Posted on November 23, 2017
Prof Derick de Jongh, Director of the Albert Luthuli Centre for Responsible Leadership at the University of Pretoria, participated in the Transcultural Leadership Summit that was hosted by the Zeppelin University Leadership Excellence Institute, on 16 and 17 November 2017.
The vision of this summit was to bring together people from across Africa to reflect on leadership and transculturality. Speakers from Nigeria, South Africa, Ghana and Uganda delivered keynote addresses focusing on the main theme of the summit. The Director of the Leadership Excellence Institute at Zeppelin University, Prof Josef Wieland, in his welcoming address highlighted the fact that in a globalised world, cooperation across cultures is needed to bring about prosperity and mutual gain. He said: 'In the context of global value creation, digitalisation and cross-border innovation, we need to think and act across borders.'
He also questioned whether global values or principles are shared by everybody and most importantly what the implications are for leadership strategies. He made a strong case for why Sub-Saharan Africa is the next hub for globalisation. 'Global value creation opens up new opportunities, not only in terms of the development of countries individually, but also in terms of cross-border cooperation and transcultural processes in business and society. It was for this reason that the Zeppelin University decided to focus on learning about Sub-Saharan Africa during the Leadership Summit.'
Prof De Jongh presented the findings of a research study that was conducted by the ALCRL in Tanzania in 2014, called 'Leadership for Africa' (LFA). He specifically explored the findings of the Tanzanian research (LFA) in the context of transculturality. He argued for the importance of collective leadership and transformative partnerships, harnessing the strengths of Africa's cultural diversity. He placed emphasis on the rich interconnectivity that exists between regions, cultures and individuals across the continent. Prof De Jongh also reflected on the complexity of Africa and that it is impossible to have one single understanding of transculturality and leadership. It remains an important field of research, especially if one considers the dire need for African scholars to publish on leadership in Africa (by Africans).
Prof De Jongh concluded his keynote address by emphasising the importance of 'reclaiming socio-cultural resources in Africa that was suppressed by colonialism'. He also argued that more critique is needed of 'uncritical use of Western theory on leadership in Africa'. 'It's ultimately about building relationships and strengthening solidarity with followers. We need more dialogue on socio-cultural resources and aim for a social change in search of goodness. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) provide a platform for pursuing this objective,' he noted.
Prof Thad Metz (University of Johannesburg), Prof Derick de Jongh (University of Pretoria), Prof Josef Wieland (Zeppelin University) and Dr Agnes Atim Apea (CEO of Hope Development Initiative, Uganda and BBC Top 100 Most Influential Woman in the world)
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