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Palgrave Macmillan

Discovering the Spirit of Ubuntu Leadership

Compassion, Community, and Respect

ISBN 9781137526847
Publication Date November 2015
Formats No other formats available
Publisher Palgrave Macmillan
Series Palgrave Studies in African Leadership

Leadership has seldom been studied in the context of "humanness", a cultural philosophical practice that embodies a ubiquitous spirit of community, generosity, and compassion with regard to the needs of others. Discovering the Spirit of Ubuntu Leadership introduces a new leadership model which takes into account the history, culture, and economic environment of those being studied. It outlines the leadership experiences of ten female Zimbabwean leaders in non-governmental organizations to understand, discover, observe, and share their personal leadership experiences. It uncovers emerging leadership characteristics unique to these women, and exposes those qualities that are universal to women around the world. This new model of 'Spirited Ubuntu Leadership' contributes to the gap in scholarship addressing women and leadership in Africa.

Priscilla Mtungwa Ndlovu, PhD, is an independent consultant for international development and has over twenty years' experience working for international non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Africa and United States. She graduated with a PhD in Organizational Leadership from Eastern University, St Davids, PA (2013) where she integrated her learning with her Christian faith.

Dr. Mtungwa Ndlovu has worked for several nonprofits organizations in Washington, DC and has travelled to many African countries to conduct program evaluation and performance. She has managed and overseen the implementation of cross-cutting programs that include higher education, workforce development, basic and alternative education, women and youth empowerment programs, women's health and HIV/AIDS and livelihoods programs. Besides international development work experience, Dr. Mtungwa Ndlovu is pursuing research studying leadership in context, women and leadership focusing Ubuntu philosophy and its impact on the leadership of those who practice it, servant leadership and the role of women and motherhood, gender and spirituality. Her research interests also include examining the experiences of women that were colonized or oppressed and how these experiences impact the leadership of those being studied.

1. Contextual and Conceptual Framework
2. Women and Leadership
3. Participants Portraits
4. Historicizing the Status of Women: Colonial to Present Day
5. Servant Leadership
6. Motherhood
7. Ubuntu
8. Spirited Ubuntu Leadership
About the Author


'This qualitative study gives Zimbabwean women in leadership positions an opportunity to narrate their stories reflecting on colonial and post-independence experiences in a largely patriarchal society. The research interrogates ways in which women can spearhead development despite facing many challenges, including in some cases being relegated to domestic chores and making babies. In this research, the Zimbabwean women redefine themselves by writing and telling their stories on how their personal experiences impacted their organizational leadership. The women narrate their colonial and post-independence experiences through interconnected concepts of servant leadership, Ubuntu, and motherhood. Traditionally in Africa, indigenous knowledge has been orally passed from generation to generation through folktales, storytelling, dance, music, allegory, rituals, paintings and spirituality practices but in this research Zimbabwean women have been given an opportunity to document their own indigenous knowledge. Results of this study can be applicable in most African societies, including those in which women face serious cultural barriers in occupying top leadership positions.' —Gibbs Dube, Journalist and Associate Producer, Ithemba & Music By Prudence   "The study of women leaders in their cultural and contextual environments is way overdue. In this book, Dr. Mtungwa Ndlovu provides the reader with an opportunity to study and understand the Spirit of Ubuntu Leadership from the Zimbabwean women leaders' perspective. The volume provides knowledge about the spirit behind the success of African women leaders. This is a must-read book for those interested in understanding leadership in context." - –Maggie Madimbo , Vice Chancellor African Bible College, Lilongwe, Malawi, Africa
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