May 31, 2015
Our first week in Johannesburg has been a race to education and to understanding. It’s a leadership course and lessons in social entrepreneurship on steroids. Through its nature, there has been a lot to think about and a lot to discuss with the other people in the group.
Something highlighted in South Africa and in current social business practices is the importance of leadership. There has been a recent shift in the acceptance of the classic leadership model. The CEO on top of a sea of mindless workers is no longer accepted in many growing corporations. “Leadership is shifting” people say, and that we have come to a point where the leader is not in front but in fact in the middle of the pack. I think this shift happened a long time ago. The leaders that we think of are not those who float easily on the top of their underlings but those who have worked, just as hard, if not harder to the cause they lead. A great leader isn’t necessarily charismatic. Look at Einstein, Tesla, or . They have countless characteristics ranging the full spectrum of human traits. Yet they are all linked by hard work. Hard work which stemmed from an internal sense of duty and of caring for a cause enough to give everything to it. People do not become great without work.
We have spent a lot of time learning about the history of South Africa, about apartheid and about Nelson Mandela, and the other prisoners and citizens who struggled and fought tooth and nail for what they believed in. The struggle against apartheid is not unique but the patience and the kindness that resulted is. As I go into my first week of work at Masibambisane, I hope to take with me the work and the struggle of leaders across the globe. The hard work and passion that has created innovation and freedoms continues through every action in south Africa and it would be rude of me to shirk off the amazing things that this country’s history holds, that the world’s innovators are working towards and that people in these communities continue to fight for.