Mmegi Blogs :: Leaders are born not made
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Friday 23 February 2018, 16:00 pm.
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Leaders are born not made

The problem with leadership in this country is that people who should be led are the ones leading or they want to lead when they should be led. Village Kgotlas have been deprived of born praise poets because now the praise poets want someone else to praise them.
By Tumie Modise Mon 16 Oct 2017, 16:38 pm (GMT +2)
Mmegi Blogs :: Leaders are born not made








Like most of my peers, I grew up playing ‘house’ with neighbourhood friends and cousins on our street every day. We particularly looked forward to this after school, weekends and during school vacations. For the benefit of those who missed this very important childhood step, playing house involved scavenging for card boxes, plastics and sticks, then going outside our parents’ homesteads where we would then proceed to build our own imaginary houses, then play mommy, daddy or child. If you were street smart you fed your ‘family’ real food and if you were not, you ate soil. The downside with serving soil was that it would then render you ‘husbandless’. Back at playing houses, women were hunters and gatherers while men would just lie down and sleep all day waiting to be served food, or waiting to sneak into the woman next door while you were out hustling for food! These things have been happening for centuries. Leaders are born not made. Leaders are noticed when they are still very young. Some we recognised them at these playhouses; others were first recognised during childhood in schoolyards.

These are kids who are always ready to assume command while still in school and leadership skills to them always appear to be so effortless. They are always ready to take positions of responsibility such as becoming class monitors or heads of imaginary families, leadership traits from a very young age. A few days ago someone mentioned to me without flinching, that leadership was in fact, just a spiritual calling. The person swears that for one to be a leader, they ought to have been a history of leadership in their families even spanning centuries; whether be it traditional or religious leadership roles. There is some element of truth in that. If you ask me, the current ongoing political circus across the opposition lends some credence to this. If indeed it is true that the dead sometimes turn around in their graves when they see shocking stuff down or up here, then our forefathers’ graves must be some dusty mess! (Perhaps the dust that so often engulf our villages is the dead turning in their graves- Ed). In just a little over seven years, I personally know of some followers who have already been ‘led’ by these political

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Moses’s of our times, to a staggering three political homes!

In just six years, they have acquired and worn three different political colours, sang two political anthems and slogans and as we speak, they are shopping for the third wardrobe and learning the third or fourth anthem and slogan, all this, while following a leader! A group of seemingly sane people; some of them professionals, mothers, fathers and grandparents. Who am I to judge?

But then again, there wouldn’t be any leaders if there were no blind followers, zealots and sycophants. The only problem with following leaders blindly, as I have learnt over the years, is that every time they pull stunts the joke is all on you, not on them. As you all battle it out, sometimes without true facts, they will not be bothered and will continue with their lives while you scream your voice hoarse, defending their blunder after blunder. I laughed hard recently when one such unfortunate group woke up one morning a week or two ago to defend their leader against bizarre accusations that he was involved in the illicit and illegal trading of a soap that (allegedly) restores female reproductive organs to their factory settings.  Blind following like its name suggests, just makes you blind and numb to reality. But then again it is said that nefarious leaders need blind followers to survive.

While I don’t recall my own leadership credentials at play houses many years ago, I doubt many of our leaders exhibited any leadership traits during their childhood either. I firmly believe that effective leadership is a product of being born with the right leadership attributes, that leadership isn’t something that you pick from the streets as you go. On the same note, I also believe that it is only possible to train somebody to become an effective leader if they are naturally intelligent. Intelligence is a characteristic that is not attained through learning, but born in a person. This is the same intelligence that will make a person know what the followers want and what they do not want, something our leaders painfully lack. I am not saying I cannot be led, I am only saying heaven will roll over a thousand times before I defend a soap, or a set of raunchy pictures.

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