UP staff and students feature in SABC documentary on Chief Albert Luthuli

Posted on May 22, 2024

The life and times of Africa’s first Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Chief Albert Luthuli, is in the spotlight as part of a new SABC documentary series on South Africa’s Nobel laureates. The episode features staff members and students at the University of Pretoria’s (UP) Albert Luthuli Leadership Institute (ALLI).

Each episode in the series poses key questions to the Nobel Prize committee to explore the reasons for the award, before juxtaposing them with the personal, social, environmental and political realities into which the laureates were born. The first episode is dedicated to Chief Luthuli, and critically reflects on his life and legacy. The documentary features his friends and family, and members of the Nobel selection committee.

In the documentary, ALLI Director Professor Derick de Jongh talks about how the institute got its name and what role institutions of learning play in changing the narrative of leadership. 

“The Albert Luthuli Leadership Institute plays a crucial role in enhancing our individual and collective understanding of leadership across various sectors,” he says. “It draws on the legacy of Chief Luthuli to inspire current and future leaders. We critically analyse and disseminate knowledge about effective leadership strategies, ethical decision-making and inclusive practices through our degree programmes, seminars and workshops. It is incumbent upon us to reimagine the kind of leadership we need for the future.”

The documentary also features Rashmi Rambiritch, a PhD candidate at ALLI, who speaks about the cultural significance of Chief Luthuli’s presence and how he was unashamedly African, from his clothing to how he carried himself. 

“It has been 14 years since UP launched the Albert Luthuli Leadership Institute, with its vision to reimagine leadership,” says Prof Themba Mosia, UP’s Interim Vice-Chancellor and Principal. “We are extremely proud to be the only university on the African continent with an institute that bears iNkosi Luthuli’s name. We do our best to live out his legacy by helping to develop good African leaders in every sector, who have foresight and are well-skilled, rounded citizens. For over a decade, ALLI has demonstrated its impact through graduate studies, training and robust engagements throughout the continent.”

ALLI also offers leadership training programmes tailored to different levels of leadership, from emerging leaders to seasoned executives. It serves as a vital resource for cultivating leadership excellence, and fostering a culture of responsible and visionary leadership.

“Chief Luthuli was a catalyst for democracy and human rights, advocating for political freedom, equality and dignity for all South Africans,” says Elma Akob, head of marketing and communications at ALLI. “These values provide a moral compass for navigating contemporary challenges that are relevant today. In a country characterised by division, inequality and conflict, the lessons of Chief Luthuli’s life remind us of the importance of integrity, unity, non-violence, servant leadership, and the pursuit of democracy and human rights.”

Chief Luthuli was known for his unwavering commitment to principles of justice and equality, even in the face of adversity, Akob adds.

“His integrity and moral courage serve as a reminder of the importance of standing firm in one’s convictions, even when it is difficult or unpopular,” she says. “We have had good leaders before and we can have good leaders again.”  

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