An archive of the 50 previous news items

South Sudan peace activist Peter Biar Ajak freed from prison

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The detention of 2016 Tutu Fellow, Peter Biar Ajak, has ended.  His wife Nyathon Hoth Mai confirmed in a Facebook post that he had been released. His release came several days after his pardon was first announced by South Sudan's President, Salva Kiir. 

The peace advocate was detained without trial by the South Sudan National Security Service on 28 July and held for almost a year.  When he was finally brought to trial on unsubstantiated charges, he was sentenced to two years imprisonment.  President Kiir issued a decree of pardon on 01 January to 30 people, most for minor offenses.  Kiir's list also included two critics of his regime - Peter, and Keribino Agok Wol.  Both were detained in 2018. 

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Dalberg Advisors Elects Edwin Macharia as Global Managing Partner

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2010 Tutu Fellow Edwin Macharia has been elected by Dalberg's equity partners to serve a three-year term beginning on 1 January 2020 as their Global Managing Partner.  He will be the fourth Global Managing Partner since Dalberg’s founding in 2001.  Dalberg Advisors is a leading global consulting firm and social impact group specializing in inclusive and sustainable business, policy, and investment strategy. Edwin succeeds Yana Kakar who was elected in 2013 and re-elected in 2016, serving the maximum of two terms.

Edwin has been with Dalberg for a little more than a decade, during which time he has served in a range of leadership roles.

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Digital Dictatorship versus Digital Democracy

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2019 Tutu Fellow Ronak Gopaldas has had a paper, Digital Dictatorship versus Digital Democracy in Africa, published by SAIIA – the South African Institute of International Affairs. The paper kicks off with a quote from writer Umair Haque, ‘Twitter could have been a town square. But now it’s more like a drunken, heaving mosh pit.’ The quote illustrates the gap between the potential of social media and the internet, and its dark side.

Not that long ago, social media fueled the Arab Spring, bringing down governments. Since then, though, bots, trolls and disinformation campaigns pushing trending algorithms have subverted campaigns such as Brexit and the 2016 US elections and how smartphones and privacy have blurred the line between engagement and surveillance.

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Documentary examines the politics of pesticides

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Award-winning journalist John-Allen Namu's production company has released a new documentary series, Bitter Harvest. The 2017 Tutu Fellow examines the growing negative impact of pesticides on food being grown in Kenya.

Released on World Food Day, the series notes that importation of agrochemicals increased by 144% over the course of the past four years into Kenya.  Many of these are pesticides and herbicides linked to cancer and being used by small-scale farmers. Additionally, protective gear is frequently not used and workers are dying from exposure to these products.

The series is broken into three chapters.

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Tutu Fellow's company wins Nigerian Impact Investing Award

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2007 Tutu Fellow Mezuo Nwuneli's Sahel Capital team has won the Impact Investment Award given by the Impact Investors Foundation at the Blending Finance for Social Investment Conference in Nigeria. The foundation says that the award honors and recognises a leading social enterprise and an investor within the Nigerian impact investing space who have made significant impact by providing solutions through their innovations, products, services or investments.

The award recognises entities who are able to set high standards through their business activities and investment decisions which further underscores the possibility of “doing good while doing well.”

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Fellow is an Apple Music African album chart topper

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2017 Tutu Fellow Jude Abaga - known more famously in the music world as M.I Abaga, the Nigerian hip hop star - became the first African artist with five albums in Apple Music's Top 100 Album Charts.  In his Twitter feed, he thanked his fans for helping all his albums reach that pinnacle. Doubtless the smack talk amongst rappers is going to be fierce, but it is an accolade that speaks for itself.

Jude is a producer and has been the CEO of Chocolate City since June 2015.  He won Best Hip Hop and Best New Act at the 2009 MTV Africa Music Awards, and was nominated in the Best International Act category at the BET Awards in 2010.

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Tutu Fellow on the front line of the Ebola outbreak in the DRC

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2017 Tutu Fellow Yap Boum II has been on the front line of the ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo since it began more than a year ago, in one of the deadliest  ebola epidemics on record.   In July, the outbreak was designated a an international health emergency by the World Health Organisation.

Yap is the regional representative for Epicentre Africa, the research arm of Doctors Without Borders, and has been directly involved in a Phase III trial ebola vaccine that is being used to reduce the numbers of people infected by the disease. Al Jazeera interviewed him about how the struggle to contain the disease is going.

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Fellow's malaria project wins US State Department Award

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A project implemented on Bioko Island in Equatorial Guinea by 2017 Tutu Fellow Mitoha Ondo’o Ayekaba to prevent malaria has won the P3 Impact Award at the 2019 Concordia Summit. In 2016, malaria killed 445,000 people, most were young children in sub-Saharan Africa.  The award was announced by the Office of Global Partnerships at the US Department of State, along with the University of Virginia and Concordia.  The P3 Impact Award recognizes leading cross-sector collaborations that feature public, private, nonprofit, or non-governmental organizations addressing societal challenges.

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2007 Fellow featured for agribusiness finance

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Nigeria's Business Day has written a lengthy profile on the groundbreaking work that 2007 Tutu Fellow Mezuo Nwuneli has done in financing and agribusiness.  It tracks how his company, Sahel Capital, started in agribusiness by backing a startup after discovering that a local noodle company was importing 50 tons of chili pepper a month. 

Mezuo and his wife, who ran the company, believed that chili could be sourced in Nigeria and set out to facilitate import substitution. This was a change from their initial business plan, which was to produce jams, spreads, spices, and seasonings.

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Two Fellows on 2019's 100 Most Influential Young Africans list

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Two Tutu Fellows are on the list of the Africa Youth Awards 2019 100 Most Influential Young Africans.  The list, which was published on 02 October, recognises young Africans whose work has impacted lives across the continent.  The two Fellows on the 2019 list were Rachel Nyaradzo Adams, who was in the Tutu Fellows Class of 2011; and, Nozipho Mbanjwa who was in last year's Class.

The list - which is now in it's fourth year - is comprised of people from 32 countries and celebrates the work of young Africans passionate about changing the narrative of their continent.

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AFLI voices at the UN General Assembly

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A lot of work is done on the sidelines when the UN General Assembly meets, and in October, global business Dalberg, partnered with The Africa Center and the African Leadership Institute to launch the Africa@Work: Future Forum initiative in New York City.  The initiative brought together leaders and innovators from across Africa and the world to create a shared vision around today’s challenges and tomorrow’s opportunities – especially those related to African youth and employment. 

Dalberg partner and 2019 Fellow Robin Miller said that Africa@Work provided curated conversations between Africans and the Diaspora that deepened a shared understanding of African labor market complexities; highlighted and accelerated innovative ideas; and channeled investments towards solutions that positively impact the future of work  in Africa.

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Tutu Fellow joins the Board of the Skoll Foundation

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James Mwangi, a 2010 Tutu Fellow and the Executive Director of the Dalberg Group, has been appointed to the Board of the Skoll Foundation. Mwangi has dedicated the last 20 years to building the Dalberg Group into an organisation that fuels inclusive growth globally.  He started in New York, building Dalberg’s first business, then expanded through Africa.

Throughout this time of growth, Mwangi says he has looked to the Skoll Foundation for inspiration. The Skoll Foundation was founded in 1999 invests in and connects social entrepreneurs and innovators to help them solve the world’s most pressing problems.  It has invested approximately $530 million worldwide.

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2019 Fellow tweets about his Tutu programme experience

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2019 Tutu Fellow Akintunde Ayebode has been tweeting about how he experienced the Tutu Leadership programme this past year.  In the past, Fellows have described it as being a deeply personal journey but haven't necessarily been public on social media.   Akin is a Special Adviser for Ekiti State Government, in Nigeria, where he is responsible for leading the state government’s efforts to make Ekiti an attractive destination for investors and innovation driven enterprises.

The cover photo is a tweet of his in which he says: Asked to submit an iconic photo representing our respective countries for a @TutuFellows class. There are many reasons I chose Ken Geiger & William Snyder’s Pulitzer winning photo. What does it mean to you?  The article below is a compilation of some of Akin's tweets about the Tutu Fellowship programme.

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Fellow launches NGO to fight for the people in Zambia

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2014 Tutu Fellow Linda Kasonde has announced the formation of a new organization called Chapter One Foundation, which she says will be used to promote human rights, constitutionalism and the rule of law in Zambia. It will do so through litigation, advocacy and civic education.  Linda says the foundation was named after Chapter One of the Laws of Zambia, which enshrines the Constitution as the supreme law by which every Zambian, regardless of status, is bound.

Chapter One is already petitioning the Constitutional Court on a matter of law in which it argues a bill limiting how the President can be removed from power is unconstitutional.

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From soil and toil to a new education hub

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2017 Tutu Fellow Rori Tshabala made these moving remarks at the opening of SPARK Schools Rossyn hub, north of Pretoria in August 2019.  SPARK Schools is the brainchild of another Class of 2017 Fellow, Stacey Brewer, who is a cofounder of the schools.  Stacey's vision was to create a sustainable financial model for low-fee private schools in South Africa offering high-quality education.  Since the first one opened in 2012, the network has expanded to serve more than 10 thousand students at 21 schools. These dry statistics are belied by Rori's comments at the opening of the school.  He said:

  My grandmother, at that time a widowed mother of six with pitifully little formal education, used to walk these very fields, through rain and shine, from farm to farm buying the fruit and vegetables that she would then walk many load-bearing miles more to go and sell on the side of the road in order to earn what little she could to feed her children.

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