Our history in Africa is based on oppression through colonization, which has formed our daily way of life. The experience goes on in every nation that was colonized. The oppression was so intensified with a capacity of producing an obvious culture, which is enormously difficult to break. This culture has trained us not to be able to express ourselves.
This wrong belief system about leadership makes many Africans to look for power without leadership. Some believe that money gives you power to lead. Some also believe that leadership is all about being in the most important position. Regrettably, we have suffered from a distorted and brain-washed education which has made us not to know ourselves. We have been oppressed by the idea that leadership is reserved for a group of people called ‘the Elite’. This is a wrong belief because everyone is gifted. This mind-set has to change.
We are producing power seekers who can neither change things nor bring improvement, instead of leaders. The politicians fight and kill for it, business people negotiation for it, clergy jockey for it, athletes abuse drugs for it, and students cheat for it. Instead of producing leaders, we are producing rulers. Everyone wants to lead at all cost. Why are we doing all these? Because we all have great things in us fighting for expression. The problem is that we don’t know how to use our given power rightly.
Also, we have refused to manifest our true potentials due to some myths about leadership that we have believed. These myths have formed our philosophies and we apparently act them through our attitudes to ourselves and others. The truth is that we cannot live better than what we think and believe. Some of the myths are: “Leaders are born, not made”, “Leadership is by providence”, “Leadership is the result of charismatic power”, “Leadership is the outcome of forcefulness”, etcetera.
We need to meet ourselves, know ourselves and battle with self-devaluation. Leadership has to do with individuals first. That simply means; “It is personal leadership before it becomes public leadership.” It is imperative for all Africans to understand that we don’t need power or position to lead or influence people. Only real Leaders keep influencing people while in positions because they live for others. We all have to discover our leadership seed, develop the seed of leadership and demonstrate. We all have the leadership ability. Everyone has the ability to influence a project, which could meet several human needs through businesses, innovations and inventions, or government.
However, leadership is not about someone else, it is about everyone. Everyone is a leader. Every human possesses leadership potential because everyone was born with leadership seed (gift). It’s a pity that many of us have never tried to ‘make things happen’; instead we ‘watch things happen’ or ask, ‘what happened?’ If we don’t change this now, the culture will ruin generations to come. It is high time we renew our minds, change our thinking and get the understanding that we all have leadership abilities to influence everything we can think of.
Real leadership is more of attitude than techniques. Methods or Techniques are the foundations of manipulation, and this we are experiencing in Africa. Real leadership is not about memorizing formulas, learning techniques. It is all about attitude of the heart. Attitude is generated from beliefs and beliefs are sourced from ideas. Besides, conditioned ideas are shaped from convictions which are built through our traditions.