entry to only the residents of each hall. Students are paired in dormitories with students from different countries and regions in Africa, and often speak different languages.
Spiritual and Religious Practice
While on campus, all students are supported and encouraged to continue practicing in their faith freely. The most exciting aspect is the sharing of ideas, knowledge, spiritual strength and beliefs between the religions. The Academy promotes inter-faith dialog and understanding, encouraging students to become more empathetic and effective leaders on this diverse continent. There is an interfaith forum where students can share and ask questions, debate and challenge each other. It is most common for students to join their classmates in fasting, vigils and celebrations. The campus has a dedicated room for all spiritual practices.
There are regular visits to churches, masjids and services off campus in order for students to meet and integrate with local Johannesburg religious communities. ALA holds an interdenominational Christian church service on campus on Sunday evenings and a Muslim service every Friday. These groups host activities throughout the week including Bible Study, intercessory prayer meetings, morning devotionals, and worship nights. On-campus faith-based organizations, such as the Islamic Community and Youth for Christ (Y4C), are led by students to enable the growth of their peers.
The Academy provides three main meals and three snacks per day catering to a range of dietary requirements including halaal, vegetarian, kosher, vegan, gluten and lactose intolerant. Most meals are served “cafeteria style” allowing students to choose from two or three options and regulate their own portions.
To showcase the diversity of the continent, and to allow each student a chance to get a taste of home, Friday is designated African lunch day and each Friday, the kitchen prepares food from an African country. The kitchen will also typically prepare a special meal for major special occasions, such as Eid, Christmas and Dewali. Once every term, the Academy has a formal Seated Meal at which students are reminded of proper decorum and eating etiquette, preparing them for future formal dining experiences as leaders.
Safety and Security
African Leadership Academy takes security very seriously, and we are a venue that has been trusted by parents and teachers for many years, as well as the many dignitaries that have visited our campus from every level of business and government. We take great care in providing a safe, comfortable environment for our students. Our staff, with many years of combined experience working on successful international student programs, makes sure that every student is safe.
The ALA campus has a strict access policy and is guarded by a 24-hour security service to help ensure the enjoyment and safety of our participants. Each dormitory has an emergency fire door, which is permanently armed. There are surveillance cameras, fire extinguishers, and emergency switches on every hall.