Anne Muthoni Githuku-Shongwe ’87, Working for the Future of Africa
By Neal Burdick ’72
Anne Muthoni Githuku-Shongwe ’87 has this Maryanne Williamson observation at the end of her e-mails: "Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.” She has achieved a level of power, but since she uses it for the good of others across her native Africa, it seems certain that she’s keeping it in check.
Githuku-Shongwe is the founder and CEO of Afroes Transformational Multi-Media & Consulting, “a social enterprise that creates and deploys innovative interactive digital and media technology dialogue solutions rooted in Africa’s rich heritage,” according to her Web site. The site continues, “The core mission of Afroes is to inspire the conversations and actions of Africans with digital or face-to-face dialogue on hope and possibility. Afroes provides face-to-face strategic consulting services to high-value development agencies working in Africa with a strong social transformation agenda. Among these are the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, WHO and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).”
“I have always believed that Africa's destiny is to be a continent rich with innovation and possibility, even if built on decades of poverty and weak states,” she says. “So, my desire has always been to contribute in some significant way to transforming the hearts and minds of Africans to believe that it is possible to have a future without poverty.
“The St. Lawrence faculty taught me the reality of global politics and helped me understand the political economy of Africa and why Africa has remained where it is, and I am forever grateful,” Githuku-Shongwe recalls. “Prof. Ahmed Samatar, my advisor, drilled these issues and the search for new solutions deep into my heart. I learned that I had strong leadership skills as the Black Student Union president; my goal there was to unite Africans and African-Americans as well as establish that community as one of excellence and achievement. I believe we accomplished some of this during my term.
“I also built a strong work ethic under the influence of SLU students, who I admired for working hard and playing hard, Githuku-Shongwe notes. “Is Josie’s Pizza still there? That was surely the best pizza in the world!”