The influence of the traditional African worldviews and Western colonialism on leadership in Africa
Weak and often corrupt leadership was identified in a previous article in this journal as one of the root causes of the present lamentable state affairs on the African continent. Arguing from the presupposition that failed leadership, apart from other factors, can also be the result of distorted worldviews, this follow-up contribution focusses on two different worldviews, viz. the traditional African and the colonial Western.
In the first main section it reviews negative implications of aspects of the traditional African worldview and culture on leadership. Some of the examples discussed are the following. Communalism (also called ‘ubuntu’) may encourage ills like nepotism and favouritism. State capture can be explained from Africans’ view of the state as a hierarchical, totalitarian and foreign institution. Africa’s view of time and history may result in leaders’ lack of managing time and planning for the future.
The second main section investigates the influence of Western imperialism and colonialism on post-colonial leadership, especially the idea of the nation-state and its powers.
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