Original Research

Postcolonial leadership between the sovereign and the beast

Johann A. Meylahn
Verbum et Ecclesia | Vol 38, No 1 | a1784 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ve.v38i1.1784 | © 2017 Johann A. Meylahn | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 25 July 2017 | Published: 08 November 2017

About the author(s)

Johann A. Meylahn, Department of Practical Theology, University of Pretoria, South Africa


There is a crisis in leadership throughout the world, but the focus of this article will be on the crisis in postcolonial Africa. How is this crisis constructed within the politics of the global village? The leadership crisis in Africa is often portrayed by Western-influenced media as leaders being beasts if they do not comply with the wishes and dictates of Western capital, or characterised as puppets of Western capital, a puppet of the Western sovereign. Is there a way beyond these characterisations, or is it a political necessity to divide the world into friends and enemies, as Carl Schmitt would like us to believe? Taking Derrida into consideration, a way will be sought beyond this characterisation. Derrida’s ideas concerning the sovereign will pose the question: can leadership move beyond being either a puppet of a Western sovereign or being the beast of darkest Africa? The article will argue that the political gathering into a collective will not be destroyed if this distinction disappears, although the distinction will be ruined. Yet, these ruins will be the place for the possibility of something other, an impossible possibility – the madness of the impossible possible, or the madness of holy folly and the hope and dream of leadership still to come.

Intradisciplinary and/orinterdisciplinary implications: The article addresses the postcolonial context, specifically of Africa, but not limited to Africa. It challenges traditional theories on leadership and proposes a hermeneutical approach to interpreting and understanding leadership.


Leadership; Postcolonial; Decolonial; Deconstruction


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Crossref Citations

1. Who Must Lead Decoloniality: A Practical Theological Interrogation on the Possible Qualification to Lead Decolonisation: A South African Study
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