Those who do not read must not lead because they will lead us into temptation and deliver us to poverty.
This is the bold message from Professor Tshilidzi Marwala which reverberates through the pages of his first offering of 2021.
Let me start by giving Prof Marwala some credit for giving us yet another 21st-century and fourth industrial revolution(4IR) book in a very short space of time after he had released a book not-so-long-ago titled Closing the Gap, which tackled a slightly similar topic about how Africa and South Africa could use the technologies offered by the 4IR to their advantages.
Fast-forward to 2021, Prof has given us yet another book titled, Leading in the 21st Century, The Call for a New Type of African Leader. In this book, he thoroughly dissects the type of leaders the continent and SA in particular urgently require in a period where we are facing a global pandemic, post-Covid- 19 measures, and adapting to the 4IR era.
The scribe provides valuable key characteristics, competencies, features, and the type of educational qualifications that a new type of African leader should possess and focus on.
Leading in the 21st Century is more than a book, but a tool that our African leaders should carry with them, in moving the continent from poverty to economic and social development successes in the 4IR era.
This is a compelling read for every leader on the continent, whether serving in the public or private sectors.
What I truly liked is the fact that Prof Marwala did not bash any current leader in the book but highlighted what they ought to focus on- with is largely education and reading, reading and more reading.
Leading in the 21st Century is a practical read and encourages a new practical leadership style during and after this global pandemic.
The only bummer for me was the repetition of what the scribe had already written in his previous book, especially in the first opening 10 chapters of the book.
The first 10 chapters touch on the recommendations of the Presidential Commission on 4IR, of which he deputises President Cyril Ramaphosa. In Closing Gap, he had already touched on the eight recommendations, which I must admit sound good on paper.
However, I was not expecting Prof to repeat them once again in the new book, especially given the fact that they gobble up an entire 10 chapters of the book.
Besides that, this book, if applied accordingly, could help propel Africa towards being one of the leading economic superpowers in the 4IR era. I strongly recommend this book to President Ramaphosa and his cabinet, CEOs of our state-owned enterprises and in the private sector, and all different kinds of leaders in different sectors.