In recognition of the positive changes in the political landscape in South Africa and in the spirit of corporate activism, Henley Business School Africa (Henley Africa) is launching an African Hero scholarship for its Post-Graduate Diploma in Management Practice (PG Dip) and MBA programmes.
The scholarship is open to suitably qualified candidates who have shown their commitment to building a fair, inclusive, prosperous and thriving South Africa – people who have demonstrated a real capacity to make a difference and have dedicated themselves to nation building.
Jonathan Foster-Pedley, Dean and Director of Henley Africa, says the African Hero scholarship celebrates the unsung heroes who, despite having faced significant adversity, have stood up and challenged those responsible for bringing South Africa to its knees – politically, economically and socially. “We want to salute those heroes who, through gritty determination, have kept the spirit of democracy, equality, progress and fairness alive.
“At the dawn of our democracy, South Africans knew who their African heroes were – Mandela, Tambo and the like – people who sacrificed themselves and their lives to bring change and end the misery of Apartheid. Yet in the past nine years, South Africans have been hard-pressed to find heroes to look up to. We lost our way under a fog of mismanagement, corruption and collusion in state capture. We lost confidence in ourselves, in our purpose and to some degree in Africa.
“This scholarship acknowledges those South African and African heroes who have risen up in our time of need and who are inspiring South Africans to join together to build a better future for us all. It’s our way of encouraging people of all backgrounds in South Africa to stand up and make a difference.”
Foster-Pedley says South Africans are tired of selfish leadership, corruption, and of people who find excuses and scapegoats for their bad practice. He welcomes this new wave of energy and optimism that is sweeping across nation, as Cyril Ramaphosa takes the reigns as president of South Africa. “Both Mandela and Ramaphosa have demonstrated wonderful examples of great leadership, and South Africa’s business community is willing and ready to stand behind great leadership – not just for its own benefit, but for the good of the country. Perhaps now more than ever, business understands the need to support national growth and I believe government needs to support business to support this growth.”
He adds that Ramaphosa’s appointment has fanned the flames of possibility, hope and optimism among South Africans that change for the benefit of all is indeed achievable. “There is optimism and hope that poor and economically disadvantaged South Africans will see a material difference in the quality of their lives and living conditions. There is hope for better service delivery, opportunity for people to work and feed their families, and for the emotional, psychological, creative and intellectual development of South Africa’s children and young people through early childhood development initiatives and access to higher education. A focus on developing skills and creating well-rounded individuals that can ably respond to the needs of our country is one of the ways we can move our country forward.”