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Telling the positive African story

Cecil Thokoane (Chairperson: SBL Alumni Association Executive Committee and Dr Judy Dlamini, who received both the Leadership in Practice Award and the Woman in Leadership Award at the Unisa SBL’s prestigious Leadership in Practice Awards.

Unisa’s Graduate School of Business Leadership (SBL) hosted the prestigious annual Leadership in Practice (LIP) awards ceremony on 15 November 2018. The award, which dates from 1989, serves as a platform where the SBL recognises visionary and transformational leadership in South Africa.

“The LIP award criteria include vision, values, influence, results, and contribution to the community,” indicated Cecil Thokoane, Chairperson of the SBL Alumni Association Executive Committee. This year the SBL has included two new categories within the leadership awards with the purpose of specifically recognising both women and emerging leaders in our society.

The multifaceted and multidimensional Dr Judy Dlamini, who is a medical doctor, business leader, and author, received both the Leadership in Practice Award and the Woman in Leadership Award. Thomas Kgokolo, interim CEO of the Air Traffic and Navigation Services, was the recipient of the Emerging Leader Award.

Running for almost thirty years, the SBL Leadership in Practice, Women in Leadership, and Emerging Leader awards seek to honour those individuals who have demonstrated outstanding leadership qualities in multiple spheres of society. The award recipients are selected by SBL’s alumni and a panel of SBL experts, who consider the nominee’s business or political achievements, as well as the value that these achievements have added to society.

Prof Raphael Mpofu, Acting Executive Dean of the SBL, says that considering South Africa’s constrained economic conditions that have placed the workforce under extreme pressure, the time for strong, ethical, and empowering leadership has never been more critical. “Each year the LIP Award recipient’s essence is encapsulated into a theme that overarches the awards ceremony and dinner event. The Honourable Pravin Gordhan, who accepted the Award in 2017, had the apt theme ‘Courage is my Compass’. For Dr Judy Dlamini this year, the theme was ‘Bravely illuminating’”.

Living a life of integrity

“I dedicate this award to women of this country who wake up each day under harsh circumstances and make a difference in our lives,” said Dlamini. “It truly is a great privilege to be recognised for my efforts.”

“As South Africans we all have a responsibility of living a positive African story and telling the positive African story. Living a life of integrity, doing what is right, not because someone is watching, but because your decisions come from a position of integrity, self-respect and respect of the people that you meet,” she said.

Olwethu Sipuka (Director and Chief of Party: YALI) and Thomas Kgokolo, recipient of the Emerging Leader Award

Prof Mpofu explains: “Dr Dlamini’s considerable achievements as a woman leader in South Africa pay testament not only to hard work and commitment but also to her resilience and self-reliance. Our society has presented very real barriers to entry for black women in business. Despite this, Dr Dlamini qualified as a medical doctor and later went on to gain a Doctor of Business Leadership (DBL) from the SBL. She is also the executive chairperson of the Mbekani Group. Her book, Equal but different‚ is based on her research conducted for her DBL. She holds many different leadership roles in business, from chairperson to board member. To the SBL, Dr Dlamini provides a true example of brave, inspired leader against the odds.”

Believing in ourselves

Thomas Kgokolo responded to the honour bestowed upon him as the recipient of the Emerging Leader Award: “As businessmen, women, and leaders it is important that we believe in ourselves then others can believe in us too.” This award was sponsored by the Young African Leadership Initiative (YALI) Regional Learning Centre Southern Africa, hosted at the SBL.

Olwethu Sipuka, Director and Chief of Party of YALI, who handed over the award, says, “Mr Thomas Kgokolo is a born leader, having consistently demonstrated strong leadership abilities combined with an ethical practice and desire to empower those around him. He has previously been nominated as the Top Chartered Accountant under 25 by the South African Institute of Accountants (SAICA) and was also named as one of the Top 40 Outstanding Young Leaders under 40 by Destiny Man magazine. As the Deputy Board Chairperson at the Mineworkers Provident Fund, Mr Kgokolo combines exceptional integrity with a deep commitment to ensuring that South Africa’s mineworkers are able to retire with dignity.”

Kgokolo was also recently appointed as the interim CEO of the Air Traffic and Navigation Services (ATNS).

*Submitted by Cilla Boucher

Publish date: 2018/11/22