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01 September 2023

The Spirit of Kanju: leaders transforming Africa

Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC)

As part of a Mastercard Foundation funded research study that investigates how university education impacts people’s lives on the African continent, a group of 19 graduates, all alumni of the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program worked with a filmmaker to document the contributions of people they believed exemplify the leadership Africa needs.

In the process their own contributions as young leaders became evident. In The Spirit of Kanju: leaders transforming Africa, we are introduced to some of these graduates as well as the leaders they interviewed using mobile phones and armed with equipment such as microphones, ring lights and some filmmaking knowledge supplied by veteran filmmaker Eugene Paramoer.

They showcase leadership practices across the African continent, from Ghana to Uganda, South Africa to Ethiopia, Kenya and Rwanda, with each context offering new insight into the many practices of leadership. The film portrays leadership as collaboration, as action, as innovation and as love and ubuntu.

Ultimately, The Spirit of Kanju shows that leadership is complex. It is everyday and exceptional, human and extraordinary, innovative and responsive. It requires working together but also, starting alone. On the African continent there are many rich and creative practices that respond to struggle and challenge. This is kanju. Making something out of nothing, doing leadership and not speaking leadership, and leading in such a way as to invite others along for the journey.

Watch the trailer:

The playlist below includes the full video series:

Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC)

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