By POELO IRENE KETA
Busisiwe Mavuso, CEO of Business Leadership South Africa, delivered the Rhodes Business School’s (RBS) 8th Annual Archbishop Thabo Makgoba Development Trust (ATMDT) Lecture on Values-Based Leadership on 4 October.
“We have fallen from being a rainbow nation to a mafia state. That is where South Africa is today,” Mavuso.
Mavuso is a former non-executive director on the Board of Eskom and a Chartered Accountant currently pursuing a PhD.
In making decisions, it is natural for leaders to refer to their values, Mavuso said. “Reflecting on this in the context of our South African leaders, what is our values system? Is there a clearly defined set of values that defines us as leaders?” she asked.
Mavuso said during her past 27 years in business, she had engaged with the government, the Presidency, labour union leaders and civil society leaders. She questioned if we had a clear, succinct set of values to guide us today as leaders in South Africa.
“Integrity is the best quality to possess – this is something I learned from my community, which had limited resources. I learned that thieves were shunned, and hard work and honesty were lauded. That’s the era I grew up in. But today, in the degradation of our society, corruption and theft have been normalised. Since we are talking about values-based leadership and why it matters, we must ask, ‘Do we have a transparent value system that guides us as leaders in this country?'”
In his opening address, the Director of the Business School, Prof Owen Skae, said the first face-to-face lecture came at an opportune moment in South Africa’s history to investigate how values-based leadership can equip the country with the resources and leadership it needs to navigate the current challenges,
As he reflected on some of the previous guest lecturers, Prof Skae shared wisdom imparted by Graca Machel during the third annual lecture; she highlighted the lack of collective outrage by South Africans against the rapidly escalating brutalisation of women and children. She said family, schools, churches, and higher education institutions must work together to salvage a values-based society we can continuously build.
The many honourable guests at the lecture included Cape Town Archbishop and former Bishop of Grahamstown, Thabo Makgoba and his wife Lungile Makgoba, Bishop of Grahamstown Ebenezer St Mark Ntlali, and Rhodes Vice-Chancellor Dr Sizwe Mabizela.
A ‘Responsible Leadership Essay Prize Award’ was presented to the essay winner for 2021, Lester Isaacs.
The essay requires the students to prepare an advisory document on Responsible Business Leadership, using their syndicate leadership models to show how responsible leadership can be encouraged and inculcated within the organisation in which they are a member.
Archbishop Makgoba read his citation: “In his essay, Mr Isaacs builds on the structure of the Cambridge Sustainable Leadership Model by integrating elements from other leadership theories, such as Ubuntu and Transformational Leadership, to create a very personal framework of his own future leadership responsibilities.”
As the elected President of the MBA Class of 2021, Isaacs gave the final vote of thanks to the speaker. “At the end of our course, we are excited to head back to our businesses and make a positive difference. Your lecture came as a wake-up call – a reality call to all of us. We see you as a leading light, somebody who disdains criminality in leadership and is out there fighting the good fight,” he said.
Source: Rhodes University Communications