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Africa needs courageous leaders

The sinking of the SS Trooper one hundred years ago is South Africa’s worst maritime disaster to date. I must confess, I only heard about the tragedy very recently; 616 South African troops perished. The troops were on their way to serve as labourers for the South African Native Labour Corps.

The fog was very thick and visibility was zero. The SS Trooper sank when it was struck by a much larger vessel, the Darro.

True leadership requires courage. I was inspired by the leadership of preacher and interpreter on board the stricken vessel, Isaac Wauchope Dyobha. He urged the men to face their fate as African warriors.

The men must have been terrified and yet they faced their impending death with great courage and dignity. Few leaders could command this respect, or inspire such bravery.

Africa’s history abounds with warriors and brave leaders; these have been in short supply in recent years in the continent as a whole.

Africa needs courageous leaders in government, business and all spheres of society. In 2016, Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini expressed the same sentiment: “What is lacking today is courageous leaders across the racial and political divide who can rise above personal interest and help us in navigating the current challenges.”

Africa as a whole needs leaders who are visionaries; we need courageous men and women who are willing to confront daunting challenges, such as poverty, corruption, high-levels of unemployment, nepotism, starvation, and challenges in education and health care.

Africa is awash with talent; however, much of it is untapped. Africa’s large young population is undoubtedly the continent’s richest resource. Employment opportunities need to be created, and young people need to receive a world-class education if the continent is to achieve its true potential.

A very exciting conference entitled: “Shaping the future of Africa,” is being held in Geneva in early March. CEOs, political decision-makers, bankers and investors will be attending. The conference is dedicated to developing and promoting the private sector in Africa. Our wish as a continent is that these leaders prove to be visionaries and courageous leaders, with the clout to make a very positive difference on the continent. We want to hear Africa roar.

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