In the last week of October 2020, just as our world was still coming to grips with an eight-months long COVID-19 ridden-reality, our Trans4m/TCA conjoint community rejoiced a major milestone, celebrating the doctoral awards of two prominent and emergent African female leaders, Mrs. Chipo Joginah Ndudzo and Premie Naicker.
Chipo Ndudzo, CEO of Providence Human Capital (PHC) in Zimbabwe, was awarded a PhD Degree, with an outstanding Research-to-Innovation focusing on African Enterprise Renewal towards an Integral Enterprise. PHC is a corporate services management firm focusing on people solutions.
Mrs. Chipo’s thesis departs from the conventional knowledge generation and knowledge production discourses and adopts knowledge cultivation approach. At the core of knowledge cultivation is the Radical decolonial epistemic perspective of rethinking thinking itself particularly conventional classic economic thought and business approaches cascading from external experts, think tanks and multilateral financial institutions such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank (WB), World Trade Organisation (WTO) and many others. Such African philosophies of life and living together as Hunhuism/Ubuntuism which were pushed to the margins by colonial, modernist, capitalist, patriarchal, and racist notions of a ‘dark continent’ without history, culture, values, ethics, and knowledge; are recovered, cultivated and deployed to reanimate and renew the African business enterprise.
Providence Human Capital is a paradigmatic example of the implementation of the Integral Worlds approach. The final contribution of this thesis is in the realm of ideological innovation predicated of a systematic and consistent push to transform human consciousness, mindsets, self-perceptions, and how to relate self to society (co-creation of life).
The major finding of her thesis is the practical possibility of setting afoot business renaissance in Africa in general and Zimbabwe in particular, what is emerging from her thesis is that through investment on community activation and awakening of human consciousness, liberation of community from poverty, scarcity, and dependence on handouts is very possible. What is consistently and systematically demolished is the irrelevance of ‘conventional enterprise’ approaches which do not emerge from the African epistemic, historical, and cultural contexts. This thesis provides a successful example of an African enterprise in practical economic decolonisation and self-empowerment spearheaded by a woman who genuinely engaged in the painstaking decolonial journey of learning to unlearn in order to relearn.
Key Findings of Chipo’s Thesis
▪ From an Industrialization perspective, the enterprise has carried on the narrative that a human being is a means of production though it has tried to mask it with soft skills. (Subjectivity and objectivity)
▪ Conscious evolution is a powerful tool for behavioural Change and decoloniality
▪ Rites of Passage: Naming and Norming of departments using vernacular terms is an effective tool for Communal learning (We give words power) (Chitubu Phenomenon)
Social Innovations at PHC
❑Famba Everyday Ubvise Pressure
❑Decolonised PHC Functions
Recommendations for Future Research
Chipo recommends other researchers to carry forward from where this research has left and explore how we can decolonize our institutes i.e. our government departments, our educational curriculum and our legal framework. For Chipo, it would be of imperative importance for researchers to explore the use of our indigenous knowledge systems into their various sectors. Most notably, the fact that Zimbabwe gained independence exactly 40 years ago yet its education system and governance systems are still direct replicas of the colonial systems calls for further research to innovation.
Premie Naicker, CEO of DST Global Solutions South Africa, was awarded a PhD Degree, with an outstanding Research-to-Innovation focusing on African Women Leaders. Through her deeply engaging PhD journey, Premie not only went on a profound personal journey, but also fundamentally transformed her organization GREENSKILLS into an Integral Enterprise, serving as a role model and catalyst for a new understanding of African Leadership, that accentuates feminine values.
In Premie’s own words: “by discovering the imbalances and the untapped potential of so many like myself helped me to articulate and develop practical solutions based on understanding the historical context of feminism and apartheid, patriarchy and colonialism. The GENE rhythm lead me to build an amazing community-of-practice and support system both locally and globally to collaborate and co-create programmes to support African Feminine leaders through integral GreenSkills Enterprise-in-Community (iGEIC). This process further served to practically bring together and activate the concepts developed in this research-to-innovation into a framework to release the Gene-i-us of the African Feminine Leader depicted by the mythical Sankofa bird as an African symbol of feminine renewal and leadership.
Current trends in South Africa and the rest of Africa are redefining and challenging the role of women and the very nature of leadership in relation to the shifting needs of the organisation, society and the world at large. Furthermore, the legacy of traditional patriarchal society has resulted in women playing an acquiescent role within the business context. Reflecting on the historical culture and engaging with women in decision making positions in South Africa and Africa will highlight the seriousness with which business and government need to promote gender equality and the empowerment of women and youth.
We wish them more success in their future endeavours.