Tomorrow’s Leaders Convention: report on Bobby Godsell's speech

Few generations are given the opportunity to re-write the rules. For Bobby Godsell, Chairman of Business Leadership South Africa, this means that now is really a good time to be young and to be a leader.

Addressing delegates at the 2013 DHL Tomorrow’s Leaders Convention at Emperor’s Palace on Friday, in what he described as the last few years of an industrial society characterised by the collapse of financial capitalism, Godsell called on young leaders to take on “the challenge of the new epoch”. 

A challenge embodied in a single question: “how do we combine a society of market economics with one that looks after the poor and vulnerable?”

Godsell said that talks based on this question are exciting especially as “we spent 19 years talking about the apartheid legacy; we’re now talking about the country we want to build”. 

Despite his involvement, as a member of the National Planning Comission, in coming up with a vision for South Africa in 2030 and drafting the National Development Plan to realise this vision, the 60 year old said that “for young people 2030 matters more…than it does for me”.

He emphasised that the realisation of the National Development Plan is not only dependent on government but on the 51 million people that call South Africa home. 

To help achieve the vision set out in the National Development Plan by 2030, Godsell said that young leaders must believe in themselves rather than fall into the trappings on victimhood. He also talked about the importance of moving beyond our country’s divided societies, asking “how can you lead in this country if don’t know a bit about the other?”  

But most of all, he called on young South Africans to be engaged, “we’re living at one of the most exciting times in history…in one of the most exciting countries, please don’t retreat to the pub and to DSTV”.

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