Marie Claire (South Africa) - - FILTER - Colum­nist Ma­bale Moloi @Ma­baleMoloi

THE GLOBAL PO­LIT­I­CAL arena has al­ways been dom­i­nated by el­ders. The con­sen­sus seems to be that with age comes the wis­dom that equips you to bet­ter nav­i­gate dif­fer­ent sce­nar­ios in life. How­ever, there seems to be great dif­fi­culty, par­tic­u­larly among older men, in know­ing when to re­lin­quish the seat of power. We’ve seen this with Robert Mu­gabe, who’s been pres­i­dent of Zim­babwe for 28 years, as well as José Ed­uardo dos San­tos, pres­i­dent of An­gola since 1979.

Some might ar­gue that young peo­ple shouldn’t be lead­ing, but rather learn­ing and per­fect­ing the skills needed to take up such po­si­tions at a later stage. But I think lead­er­ship is a com­bi­na­tion of learn­ing through be­ing taught and some­thing that is in­her­ent in a per­son. There are born lead­ers who have those skills at their dis­posal from the time they are very young. And, as his­tory has shown us, real so­cial change of­ten comes through the ef­forts of the youth. From our own Soweto up­ris­ings in 1976 to the elec­tion of Barack Obama as US pres­i­dent, it was the voices of the youth that brought about po­lit­i­cal change.

That is why it is so ex­cit­ing to wit­ness the rise of young lead­ers here at home. While you may not al­ways like them, it is im­por­tant that we are see­ing peo­ple like Julius Malema and Mbuyiseni Nd­lozi of the EFF and Mmusi Maimane of the DA tak­ing cen­tre stage. I would love to see more work be­ing put into en­cour­ag­ing young women to lead. The older gen­er­a­tion might ar­gue that they know what is best for us be­cause they have more life ex­pe­ri­ence, but I would ar­gue that with new chal­lenges fac­ing us, per­haps a new ap­proach is nec­es­sary. The role of the lead­ers of yes­ter­day is to lay down the foun­da­tion, the role of the lead­ers of to­mor­row is to build on it.

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