Humans of ALA: Layne Haila

“The more you fail, the more you know how not to do things. It’s like Edison – he failed like 999 times. He knows how; he became successful in the last attempts, so he knows 999 ways how not to make the good things and one way how to make the things. As you experience more failures, the more knowledge you’ll have on how not to do things. I’ve missed a lot of things, but I am happy with the things I have now. I’ll be opening my student enterprise soon, and I’ll run for student government. Still, even if I don’t make it, I’ll fail forward and learn from my mistakes”.




Humans of ALA is a series that spotlights the stories of members of the ALA community.

Humans of ALA: Dan Deng Chol

I was born into a polygamous family.
It is a South Sudanese tradition for husbands to have two or more wives, so my dad had four wives. I had three other mothers and so many other siblings, so you know. Life was kinda sweet although there was no, you know, modern thing like education and stuff. Everything was just peaceful and stuff. But this changed in 2006, I think, when violence intensified and so our village became unsafe. So, we had to relocate our home from South Sudan to elsewhere. So, people migrated and stuff. That’s how I found myself in Kenya. My parents went their own way and I went my own way. So, I went with a group of people who later took me in. There was no one I could follow.

That is where my second phase of life started. At the camp (Kakuma Refugee Camp in Turkana County). A new life started altogether. I went to another school, and from there, I passed my KCPE and was admitted to Alliance High School; so, from there, I had so many other experiences … and that’s where another new life started. I can say that my life has been an experience of, a stage of so many experiences; from Kakuma to Eldoret to Nairobi where I went to Alliance, and then I came to the African Leadership Academy. So, basically, that’s how the cycle of my life has been.

Humans of ALA: Sean Karanja

Humans of ALA is a series that spotlights members of the ALA community.


“I learnt how to be a shark.
I learnt how to ask for what I wanted, and if they said no, I learnt how to get what I wanted.
I also learnt how to work hard. I was talking to the founder of Draper University, Tim Draper – billionaire, wonderful guy. He told me about the 40% rule. It’s something that the US Marines believe in, and it’s the fact that at any one point when you’re doing an activity, whether it’s physically tasking or not, whenever you reach that point when you’re like “I can’t anymore”, you’ve only reached 40% of your full capabilities.
You’ve only given it 40% of your all. There’s still space to go.

So since then, I’d wake up every day, I’d look at myself in the mirror and I’d just scream “YES! YES! YES! YES!” Like four or five times because I’d keep telling myself that whenever I’d reach that block, I still have space to go. As a result, I learnt how to push myself like crazy.

For the third lesson, I learnt how to lead when you’re not in the ideal position to do so. I learnt how to get people to be on my side, how to get people to back me up, how to get people to accomplish certain tasks and be motivated while doing so, even if I wasn’t the ideal person to be in that kind of situation.
For example, I’ll start off by saying that when I was at the program, I was literally the youngest person there. Everyone else was older than me, and we had people in their twenties. They were mostly university students; and a lot of them had even graduated.
I wasn’t even meant to be accepted into the program in the first place because I was too young but again – I pushed for it and I got it; and getting there, being the youngest, I quickly had to learn how to push for what I wanted, how to talk to people to get what I wanted and also how to just be able to see team dynamics and to reason with other people.

All of those are very key aspects of leadership that I felt I didn’t know before I got there because a lot of the times you’re made group leader and at some point we were taken into the wilderness where we did some insane stuff, and you’re left in a position where people will go hungry if you don’t sort things out, your team will get lost in the middle of the ocean if you don’t sort things out; and your objectives will not be met if you don’t sort stuff out. I had to learn the hard way – by actually getting things done. Yeah, but I made it through and I did it.”

February 17th: Valentines Ball

On the 14th of February, Tamasha organised a Valentines Ball for the student body. Lovely dresses and clean cut tuxedos met  upbeat music and great snacks as students simply enjoyed the night.



The Battle of The Mask 2017

On the 21st of January, the girls’ halls gathered together to battle it off for The Mask. Six competitions were held between Athena, Twawana, Gaga, Malaika, and the new hall: Sayyida.

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Amidst the Rubik’s cube solving, choreographing and balloon relay running, The Office, Titans, Classified, Jeshi and Olympus cheered on their sister halls.

The event ended in a dance competition between the halls who were charged with forming a choreography to Sitya Loss by Eddy Kenzo.

By the end of a grueling, spirited afternoon, Malaika hall became the new guardian of The Mask, which was previously possessed by Athena.

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ALOO 2017 Africa Rising: Women

On the 14th of January, the annual Africa Land of Opportunities Day took place. The entire ALA community came out in traditional attire to celebrate the role of women in developing the continent.

The day got off to a vibrant start with a series of performances held in the auditorium. Nour Cherradi, Daniel Chege and Asmae Bahassou kicked of ALOO with an instrumental performance riddled with elaborate finger-picking and harmonious chords. Cloud  9’s rendition of Superwoman by Alicia Keys left the room thundering with applause. The event also featured a performance by African Dance, and a theatrical performance by Marubini and Lutho.

After the event, students, guests, and staffulty  proceeded to their workshops for engaging conversations about topics ranging from Gender Violence to ‘The Female Profiles in Continentally-Consumed Contemporary Nigerian Music’.

The last feature of ALOO was a community arts project where members of the ALA community left their hand-prints on a banner to commemorate the day.

Talaaw Reflections

It’s been a month since the entire ALA community came out in a flurry of colours and smiles to celebrate the start of the academic year.

As the academy ushered in its largest ever cohort of students and a new Dean: Mr. Eltayeb, the environment surged with excitement for the year ahead.

Here are some pictures to remind you of the amazing event.


It’s Nile House who’s got the biggest brains.

The House Event for March held on March 11th 2016 and the quest was to find out which house possesses the biggest brains.

The Battle of the Brains spread across History, General Knowledge, Geography and Pop Culture. All African you know cos that’s what we’re all about.

In the first event, 30 seconds, Houses had to amass 10 points in as fast as possible. In this category, Zambezi and Volta prove to be the Fastest Thinkers as they both hit the 10 point mark in the same round.

The second event, a map quiz required all houses to put together the African map in as fast as possible. All six houses went at the same time and it was Volta house who came in 1st position putting the African map together in two minutes twenty-one seconds and sixty seven microseconds. Nile House followed by just over a second with a time of two minutes twenty-two seconds and ninety three microseconds. Tana came in at third position, finishing 18 seconds after Nile. Congo, Zambezi and Niger all failed to beat the 3 minute mark and ended in 6th, 5th and 4th respectively.

In the third event, African Pop Culture. Questions asked ranged from sports to entertainment, with the likes of Fally Ipupa, Angelique Kidjo and Yvone Chaka Chaka mentioned. The points for first position were shared by Nile and Congo while Tana claimed third and Zambezi, Volta and Niger shared the last position.

The fourth and final event saw all houses peek into African history. Congo and Tana came in at first position while Niger, Nile and Zambezi shared the points for 3rd and Volta was forced to accept the last position.

At the end of the day, it was concluded that, Nile House have the biggest brains at ALA. Tana and Volta came in second position and Congo fell behind them by 0.5 points and 4th position. The battle for the bottom was won by Niger House while Zambezi came fifth.