Got to meet a leader I have always admired this week at the #KCDFat20 #DurableDevelopment conference. His personal and professional life has always demonstrated activist love and commitment for people. Reverend Frank Chikane was expelled from theological school and later defrocked for his commitment to bring apartheid. He was one of the founders of the Black Consciousness Movement, helped build the United Democratic Front and then joined Government as Chi. He is now the Kagiso Trust Chairperson.
Here are some of his thoughts paraphrased this week when he was in Nairobi.
“Apartheid was very destructive. We needed to build new values that could oppose racism, injustice and inequality. We did this knowing that saints would emerge. The United Democratic Front only had one indisputable leader but it didn’t need Mandela to tell it what to do next. Leadership must always ask itself. Are our people enlivened and confident or polarized and fearful? This is a question for leaders.
South Africa’s past was about human dignity and respect; it is now about economic empowerment. Today, South Africa has leaders who loot and then seek to retire. (Can’t resist interrupting this, but Kenya has a few leaders who loot and then seek to occupy the state).
Kagiso Trust approached the South African Government and agreed on the quality of education as a national problem. We offered to match Government finances to resolve them.
By creating a self-supporting organisation, we could build a replicable model for others. We have learnt that creating value-based spaces challenges corruption and inefficiencies. Challenging those that benefit from corruption and inefficiencies also produces new tensions.”