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Half-time huddle for the 2017 Tutu Fellows - a letter of thanks


Dear Peter, Sean, Jackie and the AFLI team,

Imagine a football game where two teams meet to compete. A game is typically divided into two halves of forty-five minutes each. The teams have trained, prepared and learned as much about each other as possible before showing up on the pitch. Despite this fact, they spend the majority of the first half of the game learning about each other, making major mistakes, figuring things out and adjusting where needed. Then it's half time. The coaches take their teams to the locker room. They review the first half of the game, the players' strengths and weaknesses, and they reshape the team's initial strategy with a view to win the game in the second half. The team goes back onto the pitch with a renewed focus, a transformed view of the world, a better understanding of each individual player, and a rekindled hope for the future.

The 2017 Archbishop Desmond Tutu Leadership Programme has been our half time. In the first half of our lives, we experimented with various strategies to align our circumstances and values with what we think our contribution to the world can be. For the most part, we searched for answers and we had an immense amount of questions before we went to Mount Fleur. Some of us were jaded, fatigued and unclear on how we can maximize our potential for positive impact in our communities. Others were looking for affirmation and inspiration. Thankfully, when the student is ready, the teacher shows up. We are fortunate to have been selected as the 2017 cohort of this programme. It is a well timed and compelling intervention that has caused us to take pause, re-think, re-evaluate and recalibrate our fire for: change, growth and life itself. Our coaches, yourselves, could not have been more well-equipped, caring, and committed to giving us the best in knowledge and experience.

Peter, your fatherly approach to us, albeit strict, made us feel safe with a sense that you genuinely want us to succeed in our practice of this complex concept of leadership. Thank you for your vision, your attention to detail, and your intuitive guidance. Sean, thank you for your insights, your material contribution, your energy and your humour. Jackie, thank you for your approachable nature and your encouragement, and the palpable love you have for AFLI and its continued impact. A heartfelt thanks to all the teachers, speakers and thought-leaders you assembled for our benefit throughout the programme.

You have given us an immeasurable opportunity to self-reflect and make some important decisions that we will take forward into the second half of our journey as leaders. Be assured of this: your efforts have not been in vain. Your words did not fa ll on deaf ears. Your example is well-heeded. Your challenge is accepted. Your legacy lives through us, and we will pay it forward.

There is a Yoruba proverb that summarizes what we have learned throughout the programme: "Where you will sit when you are old shows where you stood in youth."  The service and level of devotion you have shown us in. the process of our training and interactions are testament of your commitment to our beloved continent. You are true examples of leadership and excellence. We will work to demonstrate similar values and vigor for Africa as we continue to contribute to Africa's transformation and future.

Thank you for your work and wisdom.


The 2017 Tutu Fellows


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Wednesday, 01 February 2023

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