LEADERS URGENTLY NEEDED.

Any objective mind scanning the professional spaces (be it engineering, arts, business or anything in-between) will, undoubtedly, realize patterns of inadequacy of leadership within these professional spaces. By leadership, I mean a state where visionary individuals, teams or institutions decide and act to pioneer better ways of serving humanity through innovation.

These are entrepreneurs, artists, engineers, or anybody in-between despite of no conventional rewards in sight who offer their professional gifts to society at no or subsidized costs. These leaders are taking risk when the majority are taking refuge. They are creating and changing, rather than adapting and following the trends (doing me-toos). They are not a statistic; they defy quantifications of what is possible. They are retelling our social and economical stories of our being. They connect like-minded people and give them a chance to dream together and to create the future they collectively envision.

Being a proud learner, I have come to know leaders in numerous professional spaces, whom I share nothing in common except the ground we normally stand on and may be the sunlight of the afternoon.

On 2nd April, I was blessed to walk through an art installation of a one Sheila Nakitende, an artist whose practice focuses on womanhood experiences, The installation entitled ‘Abaana Ba Kintu’ loosely translated as “The descendants of Kintu (legendary ancestor of the Baganda)” ‘venued’ at the Chemistry department of Makerere University. It was an exhibition of ingenuity, goodwill and leadership. Each art piece was damn beautiful, inspiring and an incarnation of a mind that truly understands our African heritage.

Going through her greatly crafted installation kept me asking ‘where are leaders in other professional spaces? Where are the leaders in engineering? Where are leaders in psychology?’. Leaders with noble ideologies, that are not in it for the short haul. Leaders whose works make a world of differences.

With the fourth industrial revolution(4IR) at our doorstep, we urgently need more ‘Nakitendes’ in the technological spaces if we are to secure our future in the 4IR. Narrowing down the scope to engineering and technology, leadership seems to be an alienated phenomenon and few, if any, are willing to offer themselves for leadership. To be leaders of innovations, leaders that society banks on to solve the hardest real-world problems. The few leaders are becoming an undeniable force in directing society given the practical and useful knowledge they give out in service. They have found innovative ways to solve pressing issues in society in numerous ways say, mentorship, goodwill, innovation etcetera.

Of late, there has been a leadership burst in the tech world on our great continent, Africa. Individuals are taking up responsibilities to offer leadership such as leaders at Open-Source Africa that are creating and advocating for free source software in Africa. It is a community of technology professionals that offer their knowledge, skillsets and resources to make sure society is equipped with software tools needed for effective and efficient functioning. This means a small-business owner in Kikuubo, Kampala can acquire a free software application to improve her business processes. Imagine the impact this shall have on our economy and livelihood. It is tremendous. With the community’s slogan, “The future is open”. I confidently say it is open to leadership too. Leaders are urgently needed, and we need you to lead us.

Kakaire Steven, steven.kakaire@mak.ac.ug

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