Abdulsalam Aderibigbe has more than four years of experience in entrepreneurship and business development. He is the founder of S.A. Leather Works, an enterprise that has leveraged its business process to develop the vocational and entrepreneurship skills of more than 1,000 women and youth. Previously, Abdulsalam worked on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Niger and Nigeria as a management information system officer and advocate for the SDGs. Abdulsalam holds a bachelor’s degree in Linguistics and plans to gain his master’s degree in Applied Linguistics. Abdulsalam is passionate about creating employment opportunities across his community through vocational and entrepreneurship education. On completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, Abdulsalam looks forward to harnessing the knowledge, skills, and networks acquired to establish sustainable partnerships with stakeholders and create a platform for transferring vocational and entrepreneurship skills to more youth in Nigeria and across Africa.
Bodeen Diallo is a lawyer in Guinea. He is currently the chief executive officer of International Campus Atlas, a company that focuses on vocational guidance and training. Through International Campus Atlas, he designed and initiated the Young Talent Contest to get young people involved in educational activities. He is also involved in the Clean Up Your Neighborhood project because he believes in protecting the environment. Bodeen holds a master’s degree in Business Law from the University of Perpignan, a certificate of Emergence of New Activity from Audace France, and a bachelor’s degree in Business Law from École Supérieure des Études Juridiques et Économiques in Morocco. He is fluent in English and French. After completing the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, Bodeen plans to continue his initiatives to help communities in Guinea and to alleviate poverty in Africa and beyond.
Brazhnev Nkanyiso Matonsi
Brazhnev Nkanyiso Matonsi is a business executive in the media industry with more than five years of experience in media business start-ups and operations. Currently, he serves as the group sales and marketing manager for Fairtalk Communications, a media consortium that holds free-to-air radio and television licenses in Zimbabwe. Brazhnev has a Master of Science from the National University of Science and Technology and a Bachelor of Science from the University of Zimbabwe, and is a final-year law student at the Midlands State University Law School. After completing the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, he intends to apply what he has learned to enhance his leadership skills so that he can participate in Zimbabwe's sociopolitical development.
Chris Kaumba is an educator, self-published author, and entrepreneur who is dedicated to promoting personal transformation, growth, and servant leadership development. He is the founder of Manual Proverbs, a non-profit virtual platform that seeks to create an environment that is thought-provoking and unlocks the potential of others. Chris is also the co-founder and chief technology officer of LV Digital, a start-up based in Luanda, Angola that works to bridge the knowledge and skills inequality gap through educational content digitization, translation, and distribution through Academia Nzoji. After completing the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, Chris intends to use his new skills and knowledge to continue helping others make their mark in their communities.
Farida Yahya Habu is a social entrepreneur, author, and active citizen. She is the founder of Brief Academy, which has affected more than 800 women through 200 start-ups over the past six years. She supports these initiatives to provide a sustainable ecosystem that will enable women business leaders to fulfill their potential and lead happy lives. With a bachelor’s degree from the University of Maiduguri, a background in biochemistry and business development, and nine years in the workforce, Farida currently works in Nigeria as a program coach for Future Females Business School. She also runs her own business, Lumo Naturals, a natural hair care solutions brand. After completing the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, Farida intends to pursue her commitment to building and empowering local communities through enterprise development.Farida Yahya Habu is a social entrepreneur, author, and active citizen. She is the founder of Brief Academy, which has affected more than 800 women through 200 start-ups over the past six years. She supports these initiatives to provide a sustainable ecosystem that will enable women business leaders to fulfill their potential and lead happy lives. With a bachelor’s degree from the University of Maiduguri, a background in biochemistry and business development, and nine years in the workforce, Farida currently works in Nigeria as a program coach for Future Females Business School. She also runs her own business, Lumo Naturals, a natural hair care solutions brand. After completing the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, Farida intends to pursue her commitment to building and empowering local communities through enterprise development.
Gautier Tonongbe is an entrepreneur and executive manager with more than five years of experience. Gautier is the founder and managing partner of Nesti Consulting Group, a management consulting firm, and is committed to helping companies, especially small and medium-sized enterprises, perform at a higher level of excellence and become game-changers in their industries. As part of his firm’s activities in 2021, he launched Nestilex, a legaltech platform that offers encrypted technology in an easy-to-use app, giving lawyers secure communication methods when dealing with their clients. Gautier holds master’s degrees in International Law and International Management, and participated in the Seed Transformation Program organized by the Stanford Graduate School. Gautier is a member of several organizations, including the Innovation Law Club Africa and Toastmasters International, where he has received the Distinguished Toastmaster Award, the highest level of educational achievement in the organization. After completing the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, Gautier intends to use the knowledge and skills he will acquire to expand his firm to other African countries, with the ultimate objective of building a unique, innovative African ecosystem to help small and medium-sized enterprises meet the needs of their customers.
Joseanne Amado Lopes Da Silva
Joseanne Lopes da Silva has more than nine years of experience as a procurement manager and team leader at a telecommunications company, and she volunteers with institutions that work with children. She is also co-founder of the Meraki Center, an educational space for children and adolescents, especially those from fragile backgrounds. The center tries to provide a safe, stimulating, and entertaining space where the playful and the pedagogical merge, giving way to fantastic experiences through education and the arts. The main purpose of the initiative is to promote play as a tool integral to the development of children and adolescents that allows them to discover their areas of interest. Joseanne has a degree in Marketing Communication from Methodist University of São Paulo. After completing the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, she intends to apply the knowledge and experience acquired to mobilize resources and find partnerships that will help implement educational projects for the public schools in Cabo Verde.
Democratic Republic of the Congo
Mushayuma Muhindo Josline is a proponent of women's economic development, having empowered over 1,000 female entrepreneurs thus far through her initiatives. She graduated in 2018 with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, and draws upon the skills developed in university throughout her work. As a proud mother herself, Mushayuma hopes that the female entrepreneurs she trains can utilize their entrepreneurial skills to sustain their family needs. On completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, Mushayuma will transfer the skills and knowledge gained from the Fellowship back to trainees in her local community, compounding the Fellowship’s positive impact in the process.
Lamine Gueye has more than seven years of experience as a digital and marketing specialist. He is a global digital marketing officer at the International Committee of the Red Cross. In 2012, Lamine launched SeneBac, the first web platform project in Senegal to help young people be fully prepared for their A-levels (baccalaureate). Lamine started the project because of his personal experience failing the baccalaureate twice. He subsequently dropped out of school and focused on learning through online resources and courses. Lamine’s personal experience convinced him of the importance of educational resources in Africa being accessible to everyone. He was selected as an Emerging Innovator in Sub-Saharan Africa by American Express and Ashoka in 2016, and while studying at the University of Dakar, he was selected as a Google Student Ambassador. As a Fellow for the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, Lamine aspires to become a key changemaker in Africa on social and educational issues. He would like to develop innovative solutions to extend and improve the educational system as well as to make high-quality educational resources accessible to everyone.
Ludmila da Glória Mero is a media specialist from Beira, in Mozambique 's Sofala Province. With a degree in Applied Linguistics from Eduardo Mondlane University, Ludmila is currently serving as a communication and information officer at the United Nations Development Programme’s Electoral Project-SEAM. During her internship at the Mídia Lab Association, Ludmila had the opportunity to participate in the 10th Global Investigative Journalism Conference at Johannesburg’s University of Witwatersrand; her participation later inspired her to produce the first season of the television program Saúde e Vida, broadcasted by Soico Televisão for Mozambique’s h2n Association. Ludmila’s most outstanding work has been on the feature film Savannah Skies, produced while she was an intern at Zambia’s MultiChoice Africa Holdings. The drama was nominated for an Africa Magic Viewers’ Choice Award. Before joining the project, Ludmila was program producer at Miramar Television. As a communication and information officer, Ludmila’s focus is to learn and grow professionally, producing content and exposing realities in a creative, high-quality format. On completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, Ludmila will continue promoting a peaceful and inclusive society by identifying strategic priorities for communication and media relations.
Mercy Kinoti has more than seven years of experience in the education and mentorship sector. She is a teacher at Joytown Secondary School and a mentor with Shak Thika, which prepares learners with disabilities to use their full potential and to lead independent lives. Mercy is also a life coach, mentors youth with disabilities in financial management and life skills, and helps women establish businesses to become financially independent. She is committed to mentoring and empowering youth and women with disabilities to attain social, economic, and financial freedom. Mercy holds a bachelor’s degree in Education. After completing the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, Mercy plans to strengthen her organization and to network with other leaders in mentoring and positively influencing youth and women with disabilities.
Mubarak Musa Ahmed Fodull
Mubarak Musa Ahmed Fodull has more than three years of experience as an entrepreneur. Currently, Mubarak is the co-founder and executive director at Green Space Hub, a social enterprise in Sudan that supports youth entrepreneurship through shared office space and training. Mubarak holds a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and has experience in business training and career development. He has launched bootcamps on career-related topics, teaching young people how to hack the recruitment process, create job-winning resumes, and ace their job interviews. Passionate about business and social entrepreneurship, Mubarak always strives to produce services and opportunities that are valuable to his community. He was featured among the 30 leading social entrepreneurs in Sudan by Pioneer Post, a U.K.-based magazine. After completing the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, Mubarak plans to use the professional networks and skills he gains to help other young entrepreneurs in his community turn their ideas into viable business models. The Fellowship will empower Mubarak to contribute to the creation of a vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem in Sudan and enable him to take his business ventures to the next level.
Nadia Jannie Ratsimba has more than six years of professional experience in law, communications, human resources, and management. Currently, Nadia operates Botsiaka Malagasy, a company she founded that focuses on enhancing the value of Malagasy handicrafts by working with artisans in Madagascar and selling their products online. She also founded a teambuilding company that provides job opportunities for young people and develops interpersonal communication in the workplace. Nadia is also the co-founder of M-LamiNaH, a cleaning service for companies and households that promotes women’s employment and capacity-building. Nadia holds a master’s degree in Domestic and International Public Law from the University of Antananarivo. She is committed to creating jobs and having a social impact in her community. On completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, Nadia plans to develop her businesses and to apply and share the skills she gains to empower young people and people who are unemployed.
Thierry Nathanael Kopia is an entrepreneur working in the digital and social sectors. He is the coordinator of an association of e-commerce actors in Burkina Faso and the country director of Maxim Nyansa IT Solutions, a non-governmental organization that creates career opportunities for young Africans in the information and communications technology field. Thierry has created Digi-Clink, an agency for the development of digital solutions and for coaching in digital entrepreneurship. He is also a co-founder of Yo Man! Ya Kel Ken?, an online sales network, and the inventor of the S-Mask, a smart and connected mask to fight against COVID-19. After completing the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, Thierry plans to continue working with youth in the digital sector.
Nkosana Masuku is an inspirational leader and education innovator with five years of teaching experience. He is the founder and chief executive officer of Phenomenon Technologies, a multi-award-winning start-up that provides applied science learning to students through mixed reality technologies. Nkosana is passionate about educational technology and entrepreneurship. He has helped more than 10,000 students through portable labs that make high-quality science education easily accessible. Nkosana holds several entrepreneurial awards, including the 2019 Junior Chamber International 10 Outstanding Young Persons in Zimbabwe. Nkosana holds a diploma in Secondary Education, specializing in Chemistry, and a marketing nanodegree from Udacity. After completing the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, Nkosana plans to expand his initiatives to more learners across southern Africa, and he intends to create an initiative that will allow secondary learners to gain internships with start-ups.
Democratic Republic of the Congo
Othy Vitswamba has five years’ experience teaching computer science, developing curriculum, and managing the faculty of applied sciences at Université Chrétienne Bilingue du Congo. Currently, he is co-founder of Syglog Technologies, a company that builds software solutions for businesses, and of Lwika, a banking and mobile payment platform that provides low-income people access to financial services. Both ventures bring people out of poverty by making their services more accessible. Othy also co-founded Exponential Congo Lab, a non-profit entrepreneurship hub that fosters innovation at schools in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, mentors start-ups, and connects them to local and international financing. In addition, he co-founded Yirungu University. Still in its early stage, the school will focus on interdisciplinary research and innovation to address challenges facing the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the world. Othy has a bachelor's degree in Computer Science and a master’s degree in Information Technology. He is passionate about bringing together STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education, research, and entrepreneurship to transform society for the better. After completing the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, Othy plans to form new partnerships and adopt the best practices he has learned to the Congolese context.
Paul Oliver Akwabi
Paul Akwabi is a techpreneur and creative information technology consultant with professional knowledge in software, robotics, and business management. He is the founder of Tech Kidz Africa, a technology academy that uses a blended online and offline model to address the lack of practical exposure in school curricula. The academy trains children between 7-19 years old in creative design thinking, online safety, software development, robotics, and character development. In addition, Paul created Afribot robotic kits for programming that are produced using recycled plastic and renewable energy. He is the cabinet secretary for ICT and Innovations for the Mombasa Youth Assembly, a non-partisan organization working with county and national governments to formulate and execute youth policies. He is also a Metis Fellow and the founder of the Young Innovators Magazine, which highlights young adults’ innovations and inspirations. After completing the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, Paul plans to apply his new skills and network to enhance Tech Kidz Africa’s impact.
Phatsimo Mosimanegape has more than nine years of experience working in youth empowerment and in advocacy and policy reforms. She is passionate about youth development issues, entrepreneurship, and indigenous innovation. Phatsimo currently works for Botho University in Botswana as a team leader for employability and entrepreneurship development. She also mentors with various start-ups, such as Seedstars and Blissful Moments, which she co-founded, and serves as the Botswana chair of the Youth Alliance for Leadership and Development in Africa. Through the alliance, she leads high-impact projects, policy peer mentoring, and interregional collaborations. Phatsimo has a background in economics and public administration and is part of the Botswana National Technical Taskforce on the Sustainable Development Goals. After completing the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, Phatsimo hopes to continue assisting communities with much greater insight and to collaborate with other Fellows to provide opportunities in her community.
Samira Garba Hamidou
Samira Garba Hamidou is a co-founder of the start-up SS Agro, which facilitates the transformation and marketing of cassava into gari and attieke to counter the food insecurity facing Niger and to reduce imports into the country. In addition, Samira works for a Danish organization that helps refugees; she is part of the team that ensures coordination throughout Niger. Samira holds a Master of Business Administration in Banking and Finance from the Centre Africain d’Études Supérieures en Gestion. After completing the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, Samira hopes to continue work that will positively affect her environment.
Semhal Guesh Berhe is the founder and chief executive officer of Kabana Leather, a start-up that produces handmade leather products. Semhal uses her training as an architect to enhance her designs in the leather fashion industry. She also leads a consortium of 12 small and medium enterprises that have repurposed their factories to manufacture personal protective equipment in the fight against COVID-19, thereby saving jobs. Semhal is driven to empower women economically, recruiting and training women from her community and refugees as employees of Kabana Leather, with the goal of transforming their livelihoods and families. In addition, she coaches and mentors other women who own start-ups. She was named 2018 Young Female Entrepreneur of the Year by the United Nations Development Programme and Global Entrepreneurship Week. Semhal is also a member of the Association of Women in Boldness and has served on its board. After completing the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, she hopes to contribute to the growth of the leather industry by building a factory and a training facility, which will create jobs and contribute significantly to Ethiopia’s gross domestic product.
Sibusiso Adontsi has more than seven years of experience as managing director at Leather Sole Works and Supplies, a family company that manufactures shoes, belts, and bags. He is also a youth counselor, musician, and spoken-word artist. Sibusiso holds a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Public Administration and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in Divinity. He is committed to helping youth in Lesotho build a strong sense of identity. On completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, Sibusiso plans to build a multipurpose motivation center in Lesotho that will empower youth and equip them with business, art, and self-development skills.
Siyabulela Sokomani is an environmentalist and green entrepreneur who has worked in the horticultural industry for more than 17 years. He founded Nguni Nursery, a plant production nursery in Cape Town, South Africa. The nursery produces high-quality plants and tree saplings and makes them accessible and affordable to organizations that work on land restoration and greening projects and to the horticultural industry as a whole. He is passionate about growing trees and plants in large volumes to help scale up Africa’s restoration goals. Siyabulela is also a co-founder of Township Farmers SA, a community organization that creates small-scale organic farms and environmental awareness in disadvantaged areas. Township Farmers’ Running Tree Campaign holds marathons in which volunteers run with trees strapped to their backs to raise awareness about environmental and climate change issues. Siyabulela is one of five youth ambassadors with the African Forest Landscape Restoration Initiative, a partnership among 20 African governments to restore degraded forests, farms, and grasslands. After completing the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, Siyabulela plans to further focus on restoring degraded lands and to offer jobs and green entrepreneurial opportunities to those in his community.
Taremeredzwa Takudzwa Chirewa is a visual artist and cultural enthusiast with a career spanning more than 10 years. Currently, she is the director of the Zimbabwe German Society/Goethe-Zentrum Harare, a language school and cultural center that focuses on developing and supporting the creative industries in Zimbabwe. Her work there enabled her to launch a masterclass series for creatives in Zimbabwe that has run over the past five years and has turned passions into viable businesses. A 2011 graduate in Fine Arts of the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa, Taremeredzwa has curated exhibitions, managed the 2013 Zimbabwe pavilion at the Venice Biennale, and sat on the Zimbabwe pavilion advisory committee for the 2019 Venice Biennale. She is passionate about the role of women in the creative sector, and she continues to pave the way and create constructive dialogues for other young female creatives through her work as a podcast host, blogger, and speaker. On completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, she hopes to leverage her extensive network and experience to bring respectability to the creative industries and enable more creatives to earn viable livelihoods from what they do best.
Tebello Motshwane Kutoane
Tebello Kutoane has seven years of experience as an attorney specializing in family and commercial law. In 2018, she established Sister In Law, a platform to empower South African women through legal education. Tebello is also the founder of a legal consultancy that provides start-up youth-owned businesses with affordable legal services, and the founder of a non-profit organization that provides soft skills, mentoring, and fundraising for female law students of color. Tebello was featured in True Love, a leading South African magazine, in its Women’s “Month Class of 2018” issue for her outstanding leadership in her field. She is among Mail and Guardian’s Top 200 Young South Africans for Justice and Law. After completing the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, she hopes to further her work in women's empowerment.
Yohannes Ejigu Ademe