Friday, 8 August 2014
thursday 7 August
On the third day of the 'Ethical Leadership' workshop, the students began to examine their own behaviour around how to be an ethical leader.
We had spend the first two days examining the current situation of leadership on a personal, local and national level. There was, as you can imagine, a good amount of criticism especially when discussing leadership on a national level. But I wanted to switch the focus of the reflection to the students own behaviour and what they can do differently - as leaders but also as young people who can influence those in power.
We also examined the monologue from Henry IV, 'Once more into the breach, dear friends, once more....' [this monologue was chosen in Sonny 'Bible' by Ahmed Kathrada]. They did a beautiful job of disecting the monologue and relating it to their own lives.
The discussion came around to how to lead ethically and my interview with Michael Dinake really chimed with the group. He beatifully examined Polonius's speech and spoke about why it is important for politican's to follow his advice:
Michael: Michael Dingake. I am from Botswana, but moved to South Africa in search of a better education. My father worked in the mines and farms here and my family decided to send me to school here. I finished my high school and then join the ANC. My detention, my arrest is actually illegal because I am carrying a Botswana passport but the Rhodesian agents, you know, I suppose from instructions from the South African police decided to arrest me and then send me to Robben Island. Polonius, that’s me yea?
‘Give thy thoughts no tongue,
Nor any unproportion’d thought his act.’
Now, before you act – think about something properly. Don’t act what you’re thinking before you have to be really certain to what the repercussions might be. When I was arrested, I was really prepared, you know, psychologically wise. Anything could happen to me, even if I was killed. I was prepared for all of that.
‘Those friends thou hast, and their adoption tried,
Grapple them to thy soul
with hoops of steel.’
You see, true friends – you have to be certain now that this one is true. And I think, you see, I am good at that personally. There are a few guys, you know, I could say now, ‘This one will never betray me.’ Now those you ‘grapple’ you see? Soul, yea, with hoops of steel.
‘Give every man thy ear, but few thy voice;
Take each man’s censure, but reserve thy judgment.’
Now, ah, this is important for, well, politicians in particular. You have to listen to other people…But sometimes you have to be careful what you, you, say. If, for instance you say, ‘I agree with you. I agree with what you say’ …. you may be committing yourself unnecessarily because conditions may arise where you disagree. Think carefully about everything. I suppose that this is what Polonius is actually saying.
‘Costly thy habit as thy purse can buy,
But not express’d in fancy; rich, not gaudy;’
Personally, that’s a weakness that I have, about how to dress. I am very found of, well, fashion. I am always among the trend setters.
‘For the apparel oft proclaims the man;’
I don’t know how the apparel proclaims me.
‘This above all-to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.’
This is really loaded with what we all should know - how as human beings, you know, to conduct ourselves. But it also means, you must really always think before you do. Before you plunge into anything, think carefully.