Learning to be my own leader and follower – Vision 2014 and Beyond

Learning to be my own leader and follower – Vision 2014 and Beyond

By: Bose Maposa*

There are so many incredible things that have happened this year, which I could reflect on. First and foremost, I am grateful that I have been very close with my family. I have strengthened my relationships with friends, and reconnected with those from my childhood. I also managed to travel to Ghana and the Bahamas. Not only that, I finally went sky diving, parasailing and zip lining. These have been amazing times, and I am still shocked at how fortunate I am.

What hasn’t gone so well though has been my involvement with Bokamoso/BLF. I will be honest in that I have thought about leaving BLF. Not only have I not been super proud of the articles I wrote, I also haven’t been as engaged as I would have liked, to the extent that I even had to miss my turn to write. However, I read all the articles, and often had the intention of sending the authors a comment but time robbed me a chance to do so.

Now, to put into perspective what I could call my disappointment this year with myself and BLF, two points spring to mind.

Firstly, I think of one of our earlier objectives, which was to have an active project somewhere in Africa. We have grown so much but are still somehow in the same spot as when we started in 2009. We still just run our blog and this to me is not ‘doing the work’ as we had originally envisioned. We are engaging for the most part amongst ourselves and our circles but not really having the practical impact that was at the core of our vision. And this brings me to my second point.

Secondly, upon realizing our lack of development, I have sort, well thought about, how we can move from this. I have sought funding opportunities for us to meet and hold a leadership workshop; looked for possible conference presentations, and even brainstormed opportunities for practical involvement. Unfortunately all my ideas have remained just that, ideas. This sucks! It is not like me to remain at the idea level!

Nonetheless, I continue to stay with BLF because I do love the work that we are doing.  I am surrounded by positive people with great ideas who help me grow.  We have new contributors joining us, guest authors submitting articles, and as I follow the discussions on and off the blog, I am hopeful that we are making a difference. I also made a pact with myself that next year I will be better!

I intend to keep my pact based on one principle I advocated for when we started the forum: I not having a president because I think we need to learn how to navigate the art of working and being creative in order to be our own leaders. We all need to explore ways to be effective even when we are the leader and the follower. It’s hard but doable. I think the first theme of this year was instructive on how to think about power, leadership and change/revolution differently – in a manner that is not weighted on hierarchies.  The second and current theme on the personal is the political is a reminder of how our private spaces affect our actions in the public arena. Putting to action these two themes is what I plan to do next year!

*Bose Maposa is a regular Bokamoso Leadership Forum Contributor. Read her short biography and previous articles here.

Bose Maposa

Bose Maposa is the Assistant Director of the African Studies Program at Ohio University, USA.

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