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NEWS
Henley offers scholarships to investigative journalists
Henley offers scholarships to investigative journalists

5 trends that can keep the South African MBA relevant
5 trends that can keep the South African MBA relevant

We need to realign government, business and civil society
We need to realign government, business and civil society

Life as a full-time MBA student
Life as a full-time MBA student

Brexit delay provides breathing space for SA
Brexit delay provides breathing space for SA

MSA joins the ADvTECH family
MSA joins the ADvTECH family

SA plunges to 117 out of 149 in gender wage equality
SA plunges to 117 out of 149 in gender wage equality

UCT’s Executive MBA recognised for its distinctive approach
UCT’s Executive MBA recognised for its distinctive approach

GIBS Executive MBA programme debuts in top 50
GIBS Executive MBA programme debuts in top 50

Can Africa fill the glass?
Can Africa fill the glass?

YALI AFRICA launch at Unisa
YALI AFRICA launch at Unisa

The fake resurrection of South Africa
The fake resurrection of South Africa

Don't panic: The digital revolution isn’t that unusual
Don't panic: The digital revolution isn’t that unusual

Why Agile works
Why Agile works

How firms can avoid the mediocrity trap
How firms can avoid the mediocrity trap

How a 100000-strong company is relearning how to innovate
How a 100000-strong company is relearning how to innovate

The changing shape of the MBA
The changing shape of the MBA

Adding climate change to curriculum is a top priority
Adding climate change to curriculum is a top priority

The MBA should turn you into a business disruptor
The MBA should turn you into a business disruptor

Innovation in SA organisations driven by C-level support
Innovation in SA organisations driven by C-level support

UNISA SBL a torch-bearer of training for military veterans
UNISA SBL a torch-bearer of training for military veterans

Scaling up the MBA for relevance in the 4IR
Scaling up the MBA for relevance in the 4IR

Moody's: SA not out of the woods yet
Moody's: SA not out of the woods yet

GIBS manufacturing-focused MBA kicks off in Durban
GIBS manufacturing-focused MBA kicks off in Durban

Henley’s Makhoalibe selected for sought-after programme
Henley’s Makhoalibe selected for sought-after programme

Personal potential, a source of power
Personal potential, a source of power

Reach your business leadership potential with a MBA from WBS
Reach your business leadership potential with a MBA from WBS

MPC: SA needs a period of stable interest rates
MPC: SA needs a period of stable interest rates

SA’s energy problems just the tip of the iceberg
SA’s energy problems just the tip of the iceberg

What's really driving disruption?
What's really driving disruption?

Why has there been such a failure of leadership?
Why has there been such a failure of leadership?

Steinhoff: Exactly where does responsibility stop and start?
Steinhoff: Exactly where does responsibility stop and start?

The cure for the loneliness of command
The cure for the loneliness of command

How to survive in the age of digital transformation
How to survive in the age of digital transformation

New MBA timetable starts in 2016
New MBA timetable starts in 2016

EVENTS
Henley MBA & PGDIP Preview Day
Henley MBA & PGDIP Preview Day
29 May 2019,
Pretoria

UCT GSB MBA Information Sessions
UCT GSB MBA Information Sessions
15 October 2019,
Johannesburg



04 DECEMBER 2018
Let the scales fall from our eyes so we can see clearly

by Jon Foster-Pedley: Dean and director of Henley Business School Africa.
South Africa has always been defined by its prejudice – it’s perfectly understandable given the centuries of colonisation and then the decades of legislated segregation known as apartheid.

We live with those bitter fruits to this day, inheriting these traits. No one is immune. One day you wake up and you realise you are infested with this virus of prejudice, and that your perceptions are different across race, class and gender. You move from denialism into excruciating painful awareness and then the choice dawns before you – you can continue to deny it or you can make the choice to eradicate it.

I grew up in Britain, the product of a middle-class background and modest privilege. I was appalled and saddened to discover later in life the dark parts of the true heritage that was mine; of evils in the system of colonialism that had spawned and underpinned the empire – and that this same empire had invented the loathed concentration camp system that the Nazis would perfect and take to new demonic levels 40 years later.

The terrible thing about racism or classism is that it distorts your view about other people because you have this inherent superiority. These filters that are part of your upbringing and they prevent you from seeing people as they are. One of the best countries to have sidestepped this issue, in my opinion, is New Zealand. Perhaps it’s as a result of the country having been settled by Calvinist working-class Scots fleeing the loathed British class system. My experience, when I lived in New Zealand for a while, was that it doesn’t matter who or what you are, only that you can look your fellow human being in the eye irrespective of who they are.

People can change, they can overcome learned prejudice, but to do so, you need compassion and insight. Insight means seeing yourself for who you are. Once you’ve seen that, you can’t unsee it. Then comes compassion, the ability to use what you’ve seen to ensure to become something other than that person and to understand why you are changing, whether it is just to salve your guilt or to truly make a contribution towards a better society.

When you escape the prison of racism, or sexism or classism, you see your fellow human being in a new light. We have a fantastic opportunity to do that right here in South Africa at the moment. It is not just the new leadership in place, there’s a new spirit, one that is so different from the past imbued with this romantic idealism of the liberation struggle and the hope and opportunity that it offered. Now, our filters are starting to lift and there’s a real understanding of the reality of the situation, that we are racist, sexist and cleaved by class.

We have to ask ourselves, what is it that we are trying to do. What should your business do, or in my case, the business school do? I don’t think it’s about Black Economic Empowerment or Women’s Rights per se, but rather removing privilege from the equation and instead creating a level playing field based on people’s characters and capabilities. How could anyone not want to educate the mass population of South Africa for the benefit of everyone? It’s not about redressing the imbalances of the past, but rather sheer implacable logic of creating a society where everyone is productive.

We have an extraordinary opportunity in South Africa to make this massive difference to a lot of human beings, human beings who still look at each other through these conceptual and programmed filters of race, culture and history and because of that find it difficult to see each other. As an educator spending time seeing people grow, I have been extremely privileged to see the extraordinary reinforcement of the potential of human nature and capabilities. I see people who have borrowed money to come here or worked two jobs driven by the determination to better themselves and their families – and they do.

And I wonder, why can’t we do this on a larger scale? The gift that we have in this country is human capability, not mineral resources. We can’t dig things up and sell them forever, we’ll only go bankrupt. Our only role models can’t just be a handful of senior positions and powerful, what we need instead is creativity and skills, the ability to do things. We need to educate people but in institutions where learning is revered, sacrosanct and there is no tolerance for disruption, where the teachers are passionate and the best at what they do. And we need to scale that up across the country.

We need to build creative industries, help diversity the economy and give people faith in themselves. Most of all, we need to inculcate the message that having a job might give you an income, but it won’t liberate you. It’s like a trust fund kid, the wealth doesn’t last beyond two generations, being wealthy is not the same as being competitive.

Being competitive means having capabilities that are differentially better, that you are constantly upskilling yourself. This is a lifetime’s work. The good news is that we have enormously intelligent people emerging in this country and I’m convinced if we could educate more we have an extraordinary opportunity. I see people all the time who are ready for the challenge of working hard to make a difference to their own lives and he lives of those around them. They’re not special, they’re normal, they’re representative of the average. What’s not average is how they’ve got themselves to this point.

It’s time to lose the prisms through which we view the world and see people for who they are and in doing so discover our own true self.

As President Cyril Ramaphosa said when he opened parliament this year, quoting the immortal Hugh Masekela; “Thuma mina, send me, I wanna lend a hand”. It doesn’t matter if we fail, it doesn’t matter if we are imperfect and flawed, we must make a difference, we must make a contribution because if we don’t we won’t have set up the possibility for success for those that follow.
Source:

Henley Business School
At the core of Henley’s philosophy is the belief that we need to develop managers and leaders for the future. We believe the challenge facing future leaders is the need to solve dilemmas through making choices. We work with both individuals and organisations to create the appropriate learning environment to facilitate the critical thinking skills to prepare for the future. Visit our InfoCentre or website.

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