New Äänit Million Rand Prize, 7 Shortlisted

New Äänit Million Rand Prize, 7 Shortlisted
Mandela Rhodes Foundation CEO Judy Sikuza

The Mandela Rhodes Foundation has launched the first-ever Äänit prize open to Rhodes or Mandela scholars who have businesses or nonprofit projects – ideas or actual – that make a real social impact.

Building exceptional leadership in Africa is a promise that the foundation has held up for many decades.

This year, seven of the most innovative young African leaders from Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Malawi, and Algeria, have been shortlisted for the Äänit Prize to win up to $80 000 (R1.2 million) for their socially impactful ventures in Africa.

Following a final round of evaluation by a panel of expert judges, the winners will be announced live in a special ceremony co-hosted by award-winning actor Masasa Mbangeni and MRF CEO Judy Sikuza.

The ceremony, which will be live streamed, will take place on 23 October 2021 at 18:30 SAST.

“When I look at the powerful potential of these seven ventures and the excellent work they have done so far, I feel optimistic about the catalytic effect that this prize can have,” said Sikuza.

“The finalists are innovators and leaders of high caliber. They are leaders who see Africa’s challenges as opportunities and have the vision, expertise, and determination to deliver.”

The seven finalists for the Äänit Prize include Esethu Cenga, Vuyane Mhlome, James Tayali, Sarah Burns, Kenechukwu Ikebuaku, Chido Dzinotyiwei and Sammy Sambu.

The finalists have different projects aimed at solving problems they are aware of.

Cenga’s Rewoven is about turning “waste into fabric and fixing fast fashion”.

Mhlome’s Quro Medical looks at providing a “hospital at home”

Tayali’s Keki-Mawe is all about nutritious food products and effective agriculture.

Burns ventures into Nia Crowdfund, “Connecting African businesses to much-needed investment”.

Ikebuaku’s entry named Mozisha is a “skills factory” that gets African youth job-ready

Dzinotyiwe’s Vambo Academy is about language learning between Africans.

Sambu’s Bartanel Discovery looks at “Decentralising the malaria vaccine”

The Äänit Prize is a new initiative of The Mandela Rhodes Foundation, Nelson Mandela’s official organisation for leadership development.