KZN CHIEF TO JOIN OBAMA’S LEADERSHIP PROGRAMME
By: Nomvula Ndlovu
Inkosi Sbonelo Mkhize of the AbaMbo Traditional Council has been selected to participate in the President Barack Obama Washington Fellowship exchange programme – under the Young African Leaders’ Initiative (YALI).
The KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Nomusa Dube-Ncube congratulated the chief.
“This is an enormous distinction and a great opportunity for our local Inkosi. We are excited at the prospect of the skills Mkhize will acquire in the United States being used for the benefit of his traditional community,” said Dube-Ncube.
The scholarship entails a six-week professional training on Civic Leadership from one of the best universities in the world, the University of California, Berkeley (UCLA). The aim of the programme is for the Obama administration to invest in the next generation of African leaders who are between the ages of 25-35.
“We note with pride that over 50 000 applications were received in Africa for this scholarship, overall with 4 300 from South Africa. After gruelling interviews, only 500 applicants were chosen from Africa, out of whom 46 are
South African and Inkosi Mkhize is one of them,” said the MEC.
Mkhize, who previously pursued a career in investment banking in London and Sandton, has since his installation as traditional leader served his community with distinction as convener of the Economic Development Portfolio
Committee in the KwaZulu-Natal Provincial House of Traditional Leaders and Chairman of the uThukela Local House of Traditional Leaders.
“It is Inkosi’s passion and love for his community that drive his determination to uplift his people through local economic development programmes which he has facilitated in his traditional area despite limited state resources and a general scepticism from the private sector to invest in the development of our rural economies,” Dube-Ncube said.
She said Mkhize’s stint in the United States will inspire other young traditional leaders to build their personal capacity and maximise socio-economic opportunities for their communities in a manner that effectively takes the ancient institution of traditional leadership into the 21st century.
“It is no secret that the institution of ubuKhosi might have lost some of its appeal, especially to those who have fully adopted metropolitan lifestyles, but chief Mkhize believes that it will continue to have relevance in our country as amaKhosi represent the moral compass of the societies they lead,” she said.
Chief Mkhize and 45 others will be leaving for Washington next week Friday.