How can African Proverbs be used to inspire entrepreneurial leadership?

The mechanism for identifying the defining qualities of a leader is legion. As an African, embodying leadership by drawing inspiration from the wisdom of the continent is the best thing. African philosophical principles and the continent’s leaders have left a wealth of wisdom that can help in various areas, mainly entrepreneurship.

The Benefits of Learning from African Proverbs

In globally dominant discourses, leadership is associated primarily, if not exclusively, with exercising authority regarding others. In African wisdom, leadership is dynamic that extends more broadly and deeply. Some of the proverbs explained below connect with how entrepreneurs can benefit from it to accomplish their organizational goals.

1- Sankofa

“Sankofa” means “to draw inspiration from the past to get better forward” in Ghanaian Akan Language. It symbolises a mythical bird flying forward with its head turned back. A representation of the tradition that “wisdom that allows us to learn from the past forges the future.” As an entrepreneur, you will learn how to use your mistakes to build a bridge to your goal based on this life lesson.



Ujima is a Swahili word that means “collaborative work and responsibility.” A picture that perfectly represents your role within the company. To impact your community as an entrepreneur, you must consider the stakeholders within your structure. Whether they are famous or unknown, wealthy or impoverished, you must listen to everyone and, above all, avoid endorsing all responsibilities.


3- Maat

Maat represents order, balance, justice, and truth in Egyptian mythology. The world’s immutable order, to which all must conform. This means you must strive for balance in all aspects of your life (family, social, and professional) and evaluate your collaborators and employees based on their merits. By doing so, you can become an accomplished leader and build a sustainable business.


Ubuntu is a South African concept that translates to “I am because we are.” This principle emphasizes the importance of community and individual interdependence. As an entrepreneur, you must be aware of your company’s impact on the community and stakeholders and work to foster positive and mutually beneficial relationships. Following this principle will allow you to build a business that is profitable and socially responsible to the community.



Moreover, good leadership is required if humanity is to lift the burden of capitalism. To investigate such leadership, we must take ownership of our African legacies and theoretical frameworks through intersectionality, deep dialogue, and deconstruction. The African principles can assist entrepreneurs in creating a company that respects community values while positively impacting the environment and society. Finally, consider Nelson Mandela’s statement, “I like to make jokes when I review serious situations.” Because people can think clearly when they are relaxed…”Never forget to insert it into your strings a few times to relax the atmosphere.”


                                                                                                        Traduit par:

                                                                                              Mr Ibrahima DIABY


Kodjo Agbehonou


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