The Roles and Functions of Leaders in Standard Africa

This write-up is a sequel to the posting “A Historic/Reflection: Management in Primitive Africa. When the roles and capabilities of leaders in conventional Africa are examined and considered alongside one another with the way leaders were regarded or acknowledged, the common concept in African management can be totally recognized. In this segment hence the position of the leaders will be examined so that one particular can have a comprehensive understanding of the common strategy in African leadership.


In talking about the way leaders ended up recognized or accept in classic Africa. Some of the features they done have been stated in passing. These functions will now be mentioned in extra details. At this stage the discussion will be focused on kings who dominated more substantial sections and chiefs, who dominated lesser sections beneath him. It would be useful to initial have an concept of the sort of romance that might exist among a king and his topic.

According to Magbaily Fyle, it is recognized at the coronation of the Temne King in Sierra Leone that he, the King, bought the state from all the key industrial teams, like fishermen, carpenters and shoemakers, by giving them presents. As a result if they fall short to give him his customary presents afterwards, he could legitimately fine them because he had acquired the state. All area town or villages sent tribute to him in the kind of grain, cattle and other goods when a year just after each individual harvest. These products had been regarded as provides, and failure to send these factors is interpreted as rebellion. The chief utilized some of these items to reward faithful servants and assisted all those who experienced undesirable harvest. It can be observed that in this connection, methods have been put in place for the folks to choose treatment of their king and also for the king to support individuals in want. In using care of the men and women, the king performs the adhering to features: he operates the day-to-day affairs of his have city and part. For instance, he functions as judge in settling disputes for the people. He takes the determination to go to war, whilst in consultation with the elders of the state. According to Magbaily Fyle, the king did not rule by itself, he could not misuse his authority. If he did, the individuals just transfer away and he would be a king without having topics. Kings and chiefs have council of elders who guide them. In a dispute or a time of choice-making, these people today debate before the king or chief pronounces the closing determination. Leaders of solution societies have been a further category of leaders outlined. They had been accountable to coach young males in routines of manhood this kind of as, searching, combating, the use of a variety of herbs to overcome ailments and so forth. Leaders of feminine societies also done a identical perform.

These indigenous African leaders did not just occupy positions but truly served the folks. Since the Indigenous Leadership was also affected by western concept of leadership, it would be practical to study the regular roles and functions of African leaders who ended up influenced by western concepts.

THE ROLES AND Functionality OF AFRICAN LEADERS Affected BY WESTERN Notion OF Management

As currently mentioned, western powers set up handful of African states but colonized most. If a single is to contemplate the common notion of African management, the time period of thing to consider ought to be up to the time period when most African countries received their independence. That stage marked not only independence from westerners, but also the advancement of their common leadership notion. Actions surrounding the independence of some African states would be deemed in this area.

1) Leadership Roles and Functions of the Liberated
Africans and Settlers in Sierra Leone

In his guide “Creoledom” Arthur porter, manufactured the subsequent observations about freed slaves who were resettled in a coastal location of West Africa, which later became known as Sierra Leone. He reported that a lot of of the freed slaves who arrived from Nova Scotia experienced been Christians and on arrival, they set up chapels on their own. He pointed out that these churches ended up not companies devoted only to company and worship. He noted that these church buildings ended up not organization devoted only to assistance and worship. They were also centers of social existence in the local community, providing a field of exercise in which the freed Negroes could purchase state and work out leadership. According to Porter, “The church supplied an uncomplicated chance for standing improvement to all those with aspiration for leadership. Thus many with fantastic capability and drive of character if not academic distinction, shortly broke away and collected their very own following”. It can be noticed that opposite to what some persons experience, western concepts had been not imposed on Africans. The freed slaves had lost or had been not even conscious of the indigenous concept of leadership in Africa. They accepted the western concepts as conventional as Arthur Porter observed.

“The influx of liberated Africans into Freetown local community, wherever the settlers had now set a typical dependent on western strategies, experienced confronted the governing administration with a major social difficulty Porter said that the liberated Africans experienced to encounter a people today who experienced acknowledged church heading and membership of a spiritual group as part of their way of daily life. In addition, individuals who exercised political management about the persons were both appointed or elected, and thus grew to become the norm when ability was slowly handed in excess of to the people today. Before power was finally handed in excess of to the Africans, the British who pioneered this venture had succeeded in uniting the indigenes and the settlers below 1 country. It is inside this context that 1 could rightly say that the common leadership idea in Sierra Leone was entirely formulated. This impact of western concepts of leadership in Africa can also be seen in other African nations around the world that ended up colonized by western powers.

2) Management Roles and Capabilities of African Political

Walter T. Wallbank, in the ebook, “Civilization Earlier and Current”, stated that, “the most significant achievement of imperialism was its transmission of groundbreaking Western political and social strategies to underdeveloped societies the explosive idea of democracy, parliamentary federal government and nationalism”. Each African nation that was colonized experienced the influence of western modern society, which resulted in the mix of western and indigenous concepts of leadership in African nations around the world. Wallbank more noted that the get in touch with with the European modes of everyday living speedily undermined previous faiths, customs, tribal loyalty and social establishments and in accordance to him “the African as however belong completely neither to his previous tribal globe nor to that of the white person”. This western-indigenous blend of management concepts can be seen in political leadership as African nations acquired their independence. A quick account of situations surrounding the independence of 4 African nations can bring out the concept evidently and reveal the leaders role and functions. Wallbank stated,” Ghana was the initial country south of the Sahara to rise out of subservience to the white guy. In 1957, Kwame Nkrumah the key minister was the idol of African nationalists and his recently freed nation was the image of liberalism and democracy in emergent Africa. But practically quickly Nkrumah commenced to muzzle the push and imprison the opposition. In accordance to Wallbank, “Nkrumah developed rapidly into an outright dictator in the traditional mould”.

Nigeria was also one more place colonized by the British. There ended up much more than two hundred tribes in the country and a dozen important languages. This nation was united in a type of state-structure and was taught to be the finest instance of democracy in Africa. The endeavor to blend western and African principles of management was also viewed in this problem.

This mix of leadership was also found in Ethiopia. This country was conquered in 1936 and her emperor Haile Selassie exiled. However, the British liberated the nation in 1941 and they brought him again to his kingdom. Wallbank noted that, “even though by no means he was not an enlightened ruler he was equipped to cope with the new forces of transform and modernity.

Eventually, the Gambia, according to F.K. Buah attainted interior self-federal government in 1960 when Pierre Njie, a Gambian leader of the united party became chief minister. Two yrs afterwards, Dauda Jawara, who experienced served beneath Njie became the initially key minister of the Gambia. He led the state to independence in 1970.

The four nations around the world cited higher than, established up democratic governments, like western international locations, when they gained independence. People who pioneered a nation to independence virtually quickly turned the head of point out at independence. This is a great deal in line with how the indigenous leaders had been acknowledge they need to have achieved something. In addition, political leaders who guide their nation to independence do not tolerate any opposition. Like the indigenous leaders they need complete obedience from their followers. The management design that these leaders designed was more authoritative as something domineering.

Proof of Conventional Management Idea in Present Working day Leadership

This dialogue so considerably has been to provide to light the regular notion in African management. This was decided by a close assessment of two areas: i) By an evaluation of how leaders have been regarded in standard Africa and ii) By an understanding of the roles and capabilities of leaders in conventional Africa. It was also noted that the traditional thought was completely designed by each the indigenes and African leaders who experienced western affect.

On the aspect of the indigenes, it was observed that leaders had been recognized because of unique features they possess, for example, a warrior or ‘moriman’, because the people today glance for another person who can guard them. On the side of African leaders with western influence, leaders ended up identified through election or appointment. Western education was a wonderful benefit.

The standard strategy of African leadership was completely made by the time African nation received their independence. At this issue a blend of the indigenous and western styles can be observed. Political leaders immediately after independence had been elected by way of a democratic procedure, but they struggle like indigenous political leaders to continue to keep their placement and don’t tolerate any opposition. This preventing to keep in electrical power is a reflection of the standard concept of management in present working day African management.

At this place, it is necessary to exhibit hoe this fighting to remain in ability, has developed since independence and the influence it is owning in current day Africa. The 4 country-Ghana, Nigeria, Congo and the Gambia, will be reference position for this dialogue.

With reference to functions pursuing the independence of Ghana, Wallbank observed, “But just about right away Nkrumah commenced to muzzle the push and imprison the opposition. Quickly he produced into an outright dictator in the traditional mould”. In 1966 a group of military officers seized command of the federal government in 11972 one more armed service junta seized electric power in a cold coups.

The circumstance of Nigeria adhering to independence was extremely identical to that of Ghana. Wallbank reported between 1962 and 1966 a collection of crises – disputed elections, corruption and lawlessness, threatened to tear the new nation aside. But as a outcome of these occasions, the leader of the Ibo tribal region proclaim its independence as the state of Biafra. This resulted into a civil war.

Congo received her independence in 1960. The state had seventy main ethnic teams and hundreds of tribes. Fighting broke out promptly immediately after independence and the United Nations experienced to intervene. Wallbank stated that the Congolese had been provided practically no teaching in the artwork of self-governing administration.

Activities adhering to independence in the Gambia have been a lot a lot more favorable but Jawara stayed so very long in power till he was overthrown. Two factors observed about the traditional notion of African leadership are: i) The combat to obtain power and ii) the fight to remain in power, if probable, for lifestyle.

The so a lot of wars in Africa, the coups and counter coups are just a reflection of the traditional thought of African leadership. Like the conventional leaders, existing working day leaders consider their place as family members home. It can be seen that existing day management techniques are not distinctive. These techniques have been identified in traditional techniques.


The topic of this paper was to take a look at the conventional principle in African management. The approach taken was initially to analyze the classic concept of African leadership and the then to come across out whether aspects of this principle have been evident in existing day leadership.

The standard concept of common African leadership was examined from two point of view: I) from the standpoint of the indigenous African and ii) that of African leaders who were affected by westerners: the freed slaves from Nova Scotia, Jamaica and England resettled in Africa, and the influence resulting from colonization of African nations.

Two points established the strategy of African management: a) how leaders ended up acknowledged and b) how leaders functioned. African leaders assumed management via a show of power and struggle to keep that ability. This notion is evident in portent day leadership, unveiled in the so lots of coups in Africa and the rebel wars. In addition, in the political arena, leaders do not want to give up power.


Buah, F. K. West Africa and Europe. London: Macmillan Publishers, 1960.

Historical Entire world. London: Macmillan Publishers, 1960.

Fyle, Magbaily, The Historical past of Sierra Leone. London: Evans brothers, 1981.

Porter, Arthur T. Creoledom. London: Oxford College Press, 1963.

Rush, Myron. Administration: A Biblical Technique. Iiinois: Victor Textbooks, 1984.

Wallbank, Walter,T. Civilization Past and Present. London: Scott, Foresman and Firm, 1983.