On the occasion of presenting the ritualistic State of the Nation Address (SONA), President Cyril Ramaphosa correctly immortalised the late legend of African jazz music, Hugh Masekela and called upon the nation to put to real action the lyrics of his popular composition, “Thuma Mina”.
As the President recited the song he afforded me the rare opportunity to locate not only the relevance but the work that the Ethical Foundation for Leadership Excellence is already involved with since its inception in July 2015. Co-founded by Messrs Morare Manaka, Martin Sehlapelo and I, this is the Foundation which has become the noticeable agent for the promotion of ethics as a primary feature and a prerequisite of good and effective leadership and governance in our country.
It is against this background that the Foundation views the concept of Thuma Mina as an affirmation of nearly all the principles the Foundation stands for. This includes nation-building, advocating for social cohesion and working with communities and individuals to aspire for excellence. Further, the Foundation is a facility through which all those who embrace the philosophy of ethical leadership will make a great difference in the lives of South Africans.
To “turn it around … and wanna be there” as in the words of the iconic Masekela, the Foundation has designed the following standing programmes:
- School Leadership Support Programme whose focus is on training, mentoring, coaching and providing the required support to School Governing Bodies (SGB), School Management Teams (SMT) and Learner Representative Councils (LRC). All these entities are targeted to ensure that leadership in schools improves tremendously through the promotion of ethical conduct. Quite a number of schools have already benefited from this initiative.
- School Health Support Programme which provides training in first-aid management within the school environment ensuring that children, particularly at the elementary and primary levels do not become casualties of injurious danger and harm.
- Conflict Management and Dispute Management seeks to equip the leadership of any institution or community with the required skills to provide solid response to social conflict and instability. Quite a number of schools and faith entities have been the primary beneficiaries of this programme.
- Environmental Ethics calls upon communities to pay special attention on the preservation of the environment and its integrity, discouraging communities from engaging in activities that promote littering, soil degradation, water wastage and pollution, amongst others.
- Ethics and Leadership programme inspires communities to embrace ethical values and make accountability part of their lifestyle. Out of this programme communities are able to develop character qualities necessary to enhance the idea of nation-building and the love for the country.
Indeed if South Africans were to build a nation based on values reflected in the preamble of the Constitution, each one of us will have something invaluable to contribute because Thuma Mina calls on all of us to identify with the values of our country and act in a manner that promote its common ideals and nationhood.
Thuma Mina makes it possible for each individual to respect the flag with all the accompanying symbols such as the National Anthem, Parliament and the Constitution. Once each citizen gets attached to these symbols and show respect for them, then we are on course to build a nation compared to none globally.
The Ethical Foundation for Leadership Excellence endorses the Thuma Mina clarion call.
Rev. Mautji Pataki
Ethical Foundation for Leadership Excellence
Founder and Chairman