Tipping point: Dear Mr President

It’s been two weeks since the country went to the polls and South Africa, in its meld of colours and cultures, resplendent in its diversity as it is in its disparity, gave you a vote of confidence in taking us to the promised new dawn. I watched with great interest your address where you said all the right things to a capacity crowd and you articulated what the citizenry wanted to hear. However, we the people had heard it all before from other leaders. The words are always a contest between sincere intention, unmoving decisions and paralytic promises.

Against the backdrop of a fragmented society that has lurched from crisis to crisis, the ethical destitution of a nation has taken its toll. The leadership excesses of extravagant, wasteful and self-indulgent lifestyles has further plunged us into a moral and ethical cauldron. This can only means that something has to be done urgently while there are starving children and the desperate jobless among us. There is something that you once said that was significant and created an iota of optimism. You called on people to “build a capable and ethical state” and added “we must intensify the fight against corruption within government and society.”

I pray that your words penetrate the indolent stupor of some of our greedy leaders who have been allowed to repeatedly erode our national psyche.

I understand the challenging road ahead for you and enormous responsibility you have to bear but it is critical, now more than ever before, that you deepen the conversations and dialogue that would revolve around conscious, ethical leadership before you choose the new leadership of the country. If we are to survive and grow, it is imperative for our leadership to address equitable and sustainable development, poverty, historical imbalances, values, ethics, inequality and decency. You are deeply aware of this; the question is how.

We have a great opportunity from the current morass we find ourselves in to breed a different quality of leadership. When leaders are found wanting, they have an opportunity to turn this hurdle into a life lesson of conscious leadership. As human beings, no one is perfect. We are all flawed in one way or another, which allows me to conclude that even the great leaders and masters who existed in all cultures were also flawed, despite their best intentions. Even though flawed, the most conscious among them discovered in the depths of their innermost being that transformation was an internal process. They dedicated their lives to service, displayed great human values such as unprecedented wisdom, clarity of thought, humility, truth, altruistic love, empathy and patience. What they learnt and how they behaved despite the challenges, circumstances and crises that confronted them can and may be emulated by all of us.

Where is the seat at the table for our millenials?

I recently facilitated a Conscious Leadership Masterclass for young potential leaders from various companies and became aware with increasing clarity of a vast pool of talent that remains dormant. Given the calibre of some of our millennials who are vociferous in challenging pillage, patriarchy and the status quo, a seat at the table is an imperative if political, social and economic reform is to happen. Millennials can mean any age from teens to thirty-somethings.

I can think of any number of young millennials who come to mind, quietly making inroads as influencers and shape shifters and whose participation in the political process can play a crucial role in this nation’s leadership structures. A myriad of remarkable young leaders deserve a place in the political progression of shaping corrective and conscious behaviour in leadership structures of this country. They would create the disruption we need to keep our ageing politicos honest. Deeply rooted in authoritarian agendas and patriarchy, many of our current politicians lack the capacity to see that our millennials matter.

If only our current leaders had the vision to look beyond the horizon and create a formal structure of succession planning that is inclusive of young leadership, then this generation would create much-needed optimism and hope in a country that is in sore need of some solace.

Young people are ready and the traits are evident according to millennial blogger Lydia Abbott. “Millennials can multi-task and juggle many responsibilities at once as well as being connected and tech-savvy. They know everything they need to know about social media because they live it. This generation needs to feel important and require flexibility in their work environment. They also enjoy collaboration and building teams they feel part of with honest relationships.”

More importantly, I believe they seek transparency and loathe the double standards imposed upon them by the older generation. If we are to bridge the generational divide and embrace a new wave of thinking, it is imperative that we accept and respect these young people for what they bring to the table. It is a key facet of our future and the socio- economic and political evolution we so desperately need.


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Brenda Kali
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