Who made it to the top of the Western Cape list for #YALI2015?

Thousands of hopeful young South Africans applied to participate in the Mandela Washington Young African Leaders Initiative (#YALI2015).

This year’s fellows will travel to the United States, attend the best universities in the country, and to top it all off they will meet President Barack Obama.

Let’s find out who from the Western Cape made it to the #YALI2015 list…

Siphiwe Ngwenya

Artist and Social Entrepreneur

Siphiwe is on a mission to turn South Africa’s townships into towns that nurture and serve the people.

He began in his hometown of Alexandra, Johannesburg and started asking neighbors if he could display his artwork in their houses, effectively turning their homes into galleries. Fastforward a few years and he expanded these “community creative districts” into six townships across South Africa. Siphiwe administers more than 120 home galleries through his company Arts Township International. He wants to expand this across the continent and the world.

Follow him on twitter @mabonengarts

Tracy Jooste

Director of Policy and Research for the Western Cape Department of Human Settlements

Tracy is committed to ensuring dignity for the less fortunate by successfully partnering with relevant stakeholders to advance the national housing policy.

She has made innovative contributions in the areas of housing finance, digital data collection and subsidy mechanisms. Tracy has studied in the Netherlands, presented award-winning research in Germany and serves as a mentor for local youth. She aims to become a leader in the fields of housing and development finance.

Luthando Chris Vuba

Town and Regional Planner at the Western Cape Government

Luthando is using his skills to help overcome the negative spatial effects of Apartheid

He is a planner in the Western Cape’s Department of Transportation and Public Works and is ensuring vulnerable populations have access to key services, including rural learners to education. Luthando wants to inspire others with his own story and ultimately seeks to work for either the World Bank or the African Development Bank.

Follow him on Twitter @CVuba

Khayakazi Namfu

Property Asset Manager at National Department of Public Works

Khayakazi is passionate about rural and agriculture development and is currently assisting Lizalise Farming, a farming cooperative in Atlantis, Cape Town with accessing resources and opportunities for the land they occupy.

She is a Public Sector Real Estate Property Asset Manager in the National Department of Public Works. Previously, Khayakazi was a senior professional officer with the City of Cape Town where she researched and designed a ground-breaking portfolio management system which was later presented at an international public property symposium.

She hopes to continue working in the public sector while establishing an organic farm that can serve as a sustainable model for others.

Shane Vermooten

Filmmaker and Entrepreneur

Shane is an award-winning filmmaker and entrepreneur who believes in the power of technology to empower Africa. In addition to working for the Cape Town digital hubspace and business incubator RLabs, Shane also runs a social empowerment NGO in the townships called Flikabox which shows movies and teaches local youth basic movie-making skills.

He wants to incubate a film industry in Africa that produces movies that matter.

Follow him on Twitter @Just_Shane

Rethabile Mashale-Sonibare

Ph.D candidate in Social Work at the University of Stellenbosch

Rethabile is passionate about advancing the access to education and economic mobility of African girls across the continent. After working in the non-profit sector, Rethabile decided to pursue her own research on the topic and launched her own NGO called the Thope Foundation.

The organization is dedicated to supporting young girls to stay in school, prevent teen pregnancy, and mitigate the effects of HIV/AIDS in the community. A self-motivator, Rethabile is committed to give back and she serves as a mentor, motivational speaker, and member of various non-profit boards.

Follow her on Twitter @RitsieMashale

This year #YALI2015 fellows will participate in a 6-week leadership and mentoring program; meet U.S. government, civic and business leaders; and have access to exceptional internships and apprenticeship opportunities.

“Africa’s future belongs to its young people. We need young Africans who are standing up and making things happen not only in their own countries but around the world.”
— President Barack Obama
2015 YALI fellows and 2014 alumni with Justice Albie Sachs and Consul General Teddy B. Taylor

Congratulations to all the #YALI2015 fellows.

For more information, follow us on Twitter at @USConsCapeTown or visit our website