When someone decides to step up and become a leader, they are signing up to be that person that has the interests of a peoples at heart. If you put the words ‘Africa’ and ‘Leader’ together in the same conversation, you are likely to either have a discussion about those who have made a real and positive difference in people’s lives or those who have left or will leave a legacy of despair.
In a recent TED talk in Rio de Janeiro, Fred Swaniker touched on a handful of topics related to Africa and leadership. These included leadership over the generations, where his take on it was that Africa has gone through 3 progressively better generations of leaders. For him, the first generation were the ones who freed us from colonialism and included Kwame Nkruma and Julius Nyerere. The second generation included the likes of Mobutu Sese Seko and Sani Adacha who brought with them havoc, warfare and corruption. The third generation which he termed the stabiliser generation have worked or are working to clean things up and were accountable to the people. In this generation he included Mandela and Kagame but then the 3rd generation and their achievements is debatable given what some of Africa’s current leaders have brought upon their people.
Nonetheless the talk goes on to discuss the next generation of African leaders and the kind of issues they would need to tackle in order to make a meaningful difference. Given the weak state of institutions such as constitutions around Africa, leaders have a great deal of power and the decisions that they make can make or break a nation.
The talk then moves on to the next generation of African Leaders and it is at this point where you really start thinking about ‘who will be next?’ or more importantly who we want next and what we want them to achieve.
This topic is very relevant and even more so in the Zimbabwean context where a change in leadership is imminent.
Watch the talk and then ask yourself a question, who do you want to see leading Zimbabwe after Mugabe?