The Islands of Sanity in the Killing Fields of Inequalities: A juxtaposed case in Management, Leadership and Governance Practices!


  • Valindawo Valile M Dwayi Walter Sisulu University



State Capture; Justice Zondo Commission; Historically Disadvantaged Universities; Walter Sisulu University; Public Good


This article was motivated by the conversations which ensued at ECMLG 2021 after a presentation on a similar topic. The question from the audience was whether the researcher and analyst still had tenure in the insider research project he had just shared. The response was in the affirmative, although serious concerns were expressed about the quality of the tenure, symbolized by the brutality and dehumanising tendencies of the then University Regime. Therefore, this project-based article at ECMLG 2022 continues from that debate. Mirrored on the national events as a result of the Justice Zondo Commission about State Capture in South Africa, the article focuses on one case of a university institution, which was arguable under a capture during a particular regime of a Vice Chancellor and Principal. The case of “The Killing Fields of Inequalities” is very typical of the national contexts, which is still steeped in settler colonialism and in a structured racist system, strangely almost thirty years into constitutional democracy. Such a case is juxtaposed with what can be referred to as “Islands of Sanity”! The two African folklore illustrate the case as reported in the article. Firstly, that the system can be changed but it will first try to eat you up! Secondly, that when the hyena wants to eat its own children, it first accuses them of smelling like rats. Therefore, the main argument, which serves as the anchor for the article, is to problematise the taken for granted claims about management, leadership and governance practices in university education spaces. This can be done by means of realist oriented scholarship projects, which ought to dig deeper than what appears on surface as leadership for the idea of university education as the public good. In this regard, the article suggests a realist social program, which is anchored on the critical realist philosophy, in accounting for the cited practices and in ways that can shed more light for the transformative outcomes than those reported in the article. It is envisaged that the article will have as the result, promotion of systemic conversations about the default position and fault consciousness in the idea of university education in general and how such an idea should be better managed, led and governed in the national development plans (in the case of South Africa, for example).