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What this Freedom Day means to me…20 years down the line
Yesterday I was sitting in the Radisson Blue hotel meeting one of the WHO representatives to discuss business but also just reflecting on where Africa as a continent is at right now. In our reflections the big theme was the role of leadership in setting up Africa as a world power by 2022. A huge dream, perhaps unrealistic I agree. But what’s the use of a realistic dream bound by current constraints? Liberia, Malawi, Ghana, Nigeria, Rwanda, Botswana – all of them got attention in our two hour meeting and deconstructing the state of leadership right across- including my own home here in Mzansi.
On this freedom day, I always take an opportunity to reflect on what this day means to me, and in 2012 I reflected publicly on this day and I constantly revisit this post to check if i still feel the same.(City Press, 7 May 2012: http://www.citypress.co.za/you-say/what-freedom-day-means-to-me-20120507/). And while I feel a general sense of progress in terms of where we are, I am sitting at this point in time in a space of concern about the quality of leadership we have in place currently, I am concerned about matters of ego and arrogance and selfishness- and the resultant anarchy that such arrogance in leadership brings. I worry about how this freedom that I value so much is threatened by this lack of consciousness and accountability that I feel is rearing its head here and across different parts of the continent.
So what this Freedom Day means for me, not just as a leader in this country, but as an African leader, it means I should FREE myself from my area of concern and move into a space of influence and ask “what am I in control of”? And as such take up my freedom to send a very strong message to those that I have elected as leaders to manage the country on my behalf, that I am watching, and I am not happy! That I am concerned and I am not sleeping – and that I will not hesitate to remove them from power. That I am not stupid, that I appreciate the glory of the past and where we are. You have done great work. But what got us here- won’t take us to 2022!
My vote on the 7th of May will be a message to my elected leaders, a warning strike that says, “Stop, look, listen” to me! Or else…you will not be here the next time. I am no longer voting on loyalty, but on who is the best person for the job. We have work to do, it’s a different struggle, it requires different skills and attributes, and if you are not ready- and still focused on playing games, still playing in the old struggle, get out of the way- and let the REAL leaders get on with the work!
And with this small message, I am also reminding all of us, all of you who are reading this, that you have the power beyond imagine to send a message to your, OUR leaders, that it’s been a great journey- however we are not there yet- “Stop, Look, listen to me”!
Happy Freedom Day to everyone!
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