Manning Again Welcomes 25 Visitors From 18 African Nations During Mandela Washington Fellowship

Pictured: The group stops at Brickhaus Pizza in Manning for a bite to eat following their morning presentations and tours of two local farms.


On Thursday, the City of Manning welcomed a group of Sub-Saharan African leaders who were selected to participate in the prestigious Mandela Washington Fellowship through Drake University in Des Moines. The 25 Fellows are between the ages of 25 and 35 and represent 18 different nations. Program Coordinator and Asst. Director of Community Engaged Learning, Amanda Martin, explains what the Fellowship entails.

The group’s day in Manning included several presentations at the Hausbarn Konfrenz Centre, tours of the Ranniger and Muhlbauer family farms and a walking tour of the community’s historic Main Street. One Fellow, Cheu Pswarayi, is the executive director of MedTours Africa in Zimbabwe, a company she founded that helps patients travel for treatments that are not available in their home countries. Pswarayi says the most valuable lessons she learned in Manning concerned planning and investment.

Mike Mpoyi is a doctor in Kinshasa, the capital city of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. He says many people in his home country cannot afford medical treatment, and medical professionals often have to pay for patient care themselves. As part of his effort to increase access to healthcare, Mpoyi serves as the CEO of a non-profit organization that provides insurance and treatment to impoverished populations. According to Mpoyi, the lessons in leadership he has learned during the Fellowship will be instrumental in expanding the organization when he returns home.

More than 700 African leaders participate in the Mandela Washington Fellowship at universities across the United States. Pswarayi and Mpoyi say they are fortunate to have been selected for the Iowa program and called the Manning visit “enriching and fulfilling.” For more information on the 25 Mandela Fellows, follow the link included with this story on our website.