Not only did September mark the soft beginning of spring in Johannesburg, it also signaled the commencement of the new academic year at ALA. This year, students from over 35 countries have formed our 12th cohort of young leaders embarking on a transformative two-year journey at the Academy.
Meet some of the new students on campus:
Nafisa Ahmed (Sudan)
Nafisa is a feminist and activist from Khartoum who believes in the social, political and economic equality of the sexes. She is passionate about her country and continent at large and has organized a range of peaceful protests to shed light on some of the poor living conditions in her country.
Meriam Moujahed (Tunisia)
This young leader is a co-founder and business manager of the mobile app, FeedUce. The app connects families, restaurants, schools and university canteens who have an excess of food, to organizations that provide marginalized communities with food. FeedUce won first place at the 2018 Technovation Challenge.
Khulekani Mkwanazi (South Africa)
Spoken-word artist Khulekani Mkwanazi believes in the transformative power of the arts, so much so that he co-founded The ATOMS, a performance group that aims to promote the writing and performance of poetry in his community. He also launched an annual workshop named Youth Alive that invites young poets to a 2-hour workshop where they perform to an audience and receive constructive feedback to further hone and perfect their craft. He now plans to host regular poetry sessions for scholars.
Rachel Langalanga (Zimbabwe)
Rachel is a junior parliamentarian (the youngest in her country) who entered parliament at the age of 14 to “represent the voice of the voiceless”. She is also the recipient of the 2017 Excellency Award for being the best student in both the internal and national O Level ZIMSEC exams, having achieved seven distinctions.
Maxwell Simba (Kenya)
Maxwell describes himself as a compassionate, curious and ambitious young man who pursues excellence in everything he does. Some of his achievements include playing lead actor in The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, a Netflix Biopic that follows the life of ALA alum, William Kamkwamba; earning first position in an Engineering project in Kiambu County in Kenya; and being the second runner up to the Best Actor title at the Kenya Drama Festival 2017.
Kelton Massinga (Mozambique)
Kelton is a driven, inquisitive young man that isn’t scared of asking thought-provoking questions. He launched a motivational lecture program titled “Path for Greatness” where he talks to young people in his country about the issues they face in their community and how they can solve them. He has begun uploading these motivational speeches on YouTube in order to reach a wider audience. He is also a member of Mozambique’s first-ever youth big band, called The More Jazz Big Band where he plays the saxophone.
Adedamola Ogunlowo (Nigeria)
After identifying that some of his peers were struggling academically, Adedamola decided to do something about it. He organized extra classes, tests, textbooks and more for these students, and ultimately saw an increase in their grades. Adedamola claims to have also benefitted from this initiative as his grades increased too! This young leader is also the holder of a range of awards, including math Olympiad and soccer, which he has received throughout his high school career.
Imani Cherubala (Democratic Republic of Congo)
Imani is a writer, dancer, and activist who is passionate about community work. At age 13, she led a team of 20 students in order to collect food, clothing and $5000 as part of a fundraising effort for Kimbondo Orphanage in her community. To date, some of her proudest achievements include organizing various fundraisers for her high school and orphanages; and starting a consent campaign for youth in her middle school titled “Just Say No”.
Towela Chawezi Tembo (Zambia/Botswana)
Towela is a photographer and all-round artist who has already begun to make an impact through her art. This young leader’s vision is to tap into media influence through photography and direct that power to vulnerable, social groups that are oftentimes overlooked by society. She brings to the attention the burning social issues faced by young Africans and African artists in efforts to change the narrative and bring about social development for the benefit of the continent. She has produced four documentaries so far.