The power of transformative leadership
Thato Majola Student Teacher at Vuleka Primary School
South Africa is a country known for its polarities. Its history is built upon difference and separation. A look at a Google earth image of South Africa and it becomes evident to see why this country is considered one of the world's most unequal in terms of Opportunity, Income and Education.
One of South Africa's famous sons Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu recently released a book titled “God is not a Christian" and this title caused a few stir in conservative Christian circles, with criticism coming from the likes of President Mugabe of Zimbabwe. The problem people seemed to have with the title was its inference that the Beloved God of Christians is the same God as everyone else's. I do not claim to be of any knowledge in theology but I find this deep-rooted need to be exclusive displayed by humanity as a cause for much pondering. It is clear from the above example that people feel better when they are considered to be among a select few, a closely knit club or society where membership is by invitation only. It is also evident that leadership that is built on difference will always perish. The collapse of Rome because of the arrogance of believing that only Romans were clever enough, worthy enough to be the leaders of the world represents another example of how intimately people hold on to things they consider exclusive.
In the case of South Africa, we have seen the value of transformative leadership when Nelson Mandela was released from prison. The man had been a military commander in chief during apartheid, had spent 27 years in prison, away from his people, friends and family. He had also been a known “Terrorist" and was expected to lead Black South Africans through a period of vengeance. As it turns out, he took a completely different path of forgiveness, inclusivity and reconciliation. This was no easy task, considering that just a few years later, 2 white males were involved in the killing of one of his lieutenant the late Chris Hani. Mandela was able to show enough vision to overcome a seemingly all-consuming anger at the death of his own comrade, by calling for peace and calm, when South Africans, especially the armed wings of the then political champions were ready to take arms to fight for their country. It is not a surprise that Mandela will go down the length of history as one of the world's greats. Yet he did so by choosing inclusivity over discrimination, separation and superiority. His leadership was able to calm the storm of anger in a time when it was easier to hit back than to offer the left cheek. It is this type of leadership that will lead our beloved people of the world into a unity of thought, speech and action.
As the dust settles after a wonderful summit in Johannesburg let this generation be the one that brings change to the power relations among the different peoples of our land. A life worth living is one lived in service of others. Let us transform our own thinking, behavior and attitudes built around personal ambition and the accumulation of material wealth in order to change the realities facing those without opportunities, Education and Employment. Let us be the generation that puts in place mechanism to end suspicion, accusation and threats of war.
We are the #OneYoungWorld! A WORLD UNITED FOR CHANGE.
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