LEADERSHIP CHALLENGE IN AFRICA, THE – A FRAMEWORK FOR AFRICAN RENAISSANCE LEADERS

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There are hopeful signs such as NEPAD, Pan African Parliament, AU, Peer Review mechanism, and  dreams of an African Renaissance. But these could end up mere empty acronyms unless Africa  produces leaders who are allergic to self-aggrandisement, leaders who understand that a true, a  real leader exists ultimately for the sake of the led. This book is a welcome aid to help aspirant and incumbent leaders to become such good leaders. – Desmond Tutu
As the subtitle a framework for African Renaissance leaders indicates, this book combines the challenges of Africa’s development and leadership theory. Since proper assessment of a particular context – with its historical, philosophical, political, social and technological facets – is crucial for effective leadership, I have attempted to provide sufficient information about Africa to contextualise the leadership challenge. I will begin with a chapter on the essence of leadership. I argue that leadership, to stand the test of time, has to come from the will to serve others. It has been modelled by Nelson Mandela whose legacy will inspire African leaders for generations to come. I also make a case for a more holistic and deeper understanding
of leadership than what we are familiar with in modern organisations where a combination of positional authority and functional competence are viewed as the makeup of good leadership. I discuss the important role of vision in a leader’s efforts to influence and mobilise others. The African Renaissance dream is such a vision. To know what needs to happen for an African Renaissance dream to become reality, one needs to understand the challenges leaders face in Africa today. I therefore present an overview of Africa’s history and contemporary reality before focusing on the important aspect of culture. What do leaders need to understand of the cultural values of Western or modern societies and those of traditional African societies (and the mix we have in African countries) to build suitable organisational cultures for the African context? What, in terms of a cultural stance, will be good for an African Renaissance? In Chapter 5 I explicate the theory of transformational leadership and provide a framework and ideas for developing leaders in view of an African Renaissance. Since the success of South Africa’s transformation since 1994 is undeniably pivotal to the ideals of an African Renaissance, I provide some perspectives on its progress in the last chapter. For further reflection and debate I recommend the discussion of key questions included at the back of the book.

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