African Leadership Academy students, faculty, staff, and friends celebrated the opening of this amazing new institution on September 5 with a special concert from South African musical legend Vusi Mahlasela. A native of Mamelodi township, South Africa, Mahlasela’s noteworthy career includes performances at Nelson Mandela’s Inauguration in 1994 and the Live 8 concert in Johannesburg in 2005. Fellow South African Dave Matthews calls Mahlasela “one of the most important influences of my life.”
After his 75 minute set, Mahlasela was asked to share his thoughts on the development and opening of African Leadership Academy. “The time has come for Africa to open a new chapter,” Mahlasela said. “Young skilled Africans will emerge and embrace their collective skills and talents not only to bring hope but also put in place the right vision and mindset for the continent. ALA will produce role models who will bring prosperity, health, economic growth and alleviate poverty. A tree of knowledge has been planted, and let its fruits bring us the Soul Shine Africa!”
On Friday evening, Mahlasela added the first performance at the African Leadership Academy auditorium to his litany of memorable shows. Mahlasela electrified the crowd throughout the evening with classic songs like “When You Come Back” and “Silang Mabele.” But perhaps the highlight of the event came in the second song, when Mahlasela invited ALA students Winnie Imbuchi and Tabitha Tongoi to join his band to perform “School for Africa,” a song the two girls wrote during African Leadership Academy’s Finalist Weekend in Kenya in March.