Leadership crisis source of imbalances

HARARE - Perhaps the starting point when examining this invaluable addition to African scholarship would be exploring the series editors’ comments on the book.

“The author combines the African philosophy of Ubuntu or humanness, the cornerstone of African thought and life, with the concept of Integral Leadership, with particular reference to Lessem and Schieffer’s combining, in their 2010 book Integral Research and Innovation, of nature and community, culture and spirituality, science and technology, and politics and economies.

This connectedness in the new paradigm of wholeness and relatedness goes beyond relationships of human beings alone and involves experiences with nature and community.”

For Passmore Matupire, a renowned researcher, the key word is integral.

The bulk of the book is a product of the research proposal he did for his doctoral studies with the South African Da Vinci Institute of Technology.

Matupire himself acknowledges that there is a crisis in leadership the world over both in the business and political domains.

“The world is on fire because of the imbalances, e.g. rural and city centres, even in society and politics — housing and financial crises — and these are caused by imbalances at individual, community and national levels. . . .Integral refers to wholeness, completeness and incorporates all aspects of the human system — nature, culture, spirituality, politics  . . .”

The subject of transformation has been topical in recent years with central government also coming up with ambitious programmes like the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation (ZimAsset). Sadly, ZimAsset has not been able to achieve its objectives on the back of a poorly performing economy.

Matupire’s book takes note of the importance of traditional knowledge systems, the bedrock of the philosophy of Ubuntu.

The book is divided into six parts, which make up the ten-chapter volume.

According to Bennie Anderson, Da Vinci Institute of Technology chief executive; “The author advocates for a more robust engagement by all stakeholders to move from the current ego-system to the development of a sustainable eco-system . . ., allowing society to be free at all levels, including the political and economic levels . . . the dominant theories that have historically guided leadership choice in the arena of transformation are mistaken and therefore argues for the development of an alternative leadership construct . . . Integral Leadership is an articulate counter-argument in an era of violence, corruption and the suffering of too many people”.

The writer’s perspective of leadership derives from an indigenous and exogenous perspective, bringing together a newly Integral approach, which also introduces industrial ecology and knowledge ecology as an evolution of the Ubuntu philosophy.

It is a widely-held view that research based on any country informs policy.

One would expect that an inclusive and development-oriented education system would perform the vital role of reproducing and expanding society’s knowledgebase through socialisation via generations into the productive structure of society and by enabling people to master technology.

This would provide them with the ability to combine existing knowledge — in proper ways — thereby inculcating into the population and culture the capacity for innovation.

Sadly, this is not happening in Africa in general and Zimbabwe in particular, owing to the various crises that have continued to blight and choke our otherwise vibrant geographical polity.

The greatest of these crises is the one involving leadership.

A co-creation of both the indigenous and exogenous would produce what Matupire refers to as “hutungamiri huzere (complete leadership) buoyed by the Ubuntu heritage.

If indigenous knowledge systems are incorporated into the leadership phenomenon, there could be a change in the country’s developmental thrust.

Matupire believes the wealthy life stories of our icons — Nelson Mandela, Kwame Nkrumah among others — could inspire Africa’s new leadership to value the lives of the continent’s poor populations, who are in the majority.

The leaders have to address the several imbalances abound in the world.

The construction of structures like the pyramids in Egypt, our own Great Zimbabwe monument, were informed by the indigenous philosophy of Ubuntu7, which could be made universal and brought into the leadership at workplaces as well as the political system.

This would undoubtedly alleviate the imbalances that seem inherent in our societies.

Matupire is the managing director of Kairos Leadership Institute, a leadership development organisation that he owns and runs in Zimbabwe.

He is also a founder Trustee of the Pundutso Centre for Integral Development (Zimbabwe), an Integral development and collaborating partner of Trans4M.

He plays a lead role, together with Pundutso, in advancing innovation-driven institutionalised research.

Matupire sits on several private and public company boards.

He is a leadership consultant with a passion for leadership development and has worked with most organisations in Zimbabwe today

His book, Integral Ubuntu Leadership — which is part of the Transformation and Innovation Series — remains an invaluable appendage to already existing scholarship on leadership but one that is unique in that it taps into the African philosophy of Ubuntu and therefore helps in the understanding of the subject area.

Integral Ubuntu Leadership,
By Passmore Musungwa Matupire; London, Routeledge, 2017.
163 pages
ISBN: 978-1-13-863344-5 (Paperback)

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