My one year journey at the African Leadership Academy in South Africa

SEGA graduate Nusura reflects on her experience attending the prestigious African Leadership Academy in South Africa.

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Nusura in the summer of 2017

In 2015, when I was in form four (grade 10) I applied to an entrepreneurial leadership School called African Leadership Academy (ALA). ALA identifies young people with leadership potential, and entrepreneurial spirit with a record of community service and cultivates these leaders throughout their lives into university and beyond. After a long period of waiting, I got accepted and was one of only five students from Tanzania (and 130 from the entire African continent). On September 3rd last year I started my journey to South Africa, Johannesburg to start my new life in the Academy as a first year student.

I got to the Academy and my first word was “WOW”. I believed it was going to neither be easy nor hard. The community was filled with happy faces, young leaders from across the African continent and some from outside Africa. It was amazing seeing these people happy and full of energy. As I have gotten to know these young leaders my perspective on Africa changed.  Before I had this idea that Africa is not a place to live because there are lots of negative things happening on the continent: underdevelopment, corruption, conflicts etc. so I told myself that no one can come and bring changes. However, when I joined the Academy, my thoughts changed as I saw these different young people from across Africa having the potential to change the continent and the lives of many. I then realized that if everyone is going to run away from Africa who will change it, who will make Africa a better place for everyone. The answer I got from myself was that I and the people of my age (youths), we are the ones to create the change.  That’s when I started to find out what exactly I wanted to change. I worked so hard to know what I was really passionate about. I realized I would really love to work with girls.

Nusura at SEGA in 2012

Nusura at SEGA in 2012

During my first year at the Academy I had a lot of time to reflect on almost everything I was doing. I had time to ask questions of many people about their respective countries and get answers, sometimes I had to research in order to find out the answers. I have grown so much as an individual. I have understood that believing in your goal and working hard to achieve it will make things easier.

I have had lots of practical learning as well.  I first had to learn about myself, find out my weaknesses and strengths. It wasn’t an easy thing. I also had to find out what I really want to change in my community back at Tanzania and that is when I started working on wanting to start an organization for girls that will provide them with life skills education and entrepreneurship because the biggest problem in Tanzania is early pregnancies and marriages. I am currently thinking of opening up my organization and I want to major in Gender Studies and Entrepreneurship when I go to University next year.

I am currently in Tanzania on my two month break from school and I decided to come and volunteer at SEGA. I am helping out with the visitors’ at SEGA and working with the Education For Life department.  I sometimes teach the girls at school life skills and English. I give the girls advice as well so I consider myself as a peer counselor. So far I have been enjoying what I am doing, since I love working with girls and seeing them grow.  Before I head back to school I, along with one of the African Leadership Academy students, will conduct an Entrepreneur Leadership Training for some of the girls at SEGA. We will share with the girls what we have been learning at the Academy in our first year and will encourage them to be agents of change in their communities.

Nusura volunteering at SEGA in the summer of 2017

Nusura volunteering at SEGA in the summer of 2017

I would like to take this time to thank Nurturing Minds and The SEGA School supporters, the SEGA director, my teachers, my counselors, SEGA’s volunteers, and my classmates for making me who I am today. It is because of all of their support that I have reached where I am today.  I am so grateful for the opportunity that I got to study at the SEGA School and for all that it has done to prepare me for the next steps in my life. I can’t wait to share my achievements with you all.

– Nusura