Transport and Public Works Official Benefits from Leadership Training | Western Cape Government



Transport and Public Works Official Benefits from Leadership Training

3 September 2014

Danielle Manuel, Deputy Director: Infrastructure Policies and Strategies at the Department of Transport and Public Works, felt inspired after attending the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders in the United States in June 2014.

She was one of 500 young African leaders under the age of 35 selected to develop their business and leadership skills at one of 20 top US universities. This is no mean achievement – the 500 successful candidates were selected from a pool of 50 000 applicants. Fellows in the six-week academic coursework and executive leadership training could choose one of three focus areas:

  • Business and Entrepreneurship.
  • Civic Leadership.
  • Public Management.

Existing formal university coursework was supplemented with specialised workshops, mentoring and networking opportunities with leaders in the field.

The fellowship was launched in 2010 by President Barack Obama as part of the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI). The aim of the initiative is to support an emerging generation of African leaders as they work to drive economic growth, enhance democratic governance and strengthen civil society in their countries of origin.

Ms Manuel, who was based at the Centre for Integrative Leadership at the University of Minnesota, says it was an honour and privilege to be selected as a Mandela Washington Fellow, but it’s the sense of responsibility and readiness to serve our communities that comes with the privilege.

She has always been keen to participate in an international leadership programme after having worked in the international development sector. Her academic background is multi-disciplinary, including psychology, development, commerce and management studies. She has two postgraduate degrees in Clinical Psychology (Social Science Honours) and Industrial Psychology (BComm, Honours).

 “The Fellowship had a profound impact on my outlook of Africa and has increased my confidence and belief in our nation’s future. The highlight was not necessarily being in the United States but rather being part of a collective of bright, young African leaders who share a common vision of a renewed Africa in the next 20 to 30 years.

“An Africa of hope, peace, economic stability, improved trade between and among each other, proud youth strutting the streets with a sense of purpose and belonging, citizens actively engaged in shaping their communities and futures, an Africa in which we all have a stake,” said Ms Manuel.

Highlights for her included meeting Obama and industry leaders at the US Africa Leaders’ Summit in Washington DC from 4 to 6 August 2014.

“It was a proud moment when Obama renamed the programme in honour of late former South African President Nelson Mandela. Obama said the programme reflects Madiba’s optimism, idealism and belief in what he called the endless heroism of youth.”

Ms Manuel, from Belhar, is confident that the Fellowship has established a powerful network of young African leaders and that the outcome will produce positive results in the respective African countries across the continent as these leaders are dedicated to rewriting Africa’s narrative.

What Manuel learned during the programme will be put to good use as she continues her work of helping to coordinate integrated infrastructure planning across all spheres of government.

The department is proud of Ms Manuel. Her humble approach to making a difference in the public sector through effective leadership is an achievement for her and an inspiration to all those who know her and work with her.

Media Enquiries: 

Byron La Hoe
Communications Officer
Department of Transport and Public Works
Tel: 021 483 9813