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Young leaders expo a symbol of determination by Zimbabweans

The United States Embassy sends its heartfelt congratulations to the Zimbabwean Young Africa Leaders Initiative (Yali) Mandela Washington Fellows for its upcoming “Yali Expo” running under the theme, Harness the Hustle. The event will take place next Saturday at the Meikles Hotel Rooftop from 9am until 4pm.

By David McGuire

David McGuire
David McGuire

The free expo will showcase the exciting projects, innovations, businesses and organisations developed by the fellows, and provide a forum through which they can invite further collaboration from the public. They will also be able to share with a broader audience their motivations and inspirations through a formal programme of speakers.

Since 2012, over 180 young Zimbabweans have been chosen to participate in what is arguably the most competitive fellowship on the continent, and possibly the world. The Mandela Washington Fellowship, the flagship programme of the White House’s Yali, represents the continued commitment of the United States to invest in the future of Africa. It was established as part of the United States’s recognition of the critical and increasing role that young Africans play in strengthening democratic institutions, spurring economic growth, and enhancing peace and security on the continent.

The US shares the desires of the people of Zimbabwe, who want to see a peaceful, democratic and prosperous country that provides for its people and contributes to regional stability. These commitments to the people of Zimbabwe have continued through various US administrations and have allowed us to work together to promote democratic institutions, equitable economic growth, public health, and food security.

The Mandela Washington Fellowship takes the brightest entrepreneurs, business persons, civil society leaders, and public servants between the ages of 25 and 35 to the US for a six-week residency where they participate in rigorous academic and professional practicums with their fellow Africans. After this, fellows travel to Washington DC to meet and network with top US leaders in both the private and public sectors. But the real magic happens when they come home — equipped with vibrant, cross-continent networks and overflowing with, as they like to say, hustle.

Since my arrival in Zimbabwe, I have had the pleasure of witnessing the incredible drive and commitment to their country that Zimbabwe’s fellows represent and I can attest to their contagious spirit. Harness the Hustle, the 2017 Yali Expo is a great initiative by young Zimbabwean leaders to help share that spirit and spur further collaborative growth at home. It will also set the tone for this year’s 2017 Mandela Washington Fellowship programme which will welcome 60 young Zimbabwean leaders to the US in June this year. As they embark on the fellowship programme, we hope the expo can inspire them to make the most of their experience and maximise what they bring home with them afterwards.

Zimbabwean fellows presenting at the expo include successful businesspeople with current, viable businesses across sectors, up-and-coming legal and financial experts, non-profit leaders, youth and women mobilisers, leaders in the arts, and so much more from across Zimbabwe. They have also invited fellows from the region, including South Africa, Lesotho, Congo and Botswana to join them.

Fellows will be exhibiting from 9am until 4pm and have planned a formal programme for the stage that includes thought leaders who have inspired them sharing their own harness the hustle wisdom. More information can be learned at

While the event is entirely of the fellows’ own initiative, the US Embassy would like to encourage all those interested not only in the fellowship, but in a little Saturday inspiration, to join in on the hustle on Saturday.

David McGuire is public affairs officer and spokesperson at the United States Embassy

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