What Leadership Means to Me: ALA’s holiday program students reflect on Mandela’s Centenary

The youth of today are the leaders of tomorrow.’


Holiday camps hold numerous benefits for youth: most promote physical activity, encourage teamwork and strengthen character. ALA’S Global Scolars Program goes a few steps further, bringing together youth from all over the world to explore South Africa while building leadership and entrepreneurial skills in real environments.

With GSP’s 2018 camps coinciding with Mandela Centenary Celebrations across the country – bringing world leaders and dignitaries from all over the globe – it seemed fitting to find out how a few participants defined leadership… 

Olive Ndikum, 16

Dewey International School Of Applied Sciences, Douala, Cameroon

I can sum up my GSP experience in one word: fruitful. I loved every single activity not just because it was fun, but because it teaches you about life and leadership. I have eaten so much from the fruits of the different activities and people I have met here, from such diverse background.

Before GSP I defined leadership as: to be in front, with everybody behind you following. Now, it’s modified to describing someone who knows how to Lead and Listen; someone who is open to listening to others’ ideas, and understanding others’ situations. For example, in a classroom, the teacher is the leader because he is the instructor/gives instructions but he is a true leader if he asks questions, and learns through his students.

Yusuf Mukhtar, 16 

Nigerian-born, Deerfield Academy, Milton, USA

My dad had heard of GSP and came on a tour to see what it was all about, and he liked it, so he sent me here. I love that I’ve come to a place I’d never been before, and have met people from so many different places, and got to know them really well. And I improved my leadership skills, too. I would have described teamwork as my definition of Leadership, and it is part of it, but now I think of leadership as being able to bring a group together, under one focused goal, and stay on track – it’s not just about leading.

Adaora Ubosi, 15

Nigerian born, Cheltenham Ladies College, UK

I’ve been to summer camps at Yale, and EXPLO at Wellesley, near New York, but this is my first GSP. Three or four of my friends from home came to GSP last summer, and told me all about it. They loved it so much that I was inspired to come. My mom did some research, and signed me up.

I think I’ve learned way more here than at other camps. This one is specific to leadership, and is a lot more culturally diverse – I’d never met anyone from Cameroon, Zimbabwe or Uganda before. It’s also changed my concept of leadership. I’d always associated the word leader with someone who is bossy; now, it means being able to follow as well as lead; to not dominate, but be able to step back. To me, leadership means being able to cooperate and understand everyone in your team and use those strengths and advantages to obtain the best result in the end.

Joshua Katamba, 16

Uganda-born, St Andrews School,  Kenya

I had thought of leadership in the clichéd way: as someone who is authoritative, bossy and ]commanding. Now, it’s more like… a leader is someone who can relate more with the people they’re leading. Mopati (Morake, GSP Director) at the camp is a true leader, because he takes the blame for everything – sometimes you have to sacrifice and take one for the team. With true jeadership you’re not the boss, you are leading from within; rather than telling guys to do something, you do it first.

Click here to see what previous participants have to say about Leadership learning, the GSP way…. or take this video tour of ALA’s GSP camps.


Related Articles

Fueling Innovation and Leadership: Introducing the Chevron Engineering Leadership Program at...

Since 2016, Chevron has been investing in aspiring young leaders pursuing impactful careers in countries where Chevron operates on the continent. These students are...

2022 Global Scholars Program Applications are Open

We are inviting youth from all over the world to experience a transformative African leadership camp through the Global Scholars Program (GSP) at African Leadership Academy (ALA). Over the...

2019 Global Scholars Program Welcomes Young Leaders from 20 Countries

Now in its ninth season of delivering a transformative experiential learning experience in self-awareness, service learning and social impact to scholars across the globe,...

Meet Colette Campbell: ALA’s Catalyst Term Student, 2018

In April 2015, African Leadership Academy launched its Catalyst Term program, offering an opportunity to extend its global offerings to a select group of students from...