Forty-Six South African Mandela Washington Fellows Head To The United States

Nkateko Masinga, one of the 2018 Mandela Washington Fellows, shares her experience at the reception with her social media followers.

Forty-six young South Africans will travel to the United States to participate in the Mandela Washington Fellowship, which aims to enhance leadership skills, bolster entrepreneurship, and connect young leaders from across Africa with the American people, and with each another.

During their six-week visit, 28 U.S. universities will host 700 Fellows from sub-Saharan Africa for leadership training, networking and academic coursework, focused on civic leadership, public management, or business and entrepreneurship.  One hundred Fellows will stay for an additional six-week “Professional Development Experience” at a relevant company or organization.

46 Mandela Washington Fellows are off to spend six weeks in the United States!

Speaking at a special reception held for the Fellows in Pretoria, Chargé d’Affaires Jessye Lapenn said, “In 2014, the Washington Fellowship was renamed to honor Nelson Mandela. The program reflects Madiba’s optimism, idealism and belief in what he called the ‘endless heroism of youth.’ The program remains committed to those goals today.  As we celebrate the Mandela Centenary, I hope you take this opportunity to ‘Be the Legacy.’”

Guest speaker for the evening, entrepreneur and art fair director Mandla Sibeko, gave the Fellows inspiring parting words. “You are already great and this fellowship will make you greater.  I admire your dedication and hard work.  You are truly the next great leaders of this continent,” he said.   “My advice? Don’t over think your mistakes, move forward, and possess a ‘no fear’ attitude.  Take the road less traveled!”

Chargé d’Affaires Jessye Lapenn with guest speaker Mandla Sibeko.

Mandela Washington Fellows, aged 25-35, reflect the diversity of the African continent, with participants coming from a variety of backgrounds, professions, and regions.  Participants were selected for their record of promoting innovation and positive change within their organizations, communities and countries.  The Fellows depart for the United States in mid-June.  Learn more about their visit to the United States by following the U.S. Embassy in Twitter and Facebook at USEmbassySA.

For photographs of the event, please visit