Medill students and faculty welcomed two fellows from the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders on Thursday, July 24, 2014, a wide-ranging diplomatic program run by the Program of African Studies at Northwestern, with the Farley Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation and the Center for Leadership. The Young African Leaders Initiative, of which the Mandela Washington Fellowship is a part, is a program of the White House, U.S. State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development. A total of 25 Mandela Washington Fellows participated in the Business and Entrepreneurship Institute, a 6-week program which included classroom learning, site visits and community service in Evanston and Chicago.
Medill students and faculty welcomed a delegation on Thursday, July 24, 2014, from the Young African Leaders Initiative, a wide-ranging diplomatic program run jointly by the White House, U.S. State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development.
The delegates have been studying at Northwestern this summer as part of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, which allows 500 young African leaders to receive training in business and public-sector management at 20 of America’s top universities.
Thursday’s delegation consisted of media entrepreneurs and documentary filmmakers, who discussed the role of the media in fostering social change in sub-Saharan Africa. They showed samples of their work and answered questions at Medill’s McCormick Tribune Center.
South African delegate Khanyisile Magubane, whose six-part documentary series about violence in South Africa was broadcast there in 2012, said that her experiences studying in the U.S. were “about finding universal issues.”
“In South Africa, the laws and policies are there, but the implementation is not,” Magubane said. “People need to become more aware, and this is where the media comes in.”
Magubane’s films explore the historical and psychological roots of many of South Africa’s social problems, including violence against women and homosexuals, civic unrest, xenophobia and racism.
Magubane spoke Thurday on a range of issues, from technical points about audience engagement and sensational imagery to broad historical questions about colonialism and geopolitics. “I want people in South Africa to know that they are not poor by coincidence,” she said. “There were factors that shaped this.”
Medill associate professor Douglas Foster helped bring the delegation to Medill and acted as an occasional moderator.“We want to be increasingly global,” he said. “Not just sending U.S. students out but bringing international voices in.”
Foster has written extensively on South Africa. His most recent book is “After Mandela: The Struggle for Freedom in Post-Apartheid South Africa,” which looks at civil rights and emerging political structures in contemporary South Africa.
Delegate Paul Victor Oloo, who heads a production company in Nairobi, Kenya, exhibited his short film “Deceit” and talked about covering sensitive subjects like domestic violence and violence against women. For his films, Oloo has interviewed both the victims and the perpetrators of sexual violence.
“You have to have the strength for unpleasant things,” he said.
The delegates’ educational ventures at Northwestern have centered on management and entrepreneurship. “This fellowship is really about the business of leadership,” Khanyisile Magubane said. “I’m learning how to be a good manager, how to run a business day-to-day, how to diversify streams of income — everything it takes.”