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Mandela Washington Fellows Prepare For Final Summit With Obama

Some of the Mandela Washington fellow wrapping up their program at William and Mary University in Virginia, USA.

Three Mandela Washington fellows from Zimbabwe who were doing business and leadership studies at the William and Marry university in Virginia graduated on Thursday alongside 22 other youths from various African countries.

And across America, other fellows are graduating Friday ahead of their victory lap to Washington for a final summit with President Barack Obama next week.

Zimbabwean fellows, who graduated from the William and Marry University in Virginia, are journalist-film maker and human rights activist Terry Mutsvanga, African Union Commission Gender Consultant Tinashe Mutsonziwa, and Abel Chemura, a lecturer at the Chinhoyi University of Technology.

The three capped their fellowship with speeches at an Ideas Summit where they emphasized the need for young people to step up the plate and shape their own destinies.

Speaking after the ceremony, Mutsvanga told Studio 7 the knowledge he has acquired from the six-week fellowship is invaluable. He said while the U.S. has its own dark past in terms of observing human rights, the country is a shining beacon of freedom.

Mutsvanga said Zimbabwe should do more on human rights, adding the alleged abduction and disappearance of political activist Itai Dzamara does not bode well for the country.

Chinhoyi lecturer and environmentalist Chemura also said he returns to Zimbabwe next week a better person and a better leader, thanks to the Mandela Washington fellowship.

In his graduation speech, Chemura talked about a coffee project that he is working on, seeking to connect markets with technology.

The three fellows will gather in Washington starting Sunday together with the nearly 1,000 fellows from various African countries who are also graduating today at their institutions of learning. Altogether, there are about 60 fellows from Zimbabwe.