Page 18 - University of Pretoria RESEARCH REVIEW 2016
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Africa is a socioculturally diverse region, and there are numerous attempts at reclaiming some of these sociocultural resources
in order to construct authentic forms of African leadership for development.
Willem Fourie, Associate Professor in Social Ethics at UP’s Faculty of Theology, and Development Advisor to the African Union’s NEPAD Agency, has focused his recent research on the idea of transformative leadership in Africa, and on morality and development. He co-designed and managed, with the Albert Luthuli Centre for Responsible Leadership (ALCRL) at UP, a research project on leadership and transformation, funded by the Uongozi Institute
in Tanzania. The Leadership for Africa project
aimed at identifying key enablers and disablers of transformation leadership, with one aspect entailing a review of research published over the past 60 years on leadership in Africa. A co-authored article based on this work has been published in Leadership, a prominent international leadership studies journal.
Two key themes emerge: Leadership legitimacy remains a key issue that continues to evolve, and is reflected, for example, in the African value and implications of Ubuntu. In turn, leadership
authenticity is a key emerging issue, as most of the research on African leadership theory still originates from outside Africa. Fourie comments that current and future generations of leadership scholars
‘would do well to develop theory based on African experiences and sociocultural resources and to establish dialogue with those theories developed and tested outside Africa’.
The Leadership for Africa project is innovative both in terms of its methodology and its foci. It uses cases of transformational change as the starting point
for identifying enabling and disabling factors for transformative African leaders. It is also one of the very few projects of this nature that does not use leadership theory developed elsewhere as point
of reference, but rather seeks to develop African leadership theory in dialogue with existing theory.
The project also laid the foundation for more conceptual research on the nature of leadership
and morality in Africa. In the chapter ‘Innovation or impediment: On morality in development’, published in Inclusive Innovation for Sustainable Development (Springer, 2016), Fourie writes that the patterning
of relationships between people is embedded in discernible complexes of positions, and that these positions frame and influence the creation and integration of moralities. And these positions develop so as ‘to solve the problems of everyday life’.
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Kampala city centre, Uganda – Willem Fourie

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