By Sino Falakahla, third-year journalism student
On the evening of 1 October, the Rhodes Business School held their 4th annual lecture at Rhodes University on Values-Based Leadership, which is in collaboration with the Archbishop Thabo Makgoba Development Trust (ATMDT).
Throughout the years, the lecture has seen some of South Africa’s most recognisable and experienced leaders such as Former President Kgalema Motlanthe, Former First Lady Mrs Graça Machel and Former Public Protector, Adv Thuli Madonsela. The guest speaker for this year’s lecture was Dr Makhosi Busisiwe Khoza.
Present at the lecture was Archbishop Thabo Makgoba and his wife Mrs Lungi Makgoba, and COSATU’s President Zingiswa Losi. From the University, Vice-Chancellor Dr Sizwe Mabizela, Deputy Vice- Chancellor Peter Clayton and Dean of Commerce, Professor Dave Sewry were all present.
It is no surprise that Dr Khoza was invited to this year’s lecture as she has been named as 2018’s top 100 reputable Africans on the continent. Dr Khoza is a former Member of Parliament and a former chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Public Service and Administration as well as the Standing Committee on Public Accounts and Finance in the KZN Legislature. She is currently the Executive Director and Head of the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (OUTA) Local Government Programme and has over 25 years of collective experience at both public and private sector institutions.
Dr Khoza started the lecture by noting the importance of values-based leadership, a type of leadership she views as a rescue mission from psychological self-destruction and corruption.
‘Psychological defeat’, as she calls it, is to be “governed by psychologically-deprived people”, referencing the position and state of mind of those in governance.
She argued that it can be detrimental for people who have lived most of their lives believing that they are worth less than others, by constantly being told who they are and what they cannot be. Dr Khoza said, “When you are a psychologically-defeated person, you feed the fears of yesterday, the deprivations of yesterday. It is very easy to turn the public purse into your own personal savings account.”
Those in governance are more concerned with instant gratification, which negates the wellbeing and needs of future generations. Dr Khoza argued that corrupt leaders and the public-interest role that they play, needs to be seen by society for what it is, which she referred to as “a society that has disintegrated”.
Dr Khoza draws a comparison between the Jews and Islamic state, who she believes suffered a more physical defeat, while Africans suffer psychologically. The recovery of the Islamic people is possible after unchaining themselves from oppression, she believes. But how then is Africa failing?
“We can’t change history. We only have the control of the present and the future, and the future is a reference point for all of us. Such a mission requires values- based leadership. Such a mission does not require people who are still victims of psychological defeat,” she explained.
Dr Khoza views the Constitution as a “collective moral signature” that she urges everyone to abide by and stay loyal to. Dr Khoza believes that once individuals “isolate the good from the bad, to look beyond the chaos, it is here that we all, as a collective will liberate the country”. Dr Khoza used Frantz Fanon’s quote, “Each generation must discover its mission, fulfil it or betray it, in relative opacity,” to challenge the youth present to rise up and build the nation together.
“It is up to them to move away from the path that the current leaders in South Africa have gotten us in to. The generations that exist after liberation will have their own mission, which is to relieve people from defeat, as they will not be able to enjoy the fruits of freedom,” she concluded.