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Never Too Young to Lead: A Call for Youth to Rise



Never Too Young to Lead: A Call for Youth To Rise

Never Too Young to Lead: A Call for Youth to Rise. The story of this book is one of love, the love of a man for his country and his remarkable faith in young people.

Originally written by his own mother, Evelyn Sophie Maile, a shop steward, entrepreneur, and pillar of strength, it is a tribute to her as his first and most influential role model.

Never Too Young to Lead: A Call for Youth to Rise

In this book, Maile argues for the importance of skilling the young for leadership, starting right now. The book is a timely, captivating, and easy-to-read work.

Never Too Young to Lead: A Call for Youth To Rise

Prof Tinyiko Maluleke with Lebogang Maile, MEC for Human Settlements and Infrastructure Development at the VC’s Book of the Month event, that took place at the Pretoria Campus Library yesterday.

As a child of the iconic Alexander Township, Lebogang Maile grew up in it. During the Congress of South African Students, he cut his teeth as a politician. Due to this, he does not need an elaborate introduction. Former ANCYL leader who served as the party’s provincial secretary and its secretary for social transformation in Gauteng.

Furthermore, he founded and served as the chairperson of Gauteng Youth Commission for many years.  The man is a master of political persuasion, campaigning, winning, and losing. The Gauteng Provincial Legislature has elected Maile as a member since 2009.

Furthermore, he has served as a MEC in a variety of capacities. He currently serves as Gauteng’s Minister for Human Settlement and Infrastructure Development.

Call for the Youth to Lead

Yet he argues that you are never too young to lead in his book Never Too Young to Lead. Lebogang Maile is portrayed in a slightly different light in a Call for the Youth to Lead. The author has crafted what he refers to as “a carefully curated selection of conversations and thought pieces”,

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A departure from the usual navel-gazing autobiographies of politicians and hagiographies masquerading as biographies. According to Maile, the book will “showcase the stories and experiences” of eight South African youths who, in his opinion, have embraced leadership opportunities.

These people consist of Ayakha Melithafa – the Greta Thurnberg of South Africa; Fébé Potgieter-Gqubule, fellow former ANC youth leaguer who has risen through the ranks;  Tembeka Ngcukaitobi, one of the most brilliant legal minds in South Africa today; exceptional educationist and ANC veteran, Mary Metcalfe; Tshilidzi Marwala, one of the most beautiful minds in South African, now serving as rector of the United Nations university; Sydney Mufumadi, one of the youngest members of the Mandela cabinet, now a respected academic, #FeesMustFall leader and effective communicator, Fasiha Hassan, as well as, kwaito music genre pioneer, recording artist and DJ, Oscar Sibonginkosi Mdlongwa a.k.a Oscar the Big O, otherwise known simply as Oskido.

Only Oskido is allowed to tell his own story, from beginning to end, in first person of the eight case studies. The party isn’t complete without Oskido! In a most vibrant narrative and gripping style, he tells his story titled “it was about time.”.

It is Oskido’s chapter that makes compelling arguments in support of the young genre of music that became South Africa’s disruptive soundtrack during the early years of democracy – Kwaito. Born to Kwaito is their book.

Kwaito is defended and explained beautifully in Reflections on the Kwaito Generation by Esinako Ndabeni and Sihle Mthembu. Their view is that Kwaito lyrics were never meant to be philosophical pieces or polite lullabies designed to provide comfort or consolation.

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The rhythm of Kwaito was a combination of potent anger, random celebration, and disruptive movements. According to Oskido, it was all about rage, anger, heated emotions.

Real Issues

Kwaito was so distracting from real issues that former president Mbeki initially dismissed it as a distraction. The Union Building was once even called to Boom Shaka by Nelson Mandela, who pleaded with the group, rather firmly, saying,

“Why don’t you guys try and do some music without swearing?” It would be more graceful to do it that way.” However, behind the scenes, Kwaito artists were being featured in some public rallies.

Predilection of Young People

His book, Never Too Young to Lead, urges its readers to look beyond the disruptive predilection of young people – something that is inherent to all young people, no matter what their generation. Maile urges society instead to create an environment conducive to learning and, above all, leadership development for young people.

Demographic Division

Through a carefully chosen series of “conversations and thought pieces”, Maile preaches his gospel of salvation by youth leadership, something he calls the country’s “demographic dividend”.

In addition, he discusses the role of social media in contemporary society, especially its implications for political leadership. The power of social media remains unclear to Maile, even as she recognizes its importance.

In his ‘carefully curated selection of conversations and thought pieces’, Maile offers a cast of interlocutors that some readers may find disagreeable.  YFM’s DJ Fana “Khabzela” Khaba briefly rose to fame as one of the most influential DJs on YFM, but why Oskido? Is it because Fasiha Hassan is born and bred in Meadowlands, Soweto, while Malaika wa Azania is a young and engaging author from the same neighborhood? What makes Tembeka Ngcukaitobi a better candidate for the position of mayor of Johannesburg than Thapelo Amad? Wouldn’t Rosemary Ndlovu, who was a former cop and a convicted killer, have been a better choice?

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It is up to the author to select interlocutors who will contribute the most to the advancement of his or her thesis.  It is important to explain the choices clearly. It is often unclear whether Maile’s generalized notion of “the youth”,

which is used throughout the book, considers gender, race, class, ethnicity, and location in a nuanced manner. Choosing the featured interlocutors in a slightly different way might have been influenced by a more nuanced portrayal of the concept.

Whether or not Gil Scott-Heron was right in declaring in his 1969 poem, which became a worldwide hit song, that “the revolution will not be televised”, Lebogang Maile has demonstrated with this book that a revolution can be documented as well as that it needs constant and continuous rejuvenation, both through young blood and disruptive youthful ideas.

Ultimately, this book is about love, a man’s love for his country and his remarkable faith in young people. This book is about the author’s deep appreciation of the role of transformational leadership in national development, and an even deeper appreciation of youth’s untapped leadership potential.

Prof Tinyiko Maluleke, Vice-Chancelor and Principal In conversation with author, Lebogang Maile.

This book is written by a son in memory of his mother, Evelyn Sophie Maile, who was his first and most important role model and political activist. In this compelling, timely book, Maile makes a compelling case for equipping youth for leadership, starting today.

For more information on the Tshwane University of Technology, please contact Phaphama Tshisikhawe, Corporate Affairs and Marketing.
Tel: +27 12 382 4711   Email: [email protected]

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