South Africa

Chapters in an Edited Book on Transformative Leadership

Company Human Sciences Research Council
Reference # REF: TIE-IED BOOK/12-2020
Published 23/12/2020
Contract Type Temporary
Salary Market Related
Location Nationwide, Nationwide, South Africa
The Human Sciences Research Council is currently engaged in a multi-year study entitled The Imprint of Education that aims to investigate the impact of university education on first generation graduates - both their career trajectories and their contributions to family, community and society. The study comprises a number of learning areas: (LA1) a quantitative longitudinal tracer study over five years that maps trajectories and outcomes; (LA2) an in-depth qualitative study that focuses on understanding and overcoming obstacles and enablers to graduates’ impact; (LA3) a study on what it means and what it takes to be a leader on the African continent and that provides resources to African universities to help students develop into the kinds of leaders our continent needs; (LA4) a wide ranging engagement with experienced scholars and thought leaders on the kinds of universities we need to ensure a continent able to deal with its challenges and take its place in the world; and (LA5) a study on the structural barriers that may hamper livelihood generation and economic participation for young people in Africa.
Job Functions Research
Industries Research
As part of Learning Activity 3 on Leadership, a scholarly book of essays with the working title Transformative Leadership: Timeless and timebound practices for young people in African contexts is planned that will serve as a resource for students and those who engage them on the topic of leadership in African contexts. This call describes the envisaged book and invites contributions in the form of chapter proposals for consideration.

Transformative leadership is the repeated act of engaging others in an ethical manner in order to bring about positive and lasting change. Finding, nurturing and encouraging young people in this deceptively simple practice is central to unlocking the potential and realising the full humanity of the African continent.

In business schools, firms, development agencies and public service institutions, instruction and proficiency in leadership is eagerly sought and infinitely debated. While the practice of leadership has been well theorised, frequently documented and endlessly taught, it has not been widely done from African perspectives. As with much contemporary scholarly and contemporary writing, the ideas that reach African ears have been written, lived and experienced in Western and Northern contexts. What characterises a good leader, what styles of leadership should be practiced, what approaches to leadership are best, and what pitfalls of leadership are to be avoided in the contexts of African cultural practices, values and contexts are critical elements that need to be considered.

Moreover, this volume attempts to show how African perspectives can enrich the practice of leadership in egregious, complex and ever changing contexts. While it will not offer prescriptions or checklists, it will attempt answers from three different vantage points – Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow.

Yesterday: Retaining lessons from past practices of transformative leadership across the African continent will delve into the heritage, culture, history and traditional practices of African heroes, thinkers and ancestors, to distil principles, philosophies and lessons worth preserving.

Today: Interrogating current practices of transformative leadership will centre the struggles and strengths of celebrity, every day and invisible leaders on the continent, and offering nuanced case studies that embrace the complexity of chaos, struggle, temptation and what it means to be both emerging from exclusion and domination, and newly embracing democracy, mobility and innovation.

Tomorrow: Anticipating leadership challenges for the future anticipates the rapid social, technological and cultural tide changes already sweeping the continent, and offering markers for the way ahead for a new generation who must lead and find their own path to the future.

Appendix 1

A call for chapter proposals on transformative leadership in African contexts

Additional information

The research team have brainstormed a number of questions that might stimulate thinking about possible chapters for the collected book. These are merely listed to offer potential directions All proposals, will be considered, that address with these and other topics on transformative leadership.

Section 1 Yesterday: Retaining lessons from past practices of transformative leadership across the African continent

Essays in this section might focus on people or practices from an African country’s struggle for freedom from colonialism, leadership challenges in the immediate aftermath, or traditional, cultural and religious practices, that both animate and confound the practice of transformative leadership. Chapters might seek to answer any of the following:

1.What particularly African notions, values or philosophies concerning leadership need to be remembered, preserved and practiced? What needs to be challenged and changed?

2.What are the values and practices of reknowned and notorious postcolonial leaders such as Huda Shaarawi of Egypt, Taytu Betul, Menes Zenawi of Ethiopia, Winnie Mandela, Steve Biko of South Africa, Yaa Asantewaa of Ghana, Gisèle Rabesahala of Madagascar, Wangari Maathai Kenya, Ahmed Sékou Touré of Guineau, Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, Julius Nyerere of Tanazania, Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana, Léopold Senghor of Senegal, Luís Cabral of Guinea-Bissau, Patrice Lumumba of Democratic Republic of the Congo, Menes Zenawi of Ethiopia, Idi Amin of Uganda, Mobutu Sese Seko of the DRC, and Nelson Mandela of South Africa?
3.How might the African values of respect, social harmony and self-reliance (and others) become part of leadership practices?

Section 2 Today: Interrogating current practices of transformative leadership

Essays in this section might offer case studies of leaders both celebrated and behind the scenes from whose lives and practices emerge both examples to emulate and pitfalls to avoid. Chapters might seek to answer any of the following:

1.What models or examples of leadership are there from our continent that are worth studying, emulating, discussing?
2.What can be learned from contemporary African leaders such as Aliko Dangote, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Davido Naija, Enoch Adeboye of Nigeria, Elon Musk, Miriam Makeba, Jacob Zuma, Trevor Noah, Kumi Naidoo of South Africa, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia, of South Africa, Cesária Évora of Cape Verde, Abiy Ahmed, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus of Ethiopia and Paul Kigame of Rwanda. What should be avoided? How else might they have exercised transformative leadership in their contexts, at the time?
3.What lessons for transformative leadership can be learnt from those involved in student activism?
4.How might interpersonal conflict be harnessed in practices of leadership?
5.How might African scholarship on leadership help us to understand and anticipate how best to practice transformative leadership? What might some of the critiques be of current scholarship on leadership?
6.What specific challenges do African leaders who are woman, displaced, rural, or living with disabilities face? How have they addressed these challenges and with what effect?
7.What opportunities are there to exercise transformative leadership in the public sector – both in government positions and in political appointments? What of in civil society organisation or in business?
8.What might distinctively African practices of leadership entail in reducing conflict (ethnic, religious, commercial) on the African continent?
9.How do crises, disruption and the longue durée of history affect leadership responses?
10.What is the relevance of contemporary approaches to leadership (such as servant leadership, Level 5 leadership, givers and takers) for African contexts? What are the main critiques of these approaches that emanate from Global North contexts?
11.What are the struggles, and hidden disciplines of leadership? What is a leader’s relationship to power, and how might they navigating the minefields of patronage and corruption?
12.What particular perspectives do people from the African continent bring to the practice leadership?
13.How do leaders encourage good “followership”, people who hold leaders to account?
14.What are examples of how leaders best orchestrate the contributions of those they lead?

Section 3 Tomorrow: Anticipating leadership challenges for the future

Chapters in this section focus on anticipating leadership challenges for the future in a African continent characterised by rapid social, technological and cultural tide changes, uncertainty and multiple possible futures. Chapters might seek to answer any of the following:

1.How might a new generation of leaders avoid the some of the most egregious practices in various places in the continent? (For example, material inequality, growing populations, limited resources, increasing disaffection, unethical business practices)?
2.What kinds of actions do those who are lead appreciate and value from leaders in communities, countries, places of work? What kinds of values, aspirations and self-knowledge will these leaders need?
3.What are the best ways for young people, entering leadership roles, to develop and strengthen their leadership contributions in general, in specific spheres such as public leadership, education, business, technology?
4.How might young leaders in African contexts redefine workplace culture to suit African sensibilities? What are ‘African sensibilities’?
5.How might young leaders address potential clashes of values in the future on the African continent?
6.What are going to be some of the ethical conundrums and dilemmas that a new generation of leaders will face in a digital and technological era?
7.How will a new generation of African leaders both honour their heritage and look to the future in their practice of transformative leadership?
8.How might patriarchy, ableism, sexism, agism be addressed in leadership practices for the future?
9.What will the role of leaders be in a future filled with machine learning, artificial intelligence and blockchain technologies?
10.What strategies do leaders who are having an impact on global issues practice?

Draft Publication Timeline

1.Call for proposals for book chapters advertised 8 December 2020 – 5 February 2021
2.Successful authors notified 28 February 2021
3.Draft chapter due 1 June 2021
4.Initial editors’ comments 1-30 June 2021
5.Symposium in Zanzibar 20-24 July 2021
6.Revised chapters due 30 September 2021
7.External review 30 September 2021 to 30 February 2022
8.Corrected chapters due April 2022
9.Internal copy editing and queries May to August 2022
10.Submission for publication 30 September 2022
11.Payment of authors’ honorarium 1 October 2022
12.Publication 4-6 months later

Draft Symposium Programme to be held 20-24 July 2021
Sea Cliff Resort, Zanzibar

Tuesday 20th July Wednesday 21st July Thursday 22nd July Friday 23rd July Saturday 24th July
07.30 Breakfast Breakfast Breakfast Breakfast
08.30 Session 2 (3 papers) Session 5(3 papers) Free Time/ Closing, way forward and Session10 (1 paper)
10.15 Tea/Coffee Tea/Coffee Tea/Coffee Tea/Coffee
10.45 Session 3 (3 papers) Session 6 (3 papers) Session 7 (3 papers)Editorial session
12.30 Lunch Lunch Lunch Check out and depart
13.30 Session 4 (3 papers) Stone Town Tour Session 8 (3 papers)
Free Time/
Networking /

15.45 Arrive and check in Tea/Coffee Tea/Coffee Tea/Coffee
16.15 Free Time/ Free Time/ Session 9 (3 papers)
Networking / Networking/
Filming Filming

17.45 Dinner Dinner Dinner at Emerson Dinner
Spice in Stonetown Networking/
(or similar) Filming
20.00 Meet, greet and
Session 1 (2 papers)
21.30 Closure Closure Closure Closure

Instructions for submitting a proposal to contribute a chapter to the edited book

We invite proposals from African and Diaspora academics, scholars, recent graduates, and development practitioners for original essays to contribute to this volume under any of the above themes (yesterday, today or tomorrow (see Appendix 1 for a list of possible questions to be considered) or on any other topic in keeping with the overall aim of the book. Proposed essays can be case studies of a single person, or a few people; they may be philosophical arguments or historical accounts; they might be an evaluation of a text such as a book written by a contemporary or past leader; or an analysis or critique of a traditional, cultural or religious practice; or based on original empirical research including interviews and surveys.

Proposals should consist of (1) a 200 word abstract; (2) a two page outline of the chapter and description of what you will cover; (3) a biographical note (written in the third person and suitable for publication) of 150-200 words that includes your motivation for contributing to the book study, your affiliation, designation, and career stage; and (4) a recent CV that clearly indicates your country of origin and residence and lists your main publications.

The selection criteria for proposals will be assessed on the basis of the quality of the abstract, outline and description of the envisaged essay, its originality and relevance; as well as a balance of generation, gender and geographic location of potential contributors.

Successful applicants will be asked to submit a draft essay of no longer than 6,000 words by 1 June 2021 and will be invited to a attend a symposium of authors to be held in Zanzibar, Tanzania from 20-24th July 2020 (See Appendix 1 for draft programme). All travel (economy class), accommodation and meals will be arranged and paid for by The Imprint of Education study. Airport transfers and visas (available on arrival if required) will be for participants’ own account.

In attendance at the symposium will be graduates who have participated in a filmmaking activity to capture ideas and perspectives on leadership in African contexts as well as a professional documentary-maker who will film aspects of the symposium and interview participants with their permission for inclusion in the documentary.

Final essays, ready for external review will be due on 30 September 2021. It is envisaged that the final volume will appear in print in early 2023 (Open Access with a reputable scholarly publisher). A more detailed timeline is available in Appendix 1. Authors whose chapters are included for publication will be paid an honorarium of ZAR30,000 once the book is in production.

Academic enquiries about the envisaged book and this call can be directed to Professor Sharlene Swartz at sswartz@hsrc.ac.za. Logistical enquiries and proposals (submitted as one pdf file) should be directed Tania Fraser tfraser@hsrc.ac.za.

The closing date for proposals is 5 February 2021. Successful authors will be notified of the acceptance of their proposal by 28 February 2021.

Job Closing Date 05/02/2021
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