Unearthing Africa’s future leaders

30 July 2003

Fifteen fellows who will comprise the South African contingent of the African Leadership Initiative (ALI) were announced in Johannesburg last week during the inauguration of the Initiative, which is designed to foster a new generation of community-spirited leaders in Africa.

Modelled after the Henry Ford Fellowship Programme of the 53-year-old Aspen Institute in the US, the South African launch of ALI was attended by government, business and civil society leaders from Ghana, Mozambique and East Africa (incorporating Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda), where the programme is already under way.

US representatives of the Aspen Institute and sponsors, Technoserve, were also present.

“We need as many initiatives as we can possibly have to make a huge difference to the continent and put Africa on the map”, said Isaac Shongwe, the South African chairman of ALI. “If one looks up into Africa, it chills the blood to see what human beings are capable of doing to one another.”

Shongwe added that there was a leadership crisis in Africa and that the ALI sought to develop the next generation of values-based, community-spirited leaders by providing them with the necessary tools to meet the challenges of corporate and civic leadership in the 21st century.

“If we want this to be the African century, we need to rise to our challenges and emerge as a continent that could take its place in the global community,” Shongwe said, stressing that talk about the African Renaissance and the continent’s home-grown economic recovery plan, the New Partnership for Arica’s Development, needed to be translated into reality.

As was the case in Ghana, East Africa and Mozambique, each of the 20-member class of fellows was chosen from young executives and professionals on the strength of their potential or demonstrated leadership “at the highest level of corporate and civic responsibility”. Five more members still need to be added to the list of South African ALI fellows.

The South African fellows are mainly representatives of captains of industry, and will attend their first seminar, “The Challenge of Leadership”, in September. Each class will be involved in four seminars and a community leadership project spread over 23 days during the next three years.

“Over the next five years, we hope that approximately 400 people will have graduated from the programme”, said Bill Mayer, the chairman of the Aspen Institute.

“A significant number of these could have a heavy influence on how your economies have developed, are developing and will develop. They will hopefully succeed in stimulating economic growth on the continent coupled with a strong sense of responsibility to humankind.”

The 15 South African fellows announced last week are:


  • LEBOGANG HASHATSE: general manager of corporate affairs, Multichoice
  • ARTHUR MUTAMBARA: director of payments, Stanbic Africa
  • KETSO GORDHAN: executive director, Rand Merchant Bank
  • IQBAL SURVE: chief executive officer, Sekunjalo Investments
  • LESLIE MAASDORP: international adviser, Goldman Sachs International
  • HERMAN STEYN: CEO, Prescient Investments Management
  • BRUCE ROBERTSON: managing director, Africa Resources Holdings Ltd
  • LINDIWE SANGWENI-SIDDO: general manager, Sandton Sun & Towers Intercontinental
  • LULU GWAGWA: chief executive, Independent Development Trust
  • THOLOANE QHOBELA: strategic planning director, Ogilvy & Mather Rightford
  • BERNICE LUE-MARAIS: head of Africa business development, CSIR
  • BONGIWE NJOBE: director-general, National Department of Agriclture
  • HENRY MALINGA: chief director of supply chain policy, National Treasury
  • RALPH FREEZE: chairman of the board, Spier Leisure Holdings
  • SANDILE DIKENI: arts editor, This Day SASource: African Leadership Initiative SA