History and African leadership
Posted Tue, 23 Aug 2005

Learnings from history

“African leaders always understood that they had a moral, political and economic responsibility to serve their people in a more ethical, accountable and transparent manner throughout history.” – Wafula Okomu

African Leadership Values

  • Humanitarianism – compassion
  • Altruisim – sharing/caring
  • Communalism/interdependence
  • Consensus compete/co-operate to benefit all
  • Spirituality
  • Creative work, song and dance
  • One people: different tongues
  • Proclivity for teamwork
  • Trends and Titans

    “There is still an emerging trend of African leaders who instead of serving their people, they have looted and plundered state/organisation coffers with impunity and in utter disregard and contempt of the peoples' needs.”

    Do we develop enough leaders in the country?

    African leaders who are defined as; leaders who are of African descent who have been selected, appointed, elected or otherwise chosen, to lead organisations or businesses, in advancing programs created for African people eg BEE and Affirmative Action.

    What are the qualities of a true leader

    Qualities one should seek are:

  • Powerful, popular and effective
  • Uncommon, charismatic, heroic and visionary
  • A caring but Cunning leader
  • A creative entrepreneurial master politician
  • A divisive unifier
  • A leader and a Follower
  • Powerful but not beyond reproach
  • Pragmatic giver of hope
  • Views on Transformation

    “Managers who drive transformation in South African institutions and organisations often do not understand that transformation is a business imperative."

    Leadership vacuum

  • There is an experience of leadership vacuum at local level in South Africa.
  • Leaders who are erstwhile agitated activities of communities have been absorbed/sucked out of the community into government where they are now part of the system.
  • There is no uniting cause to fight. The existence of a common cause in the struggle period made the leadership visible, focused and effective.
  • Black Economic Empowerment (BEE)

    How has the BEE movement changed the demands of leadership in the South African context?

  • The vast racial inequalities of the past in the distribution of and access to wealth, income, skills, and employment are still prevalent in the South African economy.
  • BEE has only benefited very few African elite.
  • Judging from public perception, BEE is still not clearly defined and it does not go very far.
  • On the other hand, Affirmative Action has created a pull of skills where we can develop future leaders.
  • Conclusion

  • There is a need for African brand of leadership.

  • We as Africans and South Africans in particular, need to change the rules of the game. Perhaps there is a need to go back and look at our past achievements and learn to be proud of them.
  • We have to ground ourselves in our culture and values to be able to confront the future with confidence.





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