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Tutu Fellows celebrate their 10th Anniversary

Tutu Fellows celebrate their 10th Anniversary

Between November 18 and 20, 2016, about 55 Tutu Fellows descended upon the serene and idyllic Nirox Foundation Sculpture Park in the Cradle of Humankind, South Africa, to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Tutu Programme under the theme, Leadership, Consciousness & Change-Making. The celebration also served as a reunion, bringing together Fellows from across the years and across the continent.  This post will try to recapture the magic of that weekend by sharing some of the memorable moments from the event. 

The key word being “try” because it really is difficult to recapture the essence of possibility and connectedness. 

2008 Tutu Fellow Paul Kapelus gives us an overview of the weekend’s events which featured some inspiring guest speakers whose presentations resonated so well they may as well have been Tutu Fellows! We also summarised the talks where Fellows shared their stories, passions and what they are doing to drive the African development agenda. Various Fellows give their impressions of the reunion and what they got out of it.  Last but not least, we feature the Fellows’ tributes to Sean Lance and Peter Wilson, the founders of AFLI.  You can see the full programme event agenda here.

I wish to thank our sponsors who made this reunion possible – the Barclays Africa Group, GSK, Investec, AGCO and Pulse Health – as well the Fellows who contributed financially.  I am also grateful to the Organising Committee especially Swaady Martin and Mokena Makeka.

Happy reading.  Wishing you all a restful break and an inspired start to 2017! 
Dr Jackie Chimhanzi, AFLI CEO.



Memorable quotes from the Reunion Weekend

It is choosing the burden of leadership vs. the seat of it that will create the results Africa needs. Too many leaders are enjoying the seat of leadership. Rachel Adams, 2011 Tutu Fellow and Founder of Narachi Leadership.


It is up to us. It is completely up to us whether we shall lead or whether we shall lag behind. Bright Simons, 2010 Tutu Fellow and Founder of mPedigree


If you and I don’t fix Africa’s challenges, who will?  Ben Magara, keynote speaker and Lonmin CEO


Your leadership can either dim the light in your followers or enable them to shine brighter. Are you sure you are enabling your people? Or are you disabling them? Rachel Adams


I invite leaders to be vulnerable and admit to weaknesses so that they can be supported. Failure to do so results in immense suffering [for the followers] Rachel Adams


Your children will have the right to judge you for the Africa you give them. Cheryl Carolus, South African struggle icon and activist.


When are we going to save ourselves? When are we going to give ourselves the dignity that other nations have? Rachel Adams


The difference between business & politics is that, at least in business, you know what you are optimizing for. Edwin Macharia, 2010 Tutu Fellow and Partner at Dalberg Global Development Advisors.

Reflections from the Cradle of Humankind:  Our Tutu Fellowship 10 Year Reunion

By Paul Kapelus, 2008 Fellow.

From the passionate conversations and debates on the WhatsApp group about the Trump win, the ICC, development, African presidential term limits, visas and movement across Africa and the nature of democracy, I always knew that the Tutu Fellowship’s 10 Year Reunion would be spectacular! But the reality of the reunion was far better than I had imagined.  Here we were, in the most beautiful, historical and meaningful setting of the Cradle of Humankind in the Magaliesberg Mountains, at a venue that provided for reflection on our personal and collective well-being.

I was excited about meeting new Fellows and reconnecting with my 2008 cohort, knowing we have grown a bit older, a bit wiser, a bit bulkier, a bit braver and a whole lot funnier. I was particularly excited about digging deeper into what this thing called a “fellowship” really means and how it has evolved over the course of the 10 years.

The ladies of the inaugural Class of 2006 did not miss out on any opportunity to remind everyone - with good humour - that they are the Elders of the Fellowship and that they paved the way for the rest of the Fellows.

The work of a resident artist at Nirox, Pelagie Gbaguidi, seemed to sum up so much of our weekend experience. She uses art as storytelling, where as an artist, she is a medium connecting us with the past.

Her work looks at the historical discoveries in the area and encourages the viewer to think about what role we play in defining our past, our history, and how we have the responsibility to take ownership of our present and future.

This connected so well to all the talks we heard from the Tutu Fellows, from Ben Magara who was brought in to lead Lonmin after the Marikana tragedy, from Professor Lee Berger who discovered Homo Naledi, and from Cheryl Carolus, an ANC veteran, former South African Ambassador to London and disrupter who provided us with reflections on the kind of leadership we all need to exercise.

Prof Lee Berger, award-winning researcher, explorer, author and paleoanthropologist, famous for the Homo Naledi find in the Cradle of Humankind - the same location as the venue of the Tutu Fellows reunion – explained the significance of the area.  He encouraged the Fellows to continue exploring in their fields so that they can also make new discoveries of their own.  He didn't listen to the skeptics who felt that the age of exploration was over. He continued exploring! For young leaders, at the forefront of change and the attendant challenges, this was much needed encouragement.

Ben Magara talked about the brave decision to accept the role of CEO of Lonmin 6 months after the Marikana killings happened and being the first to publicly apologise for Marikana and his preparedness to deal with the ramifications of a public apology.  “If I didn’t apologise, I would not have been human.  We are humans first before we are CEOs.” 

It was wonderful having GSK, a generous and committed sponsor of the Tutu Fellowship, provide us with insights into their approach to access and supporting health care in Africa.  GSK was ranked first in the 2016 Access to Medicine Index - for the 5th consecutive time -  taking the leading position in research & development; pricing, manufacturing and distribution of medicines; and product donations. The 2016 Index describes GSK as “the most access-oriented company”. The Index is an independent measure of the top 20 pharmaceutical companies’ efforts to improve access to healthcare in developing countries.

The Fellows’ Presentations

The Tutu Fellows who shared their stories rose to the occasion in profound ways – I sat listening in absolute awe as to the quality of the insights, the technical prowess, the determination and the purposefulness of their lives. 

From Lorna Macharia’s personal health journey on her 18-year battle with lupus and the lack of affordable access to medication to Bright Simons’ talk on his innovation, mPedigree, which authenticates and combats counterfeit medicines, I was inspired! 

Ally Angula, from Namibia, shared the inspiring story of how she started her business and how she is contributing to Africa’s industrialisation.  Leap Holdings is active in horticulture, agriculture and clothing manufacture.

We deliberated the need for more young Africans to engage in politics on the continent to effect meaningful change in a discussion that was expertly moderated by Julie Gichuru, Kenyan media personality, Class of 2012, and host of the Africa Leadership Dialogues TV programme.

We also heard about political activism from Tshepo Ditshego, South African, Class of 2016 whilst Marc von Olst South African, Class of 2012 delivered a pithy, tongue-in-cheek presentation entitled Democracy is a Bugger!

Nuradin Osman, 2013 Fellow, went From Refugee to VP. He shared his story of fleeing Somalia and walking some 600km to Kenya. He is now VP and General Manager of AGCO for Africa. AGCO is the World’s 3rd largest global manufacturer and distributor of agricultural equipment. He is working towards food security and wants to make agriculture sexy!

James Mwangi, Kenyan, 2009 Fellow, gave a profound talk on building an inclusive future, the challenge of exclusion and rethinking the social contract. James is an Executive Director with the Dalberg Group which specialises in development issues.

The men were then challenged to rethink how they relate to women at home and in the workplace by Janah Ncube, who has spent most of her career working on gender issues.

Leadership & Consciousness

In the session, Leadership and Consciousness we were challenged to consider how our leadership “can either dim the light in our followers or enable them to shine brighter."

Led by Rachel Adams, Fellows were challenged to contemplate, in the tranquil park, in pairs, the impact of their leadership style on their followers. Self-introspection and vulnerability are key foundations of the Tutu Leadership Programme.   

These talks and walks provided the perfect opportunity to reflect on our personal and collective leadership in practice.   We were all inspired to do more and better!

The Picnic Lunch

After the walk and introspection, the Fellows settled down to a picnic lunch which provided yet another bonding and networking opportunity.

Of Discussions, Deliberations & (Heated) Debates!

Leaders are well informed and have views on things.  The Tutu Fellows have a lot of views … on everything! The reunion would not have been complete without a few discussions on the state of Africa and the current world order.


Tributes were paid to the AFLI Founders - Sean Lance and Peter Wilson - for they are jolly good fellows!  Celebrating the outstanding work of Peter and Sean in sparking the network and nurturing it through many tough times was a highlight of the weekend. That it was at a sculpture park made it all the more significant, and made me consider how they have delicately crafted our network, our purpose, and woven values-based leadership through all our activities, our conversations and our consciousness. 

Sean and Peter were presented with collections of tributes from the Fellows.  Some of them:

Thank you for leading by example. Because of AFLI, Africa is a better place and I am a better person. Forever changed, forever grateful.
Dorothy Ghettuba. Kenya. Class of 2016.

You have given, to the world, the gift of the ever-growing Tutu leaders' fellowship. I am privileged and grateful to be part of that family. Beyond the unique and transformative life experience, you have given us the invaluable opportunity to create bonds with extraordinary siblings. I am personally enriched daily by this fellowship. It is helping me not only to be a better leader but also, a better person. May you and your loved ones remain blessed always.
Swaady Martin. Ivory Coast. Class of 2012

ap·pre·ci·a·tion.  Recognition of the quality, worth, or significance of people and things. Much appreciation for what you have brought to our continent and to our lives through the Fellowship
Dr Geci Karuri-Sebina. Kenya. Class of 2009.

It is incredible that it has already been 7 years since we first met in Mont Fleur. AFLI has provided me with the opportunity to reflect deeply, engage meaningfully and lead purposively. Sean, your call to be "emotional about the future and pragmatic about the past” continues to resonate. Peter, your wisdom, steadfastness and moral compass continue to guide. Both, you are true examples of a life well lived and leadership best exemplified. You have created a programme that will etch indelibly the mark of greatness on the continent, through the Fellows it has nurtured and the dreams brought to life. From the bottom of my heart, Sean, Peter, Thank You!   
Lai Yahaya. Nigeria. Class of 2009.

Thank you for everything.  You have provided us all with the greatest imaginable gift: changing our lives.  Here’s to using this gift to change the trajectory of Africa! 
Bame Pule. Botswana. Class of 2016.

Wow... 10 years already! That you had a vision to grow a new crop of leaders, nurtured that vision, and have made it the leading platform for Africa's new generation of leaders sets an amazing example of how we must keep dreaming impossible dreams. You both made this look so easy. You have created a movement that would outlast generations to come. Thank you, Peter and Sean, for this amazing, seemingly impossible venture of incubating leadership and nurturing it for over 10 years. 
Ify Malo. Nigeria. Class of 2013.

Thank you for your vision and initiative in setting up the Tutu fellowship. It's a truly amazing and life changing experience. 
Nathan Wasolo. Uganda. Class of 2013.

Sean and Peter, you have changed lives. The impact of your commitment to the development of leadership in Africa will certainly outlive us all and shall be more profound than you ever imagined. Thank you. 
Mucha Mkangangwi. Zimbabwe. 2011

I'm convinced that when you were conjuring up this programme 10+ years ago, never in your wildest dreams did you imagine you'd be planting the seeds for an incredible network of Africa's young movers and shakers. Bravo for believing that the 'next generation' of Africa's leaders are transforming the continent now. We are honoured to be called Tutu's children, and owe it all to you for bringing us together.  
Robtel Neajai Pailey. Liberia. Class of 2010.

Also, a huge and resounding 'hear! hear!' to Lord David Hacking for his insights, clever wit and dry sense of humour, allowing us to make sense of our role in this crazy, beautiful, amazing world.   David has been a long-serving member of the AFLI UK board and has been involved with the Tutu programme from the early days.  Thank you, Lord Hacking!

What the Fellows said about the Reunion

A decade on, Peter and Sean, strong African leadership you have steadfastly honed. I have learnt the most, observing your strategic execution and witnessing your tenacity in failure. Through the Tutu Fellowship, you have sharpened my understanding of Africa and opened my eyes to my transformative power as a leader. Thank you and be blessed abundantly.
Martin Mbaya, Kenya. Class of 2015

The calibre of the Tutu Fellows never ceases to amaze me. It feels quite a privilege to be a part of a collective of thoughtful, inspired and ambitious leaders who take the affairs of Africa so seriously. The reunion for me was a symbolism of possibilities. If all of us who attended remain committed to even a fraction of the solutions that were discussed, we are likely to accelerate the development of our continent and its people. As conscientious leaders, we need to be serious about that acceleration. It should not be an absurdity to imagine that what we desire for our continent as a new generation of leaders is possible in our lifetime. I am left both humbled and inspired and am grateful to the organizing committee for making such a beautiful reunion possible. 
Rachel Adams, Zimbabwe. Class of 2011.

The Tutu 10-year Reunion was more than a meet-and-greet weekend event.  It was an opportunity for Fellows to listen, engage, and reflect. The practical nature of the discussions left me with an even greater sense of responsibility to play my role - no matter how small or intimidating it may seem. There is still much to be done!  And done will things be, in quiet boldness, with conviction, together. 
Neema Ndunguru, Tanzania. Class of 2016.

The weekend was an opportunity for the Fellows to stop the press and take stock personally and with relation to what being a Tutu Fellow means. Each and every Fellow I spoke to, regardless of which year they graduated, said they definitely needed this checkpoint and reunion to reignite the very spirit of what our founders envisioned 10 years ago. It was also full of fun, laughter and, of course, good food in the most amazing natural environment. Further, I had the opportunity to lead several conversations and direct discussions "from the front" and what a pleasure that was.
Dr Terence Sibiya, Swaziland. Class of 2007

The reunion was just what I needed. I feel like my battery is now fully charged for the next voyage as a leadership scholar. Every time I meet Tutu fellows I learn something new. It was amazing feeling the raw energy of the class of 2016 and listening to the battle-hardened insights from the class of 2006. Yet, there was a common denominator -  for us all to improve our network and maintain our ethical leadership. I would like to investigate what we can do with our critical mass for health policy towards universal healthcare, as a network. I look forward to working with the AU or AfDB to achieve this for Africa in our own unique way. Kui Macharia, this is for you! 
Dr Moses Alobo, Kenya. Class of 2014

The 10-year reunion was a profound experience. Being in the same space with like-minded individuals with shared values and a passion for making a positive impact on the African continent gives me hope. Seeing what amazing things other Fellows are doing has left me inspired and rejuvenated.  It was definitely a weekend well spent and I'm looking forward to working with all the fellows to make Africa great again.
Tshepo Ditshego,  South Africa.  Class of 2016.

As a 2006 Fellow, I was thrilled to reconnect with the network of Fellows, both the handful from my year, and meet so many new Fellows. There is this implicit trust and understanding between us - you may start a conversation with someone you hardly know with a casual remark, but it deepens quickly into an enlightening exchange and connection. I learnt so much from my fellow Fellows. I was blown away by the activities many Fellows are engaged in. In 2006, we were talking about how we might add value to what we make or extract in Africa so that we keep wealth and job creation in Africa - and here, 10 years later, I witnessed so many of the Fellows doing exactly this, starting successful businesses in so many areas - I was blown away by the entrepreneurial spirit and courage. Many wonderful experiences to describe, but the most profound is this feeling of love I have for this group, the love we have for each other, it’s part of the energy that binds us, its extraordinary and powerful, I see it underpinning our collective and individual actions to effect change on our continent.
Wendy Burgers, South Africa.  Class of 2006.

The reunion was really great for me on many levels.  I am transitioning in both my career & personal life and I needed the spirit of the Fellowship to help me regroup. This happened in many ways- through personal reflection as well as interacting with other fellows. Inspiration was not lacking, I was really driven to "Action" by Ally's talk and truly motivated to believe in my dreams by Prof Lee Berger.  I am also a very different leader since my start on the Tutu Fellowship journey and a whole lot more aware and conscious of how I lead. The program, as a whole, continues to challenge me to give the best of myself and do the best that I can. I believe that we are the leaders we have been waiting for. 
Nkuli Bogopa, South Africa. Class of 2013

Thank you

A massive thank you to the entire organising committee and especially Jackie Chimhanzi, Swaady Martin and Mokena Makeka for making the reunion a wonderful moment for reflection, and harnessing greater energy for our work.   Thank you to Dr Sibiya for being such a great Programme Director!

The thoughtfulness and care that went into the programme provided the perfect backdrop for the reunion. And to each and every Tutu Fellow, whether you were at the reunion or not, for being part of this incredible network and constantly refuelling it with your enthusiasm, insights, wisdom, passion and, of course, crazy moves on the dance floor.  We are who we are because of all of us.
Fellows, let us take our Fellowship to new heights!

Paul Kapelus, Class of 2008.

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