Youth stimulated to be innovators during this era of 4IR at Lot Ndlovu Memorial Lecture

Individuals should be open-minded and understand that in the era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR), critical thinking is more important than memorisation of facts.

This was the view of the Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University of Johannesburg (UJ), Professor Tshilidzi Marwala, when he delivered the 6th Lot Ndlovu Memorial Lecture at PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PwC) in Midrand on Thursday, 30 August 2019. Students and academics, members of the business community, government, NGOs, and the public, attended the Memorial Lecture.

Reflecting on the legacy of Ndlovu as a warrior of South Africa’s liberation struggle, Prof Marwala said the modern-day Lot Ndlovu should realise that creativity is vital than copying other people’s ideas. “As never before, we want thinkers of great thoughts… Of what use is education if you cannot help your country in her hour of need?” asked Prof Marwala, whose message focused on the Ethical Leadership in 4IR.

He said using emotional intelligence was key to pre-empt the harmful and unintended consequences of technology. He urged young people to have a global mindset, instead of narrow nationalism. “South Africa cannot leave the rest of the African continent behind. Naturally, the Lot Ndlovu of modern-era should be cosmopolitan and be grounded in the community.”

Prof Marwala reiterated that Africa has been spectators of the previous revolutions, and called for more creativity and resourcefulness. “Let us think about how we shall develop our electronic industry. In the spirit of Lot Ndlovu, now is the time to transform the landscape of our industrial space to grow our economy as well as decrease poverty, unemployment and inequality.

“If we ignore the fourth industrial revolution, we shall become economic slaves. It is imperative that we become equal participants in the fourth industrial revolution.”

The Chairman of Maduke Lot Ndlovu Legacy Trust, Professor Wiseman Nkuhlu, highlighted the important role that Ndlovu played in the development of black businesses in post-apartheid South Africa. He said through his engagements with Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) and government structures, Ndlovu always agitated for BEE deals that would genuinely develop black businesses.

“He was a humanitarian at heart who was driven by the desire to improve the circumstances of the marginalised and excluded sections of the South African society,” he said.

Lot Ndlovu’s son, Monde, delivered a family tribute, and said if his father had been alive; he would advise the youth not to make excuses for not pursuing education. “My dad did not allow the fact that being raised in a poor household should constrain his future. He studied business management in South Africa and pursued his postgraduate studies also abroad.”

Black Management Forum President Andile Nomlala praised Ndlovu, saying he had turned the organisation into a well-functioning entity through his business management skills.