Celebrating ALA’s Class of 2022

On Thursday, ALA’s 15th class, the class of 2022, graduated from the Academy. Ninety-eight students walked across the stage, joining an alumni community of over 1,300 ALA graduates studying and working around the globe.

Danai Gurira, Zimbabwean actress and playwright, joined as our Guest of Honor. Danai is best known for her performances in various mediums. Her excellence emanates in every role she takes on, from her portrayal of Michonne in “The Walking Dead” to her powerful performance as Okoye in “Black Panther.”

Danai reminded the Class of 2022 of their pledge to work towards Africa’s betterment. She highlighted the continent’s immense wealth and urged graduates to recognize their power and potential. Addressing the tension between revolutionaries and reformists, she emphasized the importance of rebellion and using their unique strengths. Gurira shared her journey of overcoming resistance to bring African stories to the forefront, encouraging graduates to learn the rules only to break them and create their own paths. She concluded by stressing the urgent work needed on the continent and urging them to pursue their visions passionately.

Student speaker Letšabisa Motšoene reflected on the question, “Would it have mattered to the continent that you have lived?” Drawing from her journey at ALA, she shared her initial struggles with self-doubt and finding purpose amidst her talented peers. She emphasized the importance of finding a cause to pursue relentlessly, using the BUILD model as a guide. Letšabisa highlighted the resilience, courage, and dedication of her classmates and encouraged them to translate these qualities into impactful actions for Africa.

Graduation Awards

Each year, ALA honors four exceptional graduates for their outstanding leadership inside and outside the classroom. This year’s awards celebrate:

  • Leadership Award: Tiekoura Ouattara, Côte d’Ivoire
  • Sani Prize: Fabris Mulindi, Uganda
  • Spirit of Africa Award: Djomompinin Aimée Juliana Tuo, Côte d’Ivoire
  • Academic Excellence: Lesley Machimbidza, Zimbabwe

An Honorary Diploma in Leadership was awarded to Danai Gurira for her storytelling, vision, and passion for Africa.

Launch of the Shaheen Jassat Scholarship

Our Guest of Honor, Danai Gurira, proudly announced the Shaheen Jassat Scholarship, established to celebrate artistic expression, achievement, and emerging leadership in the arts across Africa. Each year, this scholarship will be awarded to a rising Year 2 student who demonstrates exceptional excellence and leadership in the arts. The inaugural Shaheen Jassat Scholarship was awarded to Khanya Ntobeko Madlala ’23 from South Africa. Khanya is a published writer and performing artist, most recently featured in “Divided We Stand, United by Land” at the Festival of Excellence in Dramatic Arts.

Congratulations to the class of 2022! We are excited to see how you’ll use your passions and talents to shape the continent.

Missed the ceremony? Watch it below!


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