The African Development Successes website brings you dozens of stories about African leaders bringing effective change to their communities and beyond. Launched in late 2014, the site contains more than 60 profiles of innovative leaders from across the continent in business, health access, education, human rights, environmental protection, and more. Those featured range from emerging leaders that are barely out of their teens to Heads of State and Nobel Laureates. Generally each person featured has been recognized with at least one national or international level award.
For younger, emerging leaders most of the stories are generated through interviews, whereas for celebrities like Nigerian football legend Nwankwo Kanu and the DRC’s Basketball Hall of Fame star, Mutombo, the short biographies are generated through minor research. The stories of legends like Wangari Maathai of Kenya and Nelson Mandela of South Africa were similarly generated through minor research.
Some examples of lesser known rising stars featured on the site include social entrepreneur Heinrich Hafeni who was inaugurated into Namibia’s Business Hall of Fame for his work in the field of cultural tourism, Kelvin Mutize who is the first in Zimbabwe to receive a Future Africa Award, Ghanaian Mabel Suglo who created her own eco-friendly shoe and handbag company through which she employs nearly a half dozen disabled adults, and Kenyan Kelvin Macharia who created and patented an effective organic insecticide when he was still in high school and who founded Sunrise Tracking, a successful security company that reduces car thefts using a mobile app, when he was in his early 20s.
Many of those featured came from very challenging backgrounds. Some were the very first in their family or entire community to obtain a formal or advanced education. Several were questioned by their family, friends, and community members when they suggested that they hoped to achieve something big. A smaller number of those that are featured had a somewhat easier start, like Stella Mutale Sata, daughter of the former President of Zambia (although her father, who achieved the presidency didn’t own a pair of shoes until he was 21). Millionaires and billionaires that are giving back are also featured.
The purpose of the site is to serve as a corrective to the overly negative stories about Africa that generally fill the mass media. Everyone Africa-interested should find stories that they appreciate. There are success stories from Chad, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Guinea, The Gambia, and 30 other countries. At least one new success story is added each week and several not-yet-featured countries are lined up to be showcased in 2016. Reader suggestions for people whose accomplishments merit having their story shared on the site are most welcome. For information on how to recommend someone, please scroll to the end of this link.
By Heidi G. Frontani
Heidi G. Frontani is a university professor in North Carolina in the USA. Her African success stories have appeared on: African Cheetahs, Africa.com, the African Exponent, African Independent, the Desmond and Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation website, Ecology Forum EU, the Founder, How Africa, Konnect Africa, ModernGhana.com, Namibian Sun, Oxford Bibliographies Online, Oxford University Press’ blog, the Presidential Precinct’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) site, Rising Africa, Somaliland Nation News, Sudan Information Hub, World Organic News, the US Department of State’s YALI site, and Zimbabwe Today. They have been used by US Embassies in several African countries and in K-12 and university classrooms in the USA and UK.