It is with profound sadness that the African Leadership Institute announces the passing of Lorna Irungu-Macharia on 22 March, 2021 due to COVID-19 related complications. Lorna was both an Archbishop Tutu Leadership Fellow of 2010 and a member of the African Leadership Institute’s board.

Lorna is remembered by the Fellows for her “amazing sense of humour, huge heart and brilliant mind”. “We are poorer today but richer to have known her and been on this life journey with her.” She is also remembered for her incredible courage and bravery. Diagnosed with lupus, she would go on to have three kidney transplants in her life.

In her 2012 TED Talk, Lessons from my Three New Kidneys, she said, “I live my life everyday with passion, doing the things I love.” She was never a victim but a victor in life and inspired so many in the process. “We have lost a generous, loving and courageous leader and friend, who overcame tremendous odds, time and again, and made an incredible difference in so many lives,” said James Mwangi, a Tutu Fellow and close friend to the family.

The Fellows convened for a reunion in Mombasa in February 2020. Little did they know that that would be the last time they would see her.  Lorna will be sorely missed.

Our condolences go out to her family and devoted husband, Edwin Macharia, also a 2010 Tutu Fellow, and their daughter, Nancy.

May her soul rest in peace.

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About AFLI



The African Leadership Institute (AFLI) focuses on building the capacity and capability of visionary and strategic leadership across the continent. Developing exceptional leaders representing all spheres of society, the Institute’s flagship programme is the prestigious Archbishop Tutu Leadership Fellowship. Offering a multifaceted learning experience and run in partnership with Oxford University, it is awarded annually to 20-25 carefully chosen candidates, nominated from across Africa. Alumni of the African Leadership Institute form a dynamic network of Fellows passionately committed to the continent’s transformation, bridging the divide between nations and ensuring that Africa is set centre-stage in global affairs.