The portraits of presidents around the world paint pretty much the same picture. A conservative man or women, rarely making statements without having pre-written them, waving unendingly to an approving crowd from the steps of a building, adorning on them a professional suit and tie. Charismatic in their approach and insightful in their views of various topics, these leaders provide their citizens a peaceful night sleep, knowing their country is run in the interest of sustainable growth and development, and in capable hands.
This image, however, does not stretch too far across Africa. In Africa, the government officials, as with many of the policies they implement, create a more colourful picture of traditions, tribes and cultural diversity. It’s not uncommon to see a president in traditional attire, singing and dancing with an assegai in hand and slaughtering a cow to thank their ancestors for the life they are given. Decisions are made with the tribal leaders of the area in mind and the separation of presidential duty and loyalty to a tribe is sometimes not all that clear.
It is no wonder then that what begins as public demonstrations usually leads to violence, and that a “clan mentality” is often the outcome to any form of discussion. In a country with low education levels, the poorer communities are often reliant on what is instilled in them from generations before, a unity to fight for survival and a thirst for violence to mark their dominance in society.
It is not uncultured behaviour but rather stronger cultural influence that causes investors to turn its back on developing countries in Africa. The truth is that the people of Africa need to be understood in all its customs and traditional afflictions. A loss of culture will see stronger global conformity, however there was never stability in Africa before it was colonised, tribes moved where water was available and fruit grew wild all year round. There was no need for development or sustainability. It is therefore up to transformation and education on the principals of business and leadership that will shape the success of the African continent.