Addressing young women leaders at the Ernst & Young (EY) NextGen leadership camp earlier this week, the ANC Treasurer General, Comrade Zweli Mkhize urged the young women to believe in themselves and understand that they are the “masters of their own destinies” and their own futures.
The NextGen programme, is aimed at empowering young women of high school age to reach their full potential and become future entrepreneurs and business leaders.
Speaking of the programme, the ANC Treasurer General said, “We expect that this contribution by EY in helping you to build yourselves is something that over a period, will bear the fruits through the kind of growth and leadership that you will attain, that will make South Africa a much better country that all of us, who are older, would have ever imagined”
“Your role is to shape the future of our country and the future of all the children of South Africa because of the contribution that you are going to make” Dr Mkhize added.
On a much casual note, Dr Zweli Mkhize urged the young women to set their priorities straight. “Boyfriends cannot be your first priority. You must define your relationship with your boyfriend. It shouldn’t be an economic relationship, but emotional relationship. Don’t allow yourselves to be physically abused, simply because he supports you”
The Treasurer General then used the opportunity to teach the young women about being a good leader by identifying love, respect, honesty, service and hard work as the most important attributes of a good leader.
“When speaking about love, I’m not talking arrogance, but love. Look after yourselves and make sure that you do things that will make you a good person. If you love yourself, you can then love your family, community & country. Most important is to love the people of your country and your country” Mkhize said. “Respect yourself. Others will respect you because you respect yourself. People copy, they do exactly what you do to yourself. If you don’t respect yourself, they simply won’t respect you”
Comrade Mkhize emphasised honestly as being of utmost importance in a leader. “A sense of responsibility is based on being honest, so that people can trust you. Honesty will make you a better leader” Dr Mkhize said.
Speaking on service, Dr Mkhize reiterated that “Umuntu, umuntu ngabantu” and that being a servant is about improving the life of humanity. “Others are better humans because of the service you will render. Serving humanity is the top most honour that society can give you. When you are in a position, you need to understand that it is not about bullying other individuals, but about you serving people. If you are a leader, you must know that your first priority of to serve people” Dr Mkhize added.
“If you want a bright future, you work for it. If want to be an important person, you must work hard. Hard work is the answer or key to success. You cannot lead anyone if you are not hardworking yourself. If you don’t work hard, you can’t tell others to work hard, because you need to lead by example. Anywhere you go, hard work is the way to go”.
“Hard work is what you must learn as a culture, wake up and read, study and do your work. Hard work is what will make you the best leaders that this country needs” Mkhize added.
Concluding his address the, Treasurer General cautioned the young women against being affected by “things that can be prevented”. “Don’t allow yourselves to be disturbed by unplanned pregnancy. You can’t allow yourselves to be disturbed by getting into crime and substance abuse” Dr Mkhize concluded.