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Leadership through fresh old eyes….

Phyllis Ndlovu

The season we find ourselves in as a country, is one of very many challenges. Many of these challenges call for us to all to start thinking out of the box in terms of approaches to problem solving. Our leadership approach in particular, calls for our leaders to shift their consciousness towards their roles, their people and their deliverables. This is both in the private sector as well as in government.

Vusi Vilakati has written some thoughts on African leadership, that I believe can help us turn the tide in our way of addressing our collective socio-economic and socio-political challenges. Vilakati talks about African leadership. He makes mention of the fact that in order to move forward, leaders need to go back to basics in terms of indigenous African values. Key among these is the reality that we are all beings in relation to each other. My humanity finds expression in the other’s humanity – umuntu, umuntu ngabantu. This core value finds expression across all geographic regions of the African continent. One of its central pillars is the fact leadership custodianship is about recognising ancestry. This is how it has unfolded from time past: The nourishment and sustenance that we have and enjoy comes from a time past, built on the blood, sweat and tears of our foremothers and forefathers. The present strife and victory is our immediate challenge, laid upon us by a journey not always chosen. Regardless of all that was and is, all leadership has a duty to ensure that decisions and experiences of today leave a legacy that will be sustainable for those that come after us. In other words, we are not only living and leading for ourselves, we are in our leadership positions for the sake of the past, for the present and of what is yet to come.

Steve Biko sums up our African leadership challenge thus: “The great powers of the world may have done wonders in giving the world an industrial and military look, but the gift still has to come from Africa – giving the world a more human face”. Biko

So if we don’t start now, to create a different consciousness, who must; if we don’t create a different reality, who must; If leaders don’t lead from the front, who must?