by Johann Theron
Leaders traditionally do not classify themselves. This allows a sort of evolutionary anticipation towards emerging scenarios which makes identification of the “next” leader difficult. In this sense leaders are a lot like entrepreneurs because they essentially come from “nowhere” to upset the status quo to the detriment of some reigning power or corporate interest – or a prior leader. Normal people do not really care who the next leader will be, because they know instinctively that such a person will act in their interests. Therefore, in the normal flow of things, leaders will (theoretically) follow on each other seamlessly because followers will by definition accept them.
One good example of seamless leadership is perhaps the Danish Monarchy where no internal conflict or change of leadership has occurred in more than a thousand years. The British Monarchy is also approaching the same sort of life span although they are being challenged from time to time by irritants like Ireland and Scotland. There are not many examples of non-family seamless monarchies that survived the test of time, but one great example is perhaps the United States of America where it seems that for at least a few hundred years some form of stability and even predictability has been achieved as far as leadership is concerned.
Not much is known about tribal leadership since Western tribes all but succumbed to the higher form of organizational capacity utilized by Western nations to achieve such stability. But at least in Africa which is still immersed in the doldrums of tribalism, a lot of real-life examples have been quite noticeable. Who could forget Idi Amin and later the infamous Mugabe where leadership transition from Ian Smith became such a disaster? Since Mugabe does not transition to the next seamless leader, one can readily assume that any leader surviving the death of Mugabe would turn out to be a disaster as well.
The interesting thing about Ian Smith is that he remained in Zimbabwe until he quietly passed away; thereby signaling that he literally gave his life to his country. The well-known General Erwin Rommel also gave his life to his country and apparently General Patton did too.
Leaders are distinguished here as those that
- simply come and go;
- those that fit into a comfortable seamless transition without martyring themselves;
- those that lead and die for their country and
- lastly those that kill everyone else to stay the leader.
Clearly Zuma is not a tribal king so his legacy is not really family-oriented, but oriented towards his king and his king’s legacy. Even Nelson Mandela was not the tribal king and he remained a subject of a (different) king that now votes for the opposition to the political party he personified. This raises the interesting question of who exactly made people that were no tribal kings, “kings”?
There are no transitions applicable in these cases; there is no entrepreneurial emergence because the original kings remained in power; they did not die for the cause but they did kill or were involved in killings to get into power. Such people are highly attractive to international power-brokers that represent – in all likelihood – the onepercenters of the world (for want of a better classification).
It implies therefore that Mandela, Mbeki and Zuma are not leaders and neither is the ANC’s so-called leadership seamless, despite their 100-year existence claim. It merely indicates that some other onepercenter decided that it may be beneficial for the time being, to push the ANC for his or her own benefit. With the unfavorable outcome presently described in the newspapers, the time left over for the ANC has been redefined.
Whereas the citizens of Denmark themselves are safe, only the tribal “leader” can claim to be safe, or at least have “no stress”. While puppets like Mugabe and Zuma feels safe because their followers are killing each other, Danish people move around the world unscathed.
But since new real leadership is about to emerge thereby exposing the rigid “old” patriarchal double standard systemic fault lines, a new phase in South Africa is in the wind, and new ideas are being proposed while bad historic examples are exposed.
To make it clear – it is time to embrace a new leadership.