My last editor’s note for the year is always written with mixed emotions as I realise that nearly 12 months have flown by swiftly. Yet in the same breath it is quite a relief that the long year is finally over and visions of a summer break with no deadlines, filled with lazy days by the pool, are the only thing keeping these tired old bones going.
The year 2013 has been interesting and not one of the easiest. It has challenged leaders more than any other year in recent times as the expectations to produce, enhance, perform, compete, preserve and govern place more pressure on the human race to survive.
Just looking at the many personalities we have covered in Leadership this year, I have noticed a distinct trait: a new breed of younger politicians and savvy business people have taken over the reigns, and are ready to take the country into its 20th year of democracy. The rise of new leadership in our society on such a large scale brings with it a new level of thinking, 100% in line with a democracy coming of age. It introduces to South Africa a new dimension that the country desperately needs as the time has come for all of us to cut the stale umbilical cord which allowed us (to a certain extent) to blame apartheid when things went wrong.
These new movers and shakers gracing our magazines are not necessarily household names, but they are the second generation leaders since democracy–the people that will be making a difference as the hourglass runs out on our pioneers of democracy.
As we celebrate the life of Nelson Mandela, the father of our young democracy, the time has come for us to let go. Madiba has taught us many things about leadership, he has done so much for all of us and more importantly, he has taught us that nothing is impossible — and the time for possible is now. He has especially taught us to share our knowledge as an investment for the future.
What stands out for me about 2013? Our new leaders! In nearly all my interactions with them, the one thing that gives me hope is the fact that they are men and women who have, in some way or another, ‘learnt’ from Madiba – they are willing to share their knowledge and groom and develop those who follow them to secure future leadership. The first 20 years of democracy were a kind of practice run. The real work starts now. Yet in the same breath, 20 years in the life of a country is not long, so as much as we need to be critical as we govern and lead, we also need to have patience with ourselves and others – another note we can take from ‘Encyclopaedia Madiba’!
As we close the chapter on 2013, my heart goes out to the Mandela family as they mourn their beloved father, grandfather and husband. May they find consolation in the fact that our dear Madiba will live eternally in the hearts and souls of all mankind.
I wish you all a happy festive season and a prosperous 2014!