Renowned speakers spoke to Stellenbosch University students about what it means to be a leader in the 21st century.
Rubix and Wimbledon’s cluster of residences and PSOs hosted a talk at Eendrag residence on Friday about what 21st century about this topic. The room was filled with students around campus who were eager to learn more.
One of the four speakers that took to the podium was Hanlie Retief, an award-winning South African journalist who writes for the Rapport.
Retief gave students insight into her experience of writing for SARIE magazine: “When I went for an interview to become a writer for SARIE magazine, Issa De Villiers, the former editor asked me what I wanted in life and I only had one answer.”
“I want to write really, really well, I said and after that I had a clear vision of where I wanted to be in life.”
Retief spoke about stories that inspired her and kept her going throughout her career to be the best leader she could be in her field of work.
Chris Delport, the director of Stellies authentic clothing, studied at the University of Stellenbosch and achieved a bachelor of science degree in human life science with psychology.
Delport raised the question to the audience on whether they would like to be a leader.
Delport said: “Whether you believe it or not, whether you recognize it or not, each of you on some level or another have influence on another person.”
“And that is exactly what leadership is. No matter how great or small, each of us has influence on someone else’s life.”
He said that true leaders echo the role of servant leadership and “oppose that of positional leadership.”
Prof Nox Makunga, a PhD graduate in plant molecular biology, and a lecturer at Stellenbosch University, spoke about what young people need to do to tap into their leadership role in South Africa.
Prof Makunga said: “Leadership is not static, it is extremely dynamic and forever changing in order to really deal with the consequences of the world we live in.”
“Grab the opportunities that you are given, realise that every right is a privilege that comes with consequences. You need to make decisions as young people that will add value to our society.”
Jannie Mouton, the South African billionaire, founder, and chairman of PSG group gave the students some pointers on how to be successful, especially in the area of finance and business.
Mouton said: “I was fired from my job at the age of 48. I lost my friends and family. I had to make a decision and realised that the future was in my hands, I had to lift my head.”
He encouraged the students to lead people to the best of their ability, to never give up and stay strong through the hard times.
Christine Van Zyl (19) from Swellendam, a Stellenbosch University student studying an industrial engineering degree, said: “I really enjoyed this event and learnt a lot from the speakers. One thing that stuck with me was Prof Nox’s speech on leadership about not being static but dynamic.”
Wongalethu Mblateki (20) from Johannesburg, a Stellenbosch University student studying BCom said: “The event was a great initiative taken on by the two clusters; they should consider doing more events like this.”
Liam Cloete (19) from Namibia, a Stellenbosch University student studying a BSc in actuarial science said: “I organised this event so that young people can experience different voices that would be able to give them an idea on how to start thinking about leadership in their environment.” – Marsha Leitch