THROUGH my years as a professional, I would yearn to witness more leaders who upheld the difficult
and real truth of black economic transformation, captains of industries who were deliberate to fight for the freedom of oppressed black professionals, speaking boldly towards challenges around transformation in Corporate South Africa.
Two decades later, the business sector has been privy to the failure of some leaders who occupy prominent and
key roles that are central to driving the transformation agenda, yet dismally fail to unapologetically drive the much needed transformation agenda.
This past week I found myself reflecting following tweets from the keynote address given by Malose Kekana at the Maduke Lot Ndlovu Legacy Trust dinner, held in Johannesburg. One could not help but recall the astute leadership qualities the man stood for.
Sadly, not many young professionals even know the impact this man had in the development of the black
empowerment framework within the corporate sector.
Former Black Management Forum President Maduke Lot Ndlovu raised his sentiment on the paucity of black
managers within the private and public sectors without fear. Lot Ndlovu, as he was passionately known and his memory still vividly revered, was an independent and original thinker who courageously
advocated for the role of black leadership, benefits of transformation, and the need for black empowerment in all sectors, positioning this narrative as the right thing to do for South Africa.
The Black Management Forum has done well in trying to navigate through political changes of the country post 1994,
on a quest of allowing the black race a fair chance in the workforce arena, beyond government legislation and policies.
Ndlovu is one of the few leaders who would bite the bullet by the teeth and stand in the gap for policies that indirectly further disempower black professionals. Often we have leaders of this nature, we admire them, we look up to them and as soon as their time and purpose on earth is done, their memory and principles they
lived by die with them, taking the entire
legacy to the grave. This is why most of our efforts as black people have failed; we are still apologetic about protecting memories of our own leaders; then we blame Europe and the West for taking a lead in telling
stories of our own.
One of the most important gifts the Black Management Forum has given black South Africans, black professionals and leaders across the spectrum, is the Maduke Lot Ndlovu Legacy Trust.
This platform is an inspiration that constantly serves as a pillar of remembrance for the direction Ndlovu was pushing towards regarding the black populace in corporate SA. It’s also a reminder of his integrity and the gifted
art of service in empowering others in democratic dispensation.
There is no better call in honouring a man resilient in his leadership, like establishing a legacy trust in his name,
solely to advance his visionary thought leadership and also to continue the work he had started of ensuring that education becomes a reality for black youths with ambitions and the potential of becoming future captains of industry.
Why is it important for South Africa to remember Lot Ndlovu?
Ndlovu has given us evidence of what progressive black leadership can look like. He has left evidence spelling many reasons why it’s important for the black race to seek, find and occupy its own place in sectors that are key to shaping policy, advancing the significant progression of black professionals within different sectors.
He has also proven that when the domination of white managerial positions occupied largely by the majority of whites is ended, it finds capable, experienced managers who can accelerate the high level quality of business ethos, encourage efforts of transformation that will match the global competitive edge for the benefit of South
Ndlovu resembles aspirations still untapped in the hearts and minds of many young black people who need to hear of his story, read of his journey, relate to his character and begin to easily believe that they too can be able to take up from the authentic transformational leadership thread that has left an important trace that needs a much bolder and younger generation to tap into the results it may produce, in empowering black people today and in the future.
Africa, in its entirety, is in great need of leaders whose concern is to change the lives of the people, to inspire the unique and solid leadership potential that can carry South Africa and Africa forward without further infiltrating black people into the stagnancy of non-progression and growth.
The corporate sector is key to the development of any country, as it carries a ‘think tank’ that builds on the industry brain gain ready to influence economic policy and culture. Significant strides have been made post 1994, yet the corporate sector, though changes have been made, still remains with segments that continue to overlook black
talent and skill.
Ndlovu would not have been able to sleep, with such realities going on in 2017; it is now the duty of the young who have learnt from him to close the gap.
Jabulile Buthelezi is an author and social activist