In his recent edition of the book “Let Africa Lead”, Dr Reuel Khoza makes a compelling argument that Africa is already well equipped with the leadership principles for this century.
Ubuntu, an ancient African word, “I am what I am because who we all are”. I grew up in the village of Matondoni, Limpopo. As a young man, I had the privilege to head my late grandfather’s livestock. I did this under the guidance of my grandfather’s best friend, he was also advisor to the local chief. A trusted advisor not only by the chief, but the community. He had the ability to calm everyone in times of conflict. He went beyond his duties, resolved family differences.
I know what Dr Reuel is talking about. I experienced it as a young man. A lifelong remembrance of my grandfather’s best friend is that every time he killed a livestock, I received a portion. No questions asked. Though a first-born, I was the youngest among my uncles. His rule was, those who head the livestock get a special share when it is killed. A memory I have carried for so long, it still rings a bell, like yesterday.
The reality is that Africans have it inside to lead in this time of disconnectedness. In this time where people feel like pieces of equipment. Africans can restore office floors and boardrooms. Move away from a Eurocentric approach that has left many feeling inadequate. Africans have the desperately needed “server” attitude.
The ability to negotiate and ensure that all participants feel that they were part of the decision-making process. Restore employee ownership of organizations.
Amongst many of the tasks that lie ahead for Africans to lead, human capital development is at the top. Our ability capicitate our people, not only for today, but for the coming ever-changing environment. We will need to be innovative and creative. Elevate our entrepreneurial behaviour. This is priority #1 for the current leaders.
The opportunity for Africans is at hand, whether or not we take full use of it is another discussion.
My reminder to you is that you are adequate. Reject the norms. Accept to standout and be different. Offers the world you, only you.
Let Africa Lead is not a request, it is a take over. It is the only option to honour those who offered their lives towards the realization of political freedom. It is the only option to pay it forward for the next generation.
By Rendani Mamphiswana