‘Global citizen’ Naomi Campbell tours ALA

The recent Mandela 100 campaign brought various world leaders and dignitaries to South Africa – and African Leadership Academy’s campus. It was here that President Barack Obama launched the Obama Foundation’s Leaders Africa program. It was also here, on Monday, 9 July 2018, that we welcomed Naomi Campbell.

The famed British supermodel turned businesswoman was in South Africa to launch the Global Citizen campaign, to mark Nelson Mandela’s centenary in honour of his 100th birthday – and took time off her trip to learn about the Academy, and the mission and vision we have for Africa and her youth.

Naomi formed a deep bond with Nelson Mandela, whom she met in 1994, and who referred to her as his ‘honorary granddaughter’. His legacy inspired her philanthropism: she has long been a strong supporter of the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund, and has also founded various international charities, though her work centers around helping the children and people of sub-Saharan Africa.

So it is no surprise that she was eager to pay us a visit to spend time with our young leaders.

Accompanied by our CEO and co-founder Chris Bradford and three of our young leaders: Obakeng Leseyane, Kezia Adesanya, Keabetswe Zondi and Sian Philips, Naomi was given a tour of our campus. They discussed social issues and their perspective on the current social climate of the world, as well as the work they all hope to do to make a difference.

It was inspiring to see her interaction with the young leaders and the impact it made. Naomi was warm and receptive and was excited to meet other members of the community. We hope she visits again soon and looks forward to her continued philanthropy in the continent at large.

The model and actress turned businesswoman and philanthropist will host the annual Global Citizen Festival, which she also produces, on its first ever African stage. The music festival, to be held at Johannesburg’s FNB Stadium on December 2, features global music stars such as Beyonce, Jay-Z and Ed Sheeran, and includes SA’s Cassper Nyovest, amonst others.

The concert, says Naomi, is aimed at “inspiring people and creating awareness of the world as a global citizen — we are all a global citizen.” She noted that “whether we like it or not, air travel, social media, climate change and television have connected us to such degree that it is no longer possible to put our heads in the sand and pretend our brothers and sisters do not exist. We are all in this together.”

The Mandela 100 campaign aims to raise $1 billion in new commitments to go toward children’s education and the eradication of extreme poverty by 2030.

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