Inaugural Marake Michael Morapeli Annual Lecture – Studietrust AGM Thamsanqa Maqubela

University of Johannesburg, Nov 30, 2011

By Thamsanqa Maqubela, Executive Director of SAGDA and Studietrust Executive Board Member and Alumnus

In organizations with the power to persist through turbulent eras, one finds leaders who live as if they were stewards of a legacy-the culture, mission, and founding spirit of the organization. These legacy leaders may be physicians, administrators, chief executives, or board members, but they all have the ability to weave a thread of constancy through times of peril. Five attributes characterize legacy leaders: Their work is a vocation, they possess a moral code, they are committed to stewardship, they have a bias for building, and they instil hope. Legacy leaders stay with one organization a very long time, patiently removing obstacles to worthy accomplishments.

Because the profession of education is at heart a vocation, not a business, we must pay attention to the kinds of leaders we place in our education institutions. To carry out their responsibility of transforming education delivery, boards of directors must hire legacy leaders, manage their business focus, carefully evaluate executives, enhance mechanisms for board evaluation, and raise the bar for decision making.

In today’s global business ecology, effective leadership is increasingly more dependent on stewardship—that is, putting aside your self-interests for the betterment of others and the whole—as a primary approach, rather than controlling or coercive behavior. Leaders who exhibit stewardship demonstrate high levels of trust, openness, and service. In this lecture, we will examine the leadership attribute of stewardship and discuss how to leverage your mentoring relationship to improve your effectiveness.

Stewardly Leadership Defined

Stewards endeavor to move through the world in a manner that leaves it better than they found it for future generations. They look beyond the needs of self and focus on service for the whole enterprise. In stewardship, you are in charge of something that is entrusted to you, but that is not truly your possession.
Stewards are given responsibility for resources that encompass both self and organizational factors. Self-stewardship is made up of the resources we are born with and develop over time: our talents, aspirations, and the time and energy we have to accomplish our responsibilities. Organizational stewardship is made up of the resources we are given charge of by the organization or community that we have joined. It includes: 

Material assets – The physical goods and equipment we are given to accomplish our responsibilities. These material or durable goods include such things as computer or network systems, budgets, supplies, raw materials, and inventoried products.

Intellectual assets – The knowledge or proprietary concepts that the organization has amassed in order to create a competitive or distinctive advantage. These intellectual assets include literary or artistic works, and intellectual property such as patents, appellations of origin, business methods, and industrial processes.
Emotional assets – The aggregated feelings that those in the organization experience as they go about accomplishing their given responsibilities. These emotional assets include organizational culture, vision, values, practices, and guiding principles.

Human assets – The people who make up the enterprise and the total blend of talents, aspirations, and time/energy that they represent; they have the responsibility of creating long-term value for the whole enterprise. When thinking of human assets, we need to include the way people interact to create the desired outcomes of the enterprise, such as efficiencies, collaboration, teamwork, and organizational structure. 

Ladies and gentleman, all of these assets are found in one man present here tonight. In his honour, we are gathered to pay tribute and celebrate his life as he retires from retirement. He is a giant, a colossus on whose shoulders we stand. I speak on none other than the honourable Mr. Michael Marake Morapeli. A seasoned scholar with a quiet sense of dignity, integrity and service. The leadership qualities of Ntate Morapeli are supreme. Under his stewardship, Studietrust grew in terms of revenue generated and the number of students supported. As a board member and chairperson of the board, Mr. Morapeli contributed as a donor to the organization he has served so devoutly. He did not take any allowance, even after his professional retirement in 1994.

Powerful to Ntate Morapeli’s genius and ability to delegate is the trust that he puts to those he appoints. Where can I really start to speak about his many accolades and describe the library of his contribution to South Africa and our organization? He served this humble and impactful organization since 1981.

Leaders who practice stewardship effectively make a choice to serve others over self-interest, and in doing so become more effective in their leadership. They aspire to create a legacy for future generations by taking all the resources (material, intellectual, emotional and human) that they have and growing them for others, and that is what Mr. Morapeli has managed to be, to do and to have. Stewardship directly impacts the following leadership domains:  

Leadership Domains and Stewardship

Leadership Domains and Stewardship


Leaders who invest resources are consciously aware of the personal responsibility they have to produce an appreciable gain from the resources they have been entrusted with. The focus of their personal attention is on creating increased value for the whole organization. They operate from a modest provisional mindset and believe they have been given just enough resources. They also feel accountable to leverage these resources to create more for future generations. They are content to participate in the future success of the enterprise as a part of the whole, rather than an exception. This mindset is secure in the belief that, together with the resources of the whole, they can overcome the current obstacles and become more in the future. These leaders are often seen as role models, collaborative, conscientious, considerate, and trustworthy.

It is the gains of integrity and sustainable profitability that we are celebrating today and for the pregnant future heralded to us by Mr. Morapeli. How do we clone this rare quality of leadership? It is fair, just and ecologically in harmony with nature.

Ntate Morapeli your many years of friendship with Reverend Hofmeyr has bequeathed to us a future that is not only bright but also sustainable inspite of the climate change and economic melt-down challenges we are experiencing. You have given us the endurance and power to change the future and we salute you.
Long Live Ntate Morapeli Long Live – God Bless You.
Mike Morapeli and Thamsanqa Maqubela 30 Nov 2011
Mike M Morapeli and Thamsanqa Maqubela (November 2011)