-  Diary of an Adventure   -  UN Leadership Training

UCT Graduate School of Business

Quiet contemplation. One of the values around which the UN Leadership Training is structured. Recognizing that they have a room full of frazzled field people who need space in coming off their ADHD lives. Within the fantastic facilities of the UNCT Business School, courtyards, gardens, art and the myriad of corridors rough the former prison, a natural maze in which to loose oneself.

My single expectation of the course, as highlighted on the Board of Truth, against which sessions are measured for relevance and application to our jobs, is to ‘Change the Paradigm’ – You can’t get different results if you keep doing things the same way. ‘If you don’t know where you are going, any road will do’ – Alice in Wonderland.

We have a small, moldy cottage, on the steep slopes of Signal Hill in De Waterkant. Trendy, beautifully restored and a short walk down the hill to the Business School. The lawns next to the sea at Moullie Point for Polly’s walks. An abundance of coffee, wine and eating options.

The Piano Bar has a comfortable, if narrow, terrace from which to watch the sky turn ultramarine blue. A menu of interesting, tasty, snack options to keep the wine company. Music and people, a constant swirl.

A fascinating discussion by Dr Ramphele on leadership in Africa and the entitlement, rather than responsibility models. Challenging us to affect a Mindset Change in Leadership, as it’s in our hands to make lots of small changes that have a collectively large impact.

A whole new view of leadership based on Steward Leadership (being the best leader you can for the world) that looks at Leadership Maturity.

Jazz by the UCT Jazz Ensemble at the Mahogany Room. An intimate jazz bar that, although new, has the feel of jazz masters woven into the fabric of the walls. Good wine, at an affordable price, was unexpected and the sound quality excellent. Great music, the tenor special. The absence of Cape Flats jazz influence in the program, a disappointment.

Structured model of leadership behaviour, a neat package in which to look at the different traits required in different aspects of the organisation. Contrasted against the loose, seemingly disconnected role of Art in leadership. Emphasizing the Trust aspect of leadership. A mirror of our chaotic, changing, unpredictable worlds that run contrary to set targets and systems. Beneficiaries, and what should be our focus often lost.

Not sure I’m any further forward in integrating Human Centered Design with the dimension art brings to sustainable decision making.

The different aspects of art and Africa were extended into a noisy evening at Gold, which included drumming (participatory) and dance, enhanced into food flavours, colours and textures.


In his time Jan has been an electronics, nuclear and power system engineer, a strategist, a humanitarian and an artist. A career path linked by creativity and innovative thinking. Initially trained at the Johannesburg College of Art, Jan has won numerous international awards and has exhibited nationally and internationally. He can be found in his studio ‘Jandreart’ located at Thesen Harbour Town, Knysna.

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