On 8 September, members of the Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Alumni Association-South Africa (CASFAA-SA) delivered a mentorship and information session to 45 students at the African Leadership Academy (ALA). The academy seeks to transform Africa by developing a powerful network of young leaders. 

Commonwealth Alumni were welcomed by Masresha Esayao, Associate Director of University Guidance at the ALA, who thanked them for sharing their time to mentor students at the academy abut higher education opportunities and their personal experiences as Commonwealth Scholars. He hoped this would become an annual event and encourage students to apply for Commonwealth Scholarships. 

Commonwealth Alumnus Sbonga Dlamini (2021 Scholar, MSc Epidemiology, Imperial College London), Chair of the CASFAA-SA Steering Committee thanked Masresha for his opening and introduced the team of alumni who had volunteered to mentor the students. She encouraged those in attendance to use this opportunity to engage, interact and ask questions to support their career plans and progression. For those already thinking about applying for Commonwealth Scholarships, the team would provide guidance on when to apply, how to write high quality applications, and positioning themselves for impactful study opportunities.  

Alumni introduced themselves and shared their personal experiences of higher education and offered holistic advice to students. This was followed by a Q&A session. In the second part of the event, alumni offered one-on-one mentoring with each student to provide more tailored advice on their career plans and answer specific questions.  

The event closed with thanks from Sbonga to the ALA for hosting the day and she welcomed future opportunities to work with the ALA and support students. Commonwealth Alumni then attended a networking dinner hosted by the ALA.  

Following the event, the ALA management team have requested COSFAA-SA to actualise an annual mentorship and career guidance sessions. These sessions will be supported by the Department for Higher Education and Training.