In 2020 the world found itself in a state of flux. A global pandemic disrupted the world order while the digital transformation of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR), with its challenges and huge potential benefits, presented a fundamental paradigm shift. How are Africa’s leaders to respond, today?
In a crisis, decisive leadership is imperative for the public good, but as we move beyond the pandemic and confront the changes of the 4IR, we must determine how we will adapt. What is clear is that leadership will have to be grounded in scientific and mathematical thinking and in good governance. It follows, then, that for South Africa to succeed as a nation in the 21st century we must be able to provide our people with an all-embracing education – not just science and technology but human and social sciences as well.
Leading in the 21st Century presents a comprehensive overview of how the world is changing and lessons we can draw from leaders, particularly in the African context. From Charlotte Maxeke and the Rain Queen Modjadji, to Mangaliso Robert Sobukwe, Eric Molobi and Richard Maponya, there is much to learn from great leaders. The challenges of the 21st century are immense – from climate change to social media and the digital divide that deepens our understanding of inequality, particularly in the ‘new normal’. South Africa faces not only a shifting global context but a fraught local context of stagnant growth, rising unemployment and deep-seated inequality, worsened in 2020 by the national lockdown necessitated by the coronavirus pandemic. The 4IR offers solutions to many of our most pressing problems and we cannot afford to be left behind.
The certainty is that the 4IR has arrived. The debates lie in how we respond to it. Tshilidzi Marwala deciphers it all, while providing a framework for navigating these shifts.