Addressing graduands during the seventh annual graduation service, on 12 May, Rev Prof Itumeleng Mosala noted that in the last 10 years in South Africa there has been a crisis of leadership whose effects are noticeable everywhere in the South African society.
“That crisis extends to every facet of our lives and society. It is in our education system; it is in our churches and it is in our companies. It is everywhere in our society. It is particularly of concern in the black community. Black South Africa is experiencing a pervasive spiritual crisis. It is at a cross roads,” he said.
Mosala listed some South Africans who have demonstrated leadership in the past and lamented that with the current crop of leaders, we cannot tell what leadership is anymore.
He said, “In the days of the struggle, we had a sense of what leadership is. When Rev ZR Mahabane, a Methodist minister for well over sixty years, became President of the African National Congress (ANC) multiple times beginning in the 1920s, we could tell what was meant by leadership. When Rev Seth Mokitimi became the first black President of the Methodist Church of Southern Africa more than 200 years after the arrival of the Methodist Church in this country, we could tell what leadership is.
“When Robert Sobukwe, a Methodist preacher, became the President of the Pan-Africanist Congress of Azania, and who in March 1960 led thousands of people in a march against the white settler colonial state and its pass laws, there was no confusion of what leadership is, there was clarity about what leadership was and we knew what leadership meant. When Jeff Masemola of the PAC, the longest serving political prisoner at Robben Island, together with Nelson Mandela and others emerged stronger and determined with deeper love for their people and land, we were not confused about the meaning of leadership.”
But now, he said, we cannot even tell who our leaders are. Mosala added that the problem is not so much about the quantity of leaders as it is about their quality.
“The problem is not that there are no charismatic and talented people and leaders who can rise up to be recognised as leaders. In fact there has been an exponential growth of well-qualified and very talented new leaders in South Africa. The quantity is there. The problem is the quality,” Mosala said.
This year witnessed a record sixty graduands. The first group of the distance learning programme, the Higher Certificate in Christian Ministry, also graduated.