01 March 2011


Almost one year after formal hand-over of leadership at Macha Works to Fred Mweetwa and his team, I look back with gratitude. It has been a roller-coaster ride for the team, from the word 'Go' being brutally tested by suppliers, stakeholders, and users alike. Against all odds, and with much discouragement from those apparently in denial that Africa-Can-Lead, Fred and his team have shown unique aptness in leading a rural based African cooperative organization forward.

There is still lots to learn and innovate, for instance on African relatio management styles, and how to reconcile such with dominant rational approaches. Also there is need to grow the collective environment to embrace both the intangible and the tangible, so all will be able to recognize the team's great achievements.

Of course, in successful institutes, usually the originator is not there five years later. Maybe the person might be on the board, or somewhere else, but the person is out, usually with bitterness. "At its inception, a company is often the 'lengthened shadow of one man,'" Peter Drucker wrote in Practice of Management, "But it will not grow and survive unless the one-man top is converted into a team." Inspiring team work is not an overnight event. It takes time, and maybe even more so in a resource-challenged environment as rural Africa.

In my perception, from its inception, LinkNet/Macha Works has been a team effort. From a western perspective it might have looked like Drucker's description. But from an African perspective it has not looked like that at all; From that perspective the governing attributes are clearly seen, encompassing inclusiveness, cooperation, flexibility, and care. Thus, there is no room for bitterness, there is real joy.

Focus on progress of Local Talent has resulted in teams of highly talented persons, set free to progress towards reaching their collective and individual potential. These women and men are taking their commitments seriously, and develop competences in a thoroughbred African culture inclusive of innovation. As such a wonderful future is assured, whatever the circumstances.