Chibutu to ‘ignite’ Boone and Washington with talk illustrating servant leadership

Mandela fellow Henry Chibutu of Zambia will deliver an “Ignite” talk during the closing group ceremonies of the 2017 Mandela Washington Fellowship at Appalachian State University.

Chibutu will make the same presentation in Washington, D.C., for the Mandela Washington Fellowship Summit.

Chibutu’s talk “Where are the Leaders? Stand up!” emerged as the winning presentation in a competition for the Appalachian fellows. 

Described as TED-like presentations, the three- to five-minute talks are a key part of the leadership training each fellow receives. The aim is to ignite questions and lively conversation among audience members. The talks provide a platform for fellows to share the work they are doing or plan to do in their home countries, or to share thoughts on an issue of importance to them.

Chibutu’s talk was one of three that made it to the finals of the Appalachian competition. The others were Zimbabwean Natalie Tatenda Foti’s “To Serve is to Lead,” and “Poverty among Women: A Weapon of Mass Destruction” by Elodie Alla of Côte D’Ivoire.

Each of the competition’s “Ignite” talks rests on one of three themes: innovation, empowerment or servant leadership. The themes underpinning both Chibutu’s and Foti’s talks are servant leadership. The theme of Alla’s talk is empowerment.

The summit, in addition to networking and panel discussions, will feature an “Ignite” talk by a fellow from each of the institute partners. The audience will include representatives from the U.S. State Department and USAID.

In the event that Chibutu must cancel his presentation, Alla will be the alternate speaker in Boone and Washington, D.C.

‘Where are the Leaders? Stand up!’ by Henry Chibutu

Henry Chibutu’s “Ignite” talk was crafted while visiting Appalachian State University as a 2017 Mandela fellow. The TED-like presentation calls to his peers to move away from a selfish mentality and seek to serve others. He was chosen to present his talk in Washington, D.C., at the Summit meeting of 1,000 2017 Mandela fellows.


Henry Chibutu speaks:

You see, the blood that runs through our veins is that of royalty. We hail from a great line of great kings and queens. We can claim that Jesus Christ was a black man. But you see that's where the problem is. We think that we are superior, that we are cut from a different piece of cloth. And like King Herod of old after giving a great oration to the public, the public said to him, that the voice you're listening to is not a voice of a man, but a voice of God, and pride got the best of him and he was smote in an instant. Like the kings and queens and like the leaders of appointments, the problem is this. They exalt themselves high up and expect us, the citizens, us, the followers, us, the subjects to worship them. That's a big problem right there. There's no servant leadership.

You see, the Democratic Republic of Congo has got 36 trillion dollars worth of resources in its belly, and its people are in great poverty, ravaged by disease, ravaged by much pain and misery. Cameroon, its president earns over 120 times more than their average citizen. That's a big problem right there.

In my country, Zambia, it's no longer a debate. Right now, money that was meant for the IMF to develop our country has been taken to develop the state house, yet we've got many youths who are unemployed. Our factories are closing down their freight center. Our farmers are not receiving their inputs on time. In our health centers, we don't have medication for our people. This is a great, great problem.

You see, as I sat down in my classroom, I studied for 5 years to obtain my degree. And I felt that the formal life would not allow me to serve my people because I saw an obsession among my colleagues. Most of my colleagues, there's one thing that they wanted to do. They wanted to rise up to the higher places of society and gain recognition and forget about the people at the grassroots. For them they desire 3 things: number 1, to make money; number 2, to make more money; number 3, to make lots of more money. And I had a problem with that.

My question was this, "Who is going to serve the people at the grassroots? Who is going to serve the people who are poor within our communities?", and moved by this we began a movement. We began an organization and made sure that we could offer education and mentorship to the people in my country.

You see, in my country, Zambia, 5 out of 10 will not make it to high school. In my country, 2 out of these 10 will make it to higher learning institutions. That's an alarming rate. Apart from that a number of youths in my community are unmentored. They have got no drive. They have got no passion. They have got no vision. They have got no hope. They wake up in the morning, and they're not sure exactly what to do with their own lives, and so they take to drinking and drug substance abuse. This is a problem that has plagued not only our continent, but many other places around the world.

As we speak right now, over a hundred youths have passed through our hands. They have been given an education, free mentorship, and they've gone out to change their communities. As I speak right now, they have obtained scholarships. As I speak right now, one is writing a book about the [inaudible 00:03:19] organization and trying to change many things in our society.

You see, I want us to begin a movement wherever you are. Is your gift music? Is your talent social entrepreneurship? Is your talent to speak and pour your life into the hearts of others? Each here of us can light a torch on our continent. Each here of us can change things wherever we are. Let's begin a movement so strong that generations to come will even testify that they leave the generation. A generation of fellows, a generation of people of Appalachia, a generation of Africans who stood up for what they believed and who said, "We move away from the selfish mentality. We move away from the self-centered mentality, and we seek to serve other people."

You see, I have been to the mountaintop like Martin Luther, and "mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming Lord!" Please join me as we change this world and leave a testimony for all the world to see. Thank you.

‘To Serve is to Lead’ by Natalie Tatenda Foti

Zimbabwean Natalie Tatenda Foti’s “Ignite” talk was crafted while visiting Appalachian State University as a 2017 Mandela fellow. In “To Serve is to Lead,” a call to servant leadership, she exhorts her peers to “…shine in that small God-given corner that the face of corruption has nowhere to hide. Speak so loud even in the smallest of platforms that the voice of inequality has no chance of survival.”


Natalie Tatenda Foti speaks:

A story is told about an African American woman; dark brown, weathered skin who could neither read nor write. She took odd jobs, cleaning kitchens to support her cause. Records show that if you had met her by a street corner you could mistake her for a baker but she gained the respect of over 300 slaves who followed her to their freedom and gave sleepless nights to the so called men of status and stature who needed her dead.

Harriet Tubman gave herself selflessly to the cause of her kindred's freedom. She would not rest until her people were free. She did not need extensive power, she did not ask for recognition, she used what she had and this is a true reflection of what servant leadership is.

A calling to Patrick Poutomi, a Nigerian political analyst, the biggest challenge for Africa has been the challenge of bad leadership. Leadership that is selfish, leadership that is obsessed with power and leadership without a sense of service. Sub-Saharan Africa is regarded as one of the richest regions in the world and yet 40% percent of its people live in extreme poverty. Our leadership has played a big role in this statistic because our leaders have forgotten the true meaning of leadership.

They have let fame and fortune shadow the real reason why they are there. Over the years I've come to realize that you do not need to be rich or to have a title to be a leader but doing good goes a long way. So whether you are a community mobilizer, an extension officer, a retailer or even a university student, if your heart is in the right place and your cause is for the benefit and the empowerment of the other you are the greatest leader of our time.

My message for you today is shine in that small God given corner that the face of corruption has nowhere to hide. Speak so loud even in the smallest of platforms that the voice of inequality has no chance of survival. Collaborate even in the smallest of organizations that the state of poverty has no place in our communities. It is my hope today that as young African leaders we can stand against the status quo and defy the odds by being a generation of African leaders that value service, that value the community and are full of integrity.

I am Natalie Foti, I strive to be a servant leader. Won't you join me? I thank you.

‘A Weapon of Mass Destruction’’ by Elodie Alla

Elodie Alla of Côte D’Ivoire, a 2017 Appalachian State University Mandela fellow, said that poverty among African women is “a weapon of mass destruction.” In her “Ignite” talk of the same title, she said the way to conquer is through leadership, literacy training and access to training. She emboldens her listener: “Say no to poverty. Long live women. Long Live Africa.”


Elodie Alla:
Good morning, everyone.

Good morning.

Elodie Alla:
Poverty among our women is the weapon of mass destruction. Let me give you some figures on the tasks and statistics so that we all shapes in our minds how dangerous it is for a given society to not facilitate the access to certain kinds of financial offers for women. Women and girls today make up the majority of the 1.4 billion people living in extreme poverty around the world. Ladies, young girls cannot have access to education because of poverty. 16 percent of the world population is not literate and the women and girls make up two thirds of that population. When it comes to wars, to armed conflict, out of 40 million of refugees, you have 75 percent women and children. This situation will lead us to the full end result. Do you know that 61 percent of people living with HIV / AIDS are women? Each year, 22 million of unsafe abortions occur women who have been sexually abused. And a report from the World Health Organization states that 47,000 of them die during those unsafe abortions. As I'm talking to you now, and every single day, more than 800 women die from preventable causes related to childbirth and pregnancy. When I say preventable, I mean those causes could have been avoided. And 99 percent of those deaths occur in developing countries, 99 percent. More than half of them occur in sub Saharan Africa.

It’s against worse in rural areas and among women living in the poorest areas, in the poorest conditions, so it's all about poverty. This situation highlights once again the gap between the richest and the poorest. Its painful, it hurts, to see that some women going to give life are losing their own lives, or in better conditions, they lose the baby, just because of financial means. Ladies and gentleman, dear friends, is that what we expect we want for women? Is that what we want for our sisters, our mothers, our friends? From Kenya, from Tanzania, from Mozambique, from Angola I don't think so.

If we are here, we are here for a reason. It's to throw some little torches on the ground, on the path, on the way, so that we lead them out of the darkness. So that we lead them out of the darkness. I'm here today, I'm having an opportunity to be the voice, to talk on behalf of these women, of the silence dying by brave women to tell them that the shining light is still on them, a bright future is still possible. And the solution to poverty our community is to create an institute of female entrepreneurship, for the empowerment of women. We need to raise awareness and tell them their place, they need to know they're place so they can take their place. They need to know how important, how valuable they are for the community. For their household, for their families, for the society.

And in that institute, we will have three initiatives - Leadership, literacy training, above all they will learn some traits in some specific areas so that at the end they immediately get access to brand knew opportunities.  We will provide for loans for them to make steps to start up something [inaudible 00:04:58] activities. Women of Africa, if you have a chance to listen to me today, and if you have a chance to knock at this door of the institute of female entrepreneurship, no matter the level of poverty which you find yourself, you can make sure that you'll never get out the way you came in because our goal is to change lives. Is to change women's lives for better and forever. I say no to poverty, Long live women, Long live  Africa.

Thank you.

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