Grassroots community engagement: Empowering lives through ‘warrior heritage’

For effective long-term social change to be possible, programs enabling desired behaviour must become embedded within people.

Claudio’s involvement in community projects started whilst he was a junior officer at the Military Academy where he ran a sports outreach programme for children from an impoverished area. This would be life changing with the positive effects continue to be felt some 20 years later.

Taking lessons from classic African warrior leaders, leadership principles have since been applied in business, sports, government, military and general everyday life.

King Mzilikazi was well known for discipline and strategy. It was this strength which saw his warriors destroy the Rozwi empire. Although perhaps forgotten today, the Rozwi were a formidable force, with the term ‘Rozwi’ referring to their legacy as a warrior nation, taken from the Shona term kurozva, ‘to plunder’. They became the most powerful fighting force in the whole of Zimbabwe. Armed with only their traditional spears and shields, the Rozwi famously repelled the Portuguese, who had tried to take control of the gold mines.

Mzilikazi started off with a small tribe, growing his tribe to 20,000 as they made their way from KZN to present-day Zimbabwe, overcoming much hardship to tear through what lay in their path. In the process, he disciplined and inspired a new people who called themselves the amaNdebele. By taking on challenges, they wrote their own script and created their own story.

Similarly, we do not know what challenges the day might bring. Discipline starts the moment you open your eyes in the morning, executing the simple tasks under your control. These include making your bed and taking ownership of your mindset, getting yourself mentally prepared for the day.

Shaka was well known for his multi-prong approach to challenges. The encirclement tactic, Izimpondo-ze-inyathi, also known as the ‘horns of the bull’ was used to devastating effect on the battlefield. Similarly, in everyday life there are often a number of ways to approach a problem. However, all too often you could find yourself feeling ‘stuck’. Problem-solving requires mental agility, exploring creative ways to try a different approach to avoid being encircled. There is always a solution.

The Centre for Leadership undertakes at least a quarter of their projects and activities at community level, to change lives at grassroots level. The aim is to engender a mindset of Ownership, to live an Ownership-driven existence.

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  • Grassroots community engagement: Empowering lives through ‘warrior heritage’

    Claudio’s involvement in community projects started whilst he was a junior officer at the Military Academy where he ran a sports outreach programme for children from an impoverished area. This would be life changing with the positive effects continue to be felt some 20 years later.

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