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Apolitical Academy Southern Africa was founded in 2017, and accepted its first cohort of Public Service Fellows in 2018.

The Public Service Fellowship Programme is a 9-month intensive development and training programme, comprising 7 intensive seminars for emerging leaders between the ages of 20 and 45 who want to run for office or transition to leadership roles in government and the public service. The focus is on personal leadership and public purpose, ethics and values and is underpinned by a high-level mentorship programme. Annual programmes identify and support young candidates, women and other political “outsiders” who wish to transition into public service, but lack the network and personal development opportunities to do so on their own.


Apolitical Academy’s public leadership programmes share a curriculum and pedagogy and are designed regularly to bring together fellows and alumni from all regions for leadership exchange. Our programmes focus on personal leadership and public purpose, ethics and values, and are underpinned by a high-level mentorship programme and commitment to diversity. Apolitical Academy currently runs programs in Sweden and Southern Africa as well as a global master program in collaboration with the World Economic Forum’s Community of Young Global Leaders.

From September 2018, Apolitical Academy’s Southern Africa Fellows will participate in a 9-month long programme, covering seven residential weekend seminars in locations around the region. The seminars will be led by a combination of skilled moderators and experienced government and political leaders from across the regional and ideological spectrum.

SEMINAR 1 WHY ME? WHY US? WHY NOW? The first weekend seminar will primarily be focused on introductions and fellows’ personal exploration of their public purpose. Through a combination of group plenaries, small group discussions and inputs from guest speakers, fellows will explore the internal and external drivers of their decision to transition to public life.

SEMINAR 2 THE ELEMENTS OF A PUBLIC LIFE The third seminar introduces fellows to the systems, practicalities and challenges of a career in the public eye. A skills-heavy programme comprising media management, technology, driving issues for impact as well as speechwriting and speechmaking, will be complemented by deep-dive reflections on the personal and social impact of a career experienced in full view of the public.

SEMINAR 3 ETHICS IN PUBLIC LEADERSHIP AND CORRUPTION CASE STUDY One of the flagship seminars of the Apolitical Academy programme, “Ethics in Public Leadership” will introduce fellows to government and political leaders who have faced an ethical cross-roads in their efforts to be responsible and accountable public leaders. This seminar will explore the ethical, legal and systemic consequences of straying from one’s commitment to serve the people rather than oneself.

SEMINAR 4 POLITICAL CAMPAIGNS AND GRASSROOTS ORGANISING The third and final case study of the programme will provide fellows with an opportunity to dive deep into the practicalities of running a political campaign for election to public office. Seminar 6 asks fellows to deploy what they have learned about defining a vision, identifying constituencies, making a case for change and leading ethically and transparently to the challenge of seeking election to public office.


- proven leaders not yet active in the political mainstream

- women between the ages of 20 and 40 (with some flexibility)

- exploring if / how to run an election campaign or working in public service

- representing a broad swathe of political ideologies without holding extreme views

- diverse

- have a background in civil society, private sector, global leadership programs, public policy graduate schools, social activism, community leadership, public policy and technology experts


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