Jan 21, 2022 | By Jim Patterson | NASHVILLE, Tenn.

James Salley, known by some as “Mr. Africa University,” has been with the United Methodist institution in Zimbabwe since it was in the embryonic stage.

In its nearly 30-year history, AU has produced leaders in government, religion and business. Its alumni include United Methodist Bishop Mande Muyombo of Congo; Mercy Kafotokoza, executive director of Wandikweza, which works to improve access to quality health care in rural areas of Malawi; and Lillian Achom, an information technology entrepreneur who mentors young women in Uganda.

“We are growing up the new generation of leaders,” said Salley, who recently added the title of president and chief executive officer of Africa University (Tennessee) Inc. He remains associate vice chancellor for institutional advancement. Africa University (Tennessee) Inc. is one of three entities used to run AU.

AU graduates are making a difference “all over the continent of Africa,” Salley said. “We can point to at least 32 countries on the continent of Africa (where AU graduates are working). Actually, we have AU graduates all over the world.”

Salley, 70, met with United Methodist News at the Nashville, Tenn., offices of Africa University (Tennessee) Inc., to speak about the past, present and future of AU. A lifetime United Methodist born in Orangeburg, South Carolina, Salley pursued a successful career in broadcasting before shifting his focus to education. He’s also been active in church leadership, serving as a General Conference delegate since 1988 and on the board of United Methodist Global Ministries from 1987 to 1991.

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