Programme Overview


As AFLI’s flagship leadership development programme, the Tutu Leadership Fellowship Programme welcomes an elite group of Africa’s highest potential young leaders, representing a wide range of sectors. Offered on a part-time basis over six months, the Programme includes two 9-day Group Learning Modules with an impressive array of distinguished leaders and faculty. These are intensive interactive workshops; one at the historic Mont Fleur conference facility (South Africa), and the other split between Oxford University and London (UK).  The video below explains effectively how our program works.

 The Programme has been designed specifically for African leaders in consultation with our African faculty and advisors and with Oxford, whose famous tutorial style has been adopted. It provides participants with an intensive learning and broadening experience on the principles and application of leadership, and an opportunity to explore the issues and specific characteristics of leadership in Africa, as well as the global challenges and dimensions of an African leader.AFLI Tutu Fellows

The programme places emphasis on learning and experiencing, not teaching, offering a variety of formal and innovative informal learning opportunities to enhance the leadership capabilities of the candidate. Emphasis is also placed on peer interaction and feedback, and the participants highly value being able to share pan-African perspectives and experiences. Overall it provides a unique environment for mid-career self reflection on one’s leadership journey in transforming Africa, and has been described as life changing by many participants.

Between modules, Group Projects are undertaken. The objective of the project is for the group to develop solutions for some of the challenges that Africa is facing. This is an opportunity for participants to work through the scenario planning methodology and put it into practice. In addition, candidates are required to develop their own individual projects (in consultation with their mentors), and submit these in a year-end dissertation for peer review. Over the years, the range of these Community Projects has been extensive and impactful with a strong focus on the youth.

Upon completing the Programme, Tutu Fellows return to play active roles in their respective communities, countries and spheres of influence. Great value is placed upon becoming a member of an established exclusive and supportive network of Africa’s future leaders – the Tutu Fellows. As part of this network of global leaders, all Fellows are expected to attend AFLI alumni events, as well as function as ambassadors for the Fellowship across all segments of society.

Al Jazeera News has done a four-part documentary series on the Tutu Leadership programme that provides additional insights.Tutus Children Al Jazeera

Selection Process


As one would expect from a programme that targets the cream of Africa’s future leaders who are deemed to bring about massive change throughout the continent, the selection of candidates for the Fellowship is rigorous and thorough.

Competition is extremely tough for the 20 fellowship places available; each year we receive more than 300 top-quality nominations from all over Africa, which are put forward by our existing Fellows, partners and network of influential leaders. The Awards are aimed at the cream of the continent’s future leaders, specifically targeting the next generation of Africa’s leaders in all sectors of society, between the ages of 25 and 39. (They must be under the age of 40 on 30 April of the year of the programme.)

Candidates must be citizens of an African country, and must be currently living in Africa, or temporarily placed abroad by their employer or completing further education abroad, or working on African projects for a global organisation. They should be committed to living in Africa and to actively contributing to its long-term success. We are keen to seek outstanding candidates who may not otherwise have access to such a leadership training opportunity or who have not yet benefitted from the variety of leadership initiatives now being offered by various institutions.

Only nominated candidates will be considered for admission into the programme. Nominators are required to complete the Nomination Form for a proposed candidate with a deadline for receipt of nominations of 15th December in the year prior to the programme.  Nomination forms will be reviewed and selected nominees invited to submit an application to AFLI. In terms of selection criteria, AFLI emphasizes integrity, strong values and responsibility, courage and a demonstrated ability to lead and inspire. A candidate must demonstrate a commitment to Africa and to serving the greater community. We seek leaders not managers.

Impact of COVID-19 on the Programme


It is clear that we are living in exceptional and unprecedented times. The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted our ways of working and interacting and, naturally, AFLI has also been impacted.  When the effects of the pandemic were starting to be felt in March 2020, we had just completed the process of selecting our 2020 Archbishop Tutu Leadership Associates.  The rapid spread of the disease globally that resulted in draconian measures to limit contact between people, travel bans and quarantining of travelers when they reach their destination, made the logistics for our leadership workshops in Cape Town in April and at Oxford University and in London in September very complicated, not only for Associates, but also for faculty and speakers.

To that end, the AFLI COVID-19 Board Sub-Committee took the decision to postpone the 2020 Class to 2021. The option of virtual workshops was explored but decided against. The Tutu Programme has gained its reputation as the foremost leadership programme on the continent for emerging leaders, partly due to its design. It is designed to be an intimate, quality experience of 25 participants, and the programme is predicated on the personal interactions and the deep bonds that the Fellows forge amongst themselves. A virtual programme would have reduced the leadership experiential learning to a mere leadership class.

The implication of the 2020 Class being deferred to 2021 means that AFLI will not be opening the nomination process in October 2020. Effectively, we will only be opening nominations again in October 2021 for the 2022 Class, but will only know for certain as we continue to monitor the pandemic. We thank you for your support and interest in the work that we do.

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