Celebrating the Leadership Legacy of Nelson Mandela
As the world celebrated 100 years of the life and legacy of Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, the United Nations Development Programme, signed a memorandum of understanding with the Thembekile Mandela Foundation as a pledge of our support to the Leading Like Mandela Leadership Programme. “With it, we hope to contribute to the transformation of South Africa by cultivating a cadre of thought leaders who embrace the leadership qualities and values lived out by the iconic Nelson Mandela. Values that include selflessness, inclusivity, transformation, accountability and self-application” said Ms. Nardos Bekele-Thomas, Resident Coordinator of the United Nations (UN) and Resident Representative of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in South Africa during her address at the signing ceremony. The UNDP will contribute towards the development and improvement of the curriculum; joint identification of participates as well as tracking the programme for the purposes of documenting and sharing lessons and best practices in comparison with similar programmes across the world.
The National School of Government (NSG), under the leadership of Professor Richard Levin will conduct the leadership training aspect of this programme, as such, the NSG also signed an MOU with the Thembekile Mandela Foundation. In his address, Professor Levin introduced transformational constitutionalism as a starting point for ethical leadership. He presented the challenges to building ethical leadership, amongst which were a limited understanding of transformative constitutionalism and an absence of an effective affirmative economic development strategy, “if we are unable to change the social inequality; if we fail to see the effect of unemployment across the landscapes of peri-urban landscapes, then we fail our people” he said.
As she introduced the Leading Like Mandela Programme and what it aims to achieve, Madiba’s eldest grandchild Ndileka Mandela reflected on the advances that the world has made, but with it, the injustices and atrocities that continue to plaque the world; and bringing it home, referred to how millions of people are denied the right to be human as a result of poverty, the unavailability of basic necessities such as food, jobs, water and shelter, education, health care and a healthy environment. “This calls for conscious leaders who selflessly strive to improve the lives of their people sustainably” she said. “Granddad’s leadership style was inspired by his attendance at tribal council. This taught him to listen and learn how to treat others with respect no matter who they are. This programme will provide the space to empower leaders with a deeper awareness and understanding of the characteristics and qualities required to Lead Like Mandela” she added.
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