Inspiring Selfless Leadership

Inspiring Selfless Leadership by Mrs Ruth Moloi
Effective Management or Leadership remains one of the famous topics of the 21st century. It seems everybody is seeking for solutions on how to protect and shelter themselves basically to provide infrastructure that will uphold them and not fail them.


Several times we have observed and witnessed the manifestations of leadership shortcomings amongst our current crop of Leaders. Just to highlight a few of the endless list of these challenges:


Competition amongst Leaders



Abuse of power


Wars and

Effects of colonization


These complex challenges pose a continuous negative effect on great leaders and affect innocent people who look up to their leaders; and if these cases are not taken into rest, the harsh reality is that we will soon find ourselves undergoing unbearable consequences or even worse importation of this crisis to the next generation.
The simplest but most prolific and profound answer may be found in the resolve of Sir Frederik Douglas, an American reformer, orator, author , and a statesmen. After escaping from slavery he became a leader of the abolitionist movement. Sir Douglas says the following wise words: Those who profess to favor freedom and yet depreciate agitation are people who want crops without plowing the ground, they want rain without thunder and lightning, they want the ocean without the roar of its many waters.
This is a basic labor principle of no work no pay. No hardship no fruits. Working hard is an inevitable leadership character that always yields positive results. Therefore, a great leader cannot dispense without this variable. A leader need to be smart, and always work towards serving people and most importantly leading them towards a common goal. This is a fundamental vision of any astute leader.
Perhaps the critical question we need to ask ourselves is “Does this generation have a common goal or a vision? If not so, then we will be running a risk of provoking endless conflicts. The truth is ‘where there is no vision, people perish’. And until we know what we want, we will never achieve anything. A vision directly linked to your target.
The difference between our previous leaders and current leaders is that our former leaders had a ‘common goal’ and that goal was sound and crystal clear ‘liberation of African people from colonial powers’. Just to acknowledge some of those with remarkable and legendary leadership skills such as the following legendary leaders:
1. Nelson Mandela the former president of South Africa and an icon of the African continent, he lived a selfless life in sacrificing 27 years of struggling to ensure liberty for the generation that came after him.
2. Steve Biko who was a martyr and a founder of Black Consciousness Movement. He played a very important role in contributing to the ‘common goal’ that was meant to liberate Africans. Biko was blessed with wisdom unparalleled and is reflected in many of his writings and recorded utterances. He is a man of wise words, but I will paraphrase just a few words. He said: “It is better to die for an idea that will live, than to die for an idea that will die.”

In other words we ought to see the end in the beginning rather than to react impulsively.

3. Mahatma Gandhi who also lived his life totally for the well being of others. He was a true humanitarian. Gandhi says the following prolific words “A man who was completely innocent, offered himself as a sacrifice for the good of others including his enemies and became the ransom of the world, it was a perfect act.”
Gandhi teaches one of the significant lessons to leaders and individuals, that above all else there is someone greater than our goals and visions, someone who sacrificed his life for all and this is what I call the spiritual aspect of an astute leader, acknowledging the creator.

4. Martin Luther King who was always conscious about the next generation he also shared his wisdom sparingly and contributed to the common goal, Martin Luther says these word “I have a dream that my children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the colour of their skin ,but by the content of their character.”
Martin Luther highlights an important factor that should be in every leader’s’ mind, ‘Character’. It does not matter which side of the world you come from, without character, you are like a house without foundation.
There is so much content and life skill lessons we could learn from our former leaders, as a result today we benefit from their sweat and as they toiled for the liberation of the people they so lead. Most importantly they lived a sacrificial life in order for the people to be liberated from control of colonists.
The least we can all do in their honor is to know that each one of us has a responsibility to diligently maintain the freedom, by taking our positions and living a selfless life by finding our purpose and focus on it.
I understand liberty to be a state of mind. It is about an individual being liberated from self imposed confinement. However, freedom is a different concept. It is what we have attained through a continuous struggle against external powers. It needs to be protected. It must be sustained. That can be achieved if we elect the right people to lead us while we seek to sustain it. We need to equip the leaders of tomorrow today.
The most common challenges that we faced with in maintain these liberty comes from our current leaders, (Competition from leaders, love of money etc) in short or in summary the problem faced here is “Greed”.
Despite the fact that Africa is indeed a great continent with so much wealth in the form of natural resources such as Gold, Diamonds, Chromium, Cobalt, Oil, et cetera, but its success is obstructed by the greed of many of its leaders. Greediness is a pandemic that needs to be curbed and put to halt at once. Until current leaders think deeply about the next generation of Africans, Africa will remain stagnant or worse than before.
In conclusion in any human development, leadership plays a very vital role. It is very prominent in guiding and leading human towards stability and progress be it a political, social, economical or religious. The great requirement for such progress is selfless leaders that are willing to sacrifice their time, money and skills for the sake of the people they are leading.
True leaders are those who see beyond ‘The Now’ and yet they live in ‘The Now’, meaning the decisions they make now should be considerably of the future consequences whiles convenient for the present. Every woman and every man has a role to play.




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