“Central to good leadership is integrity and ethical conduct in electing or selecting national leadership,” said Dr Reuel Khoza, Chairperson of the Public Investment Cooperation, in his keynote address at the fourth Dr Sam Motsuenyane Annual Lecture recently hosted by the University of Pretoria (UP). “Those who lack skill or expertise to sustain an effective positive leadership, please play your role as a follower,” Dr Khoza added.
Speaking about how South Africa could emerge from its current political and socioeconomic turmoil, Dr Khoza hinted towards learning from the model lives of leaders such as Dr Sam Motsuenyane, adapting to challenges and finding feasible solutions, among other things.
Dr Motsuenyane is a former president of African business organisation the National African Federated Chamber of Commerce and founder of the African Bank. He was also the first black agricultural extension officer (an intermediary between researchers and farmers) who started a career in agriculture and conservation in the late 1940s. He has dedicated his life to pioneering and promoting entrepreneurship and black business in the townships.
From left to right: Programme director for the event journalist Tim Modise, Dr Sam Motsuenyane and UP Vice-Chancellor Professor Tawana Kupe.
Dr Motsuenyane founded the Dr Sam Motsuenyane Rural Development Foundation, a non-profit organisation that addresses needs and challenges that hinder the development of township and rural communities in South Africa. The foundation focuses on townships in Gauteng, North West and Mpumalanga.
Every year since 2018, the foundation has hosted an annual lecture where guests can impart knowledge. These lectures are usually hosted alongside a South African university, and for the past two years, UP has hosted the annual lecture.
Veteran journalist Tim Modise, who was the programme director for the event, is a trustee of the foundation. He opened the lecture by highlighting the growing relationship between the University and the foundation. “We as the Sam Motsuenyane Foundation appreciate the evolving relationship with UP. This relationship seems to be strengthening by the hour.”
Professor Tawana Kupe, Vice-Chancellor and Principle of UP, was also a speaker, and in his welcoming address, he highlighted the importance of the foundation. “The work that has been done by the Sam Motsuenyane Rural Foundation in addressing the needs and challenges impeding the development of townships and rural communities in South Africa, particularly in the agricultural sector, most certainly reflects the outworking of Charlotte Maxeke’s words,” he said. “And I quote: ‘This work is not for yourselves; kill the spirit of selves and do not live lives above your people, but live with them, and if you can rise, bring someone with you.’ These words are indeed embodied by Dr Motsuenyane himself, who has dedicated his life to empowering individuals and communities.”