Leadership and gratitude after serving as your Chief Scout

Dear Scouting friends,

Madiba once said to me “Sibusiso I have lost power and position, I am a has been”, today I know and feel what he meant. I am indeed a has been! I am deeply humbled and honoured to have occupied the position of Chief Scout for the last three years. It is a position I had not applied for because I had no qualifications nor credentials, it is a position I never fought for because I knew nothing about war. It is a position and a wonderful opportunity I was afforded by the Scout Board who had the trust and faith in me, and believed that I was the right candidate to fill the position and lead the Movement forward. They brought me in to be an inspirational leader; I did my best in the role and I hope I played it well.

As I did during my inaugural address, would like to acknowledge the fact that the Governing Board had to go beyond some long standing traditions in nominating and voting me into the position without me having been neither a part of nor a member of the Scouting movement before. I am very grateful for that gesture, I still feel deeply humbled, and honoured as I step down. I would like to thank the Board for appreciating the value they believe I have added to the youth. It was an honour.

My gratitude goes to National Office for all the support they have given me over the years. I am very thankful especially to the CEO Mrs Milly Siebrits and PR manager Natasha Kayle who made sure that I was able to use my words to inspire members and who took care of me every time I had to attend Scouting Events. Milly, I appreciate the efforts you made to get me to the KZN Rallies and to Springbok Award ceremonies. I know that if financial means were possible, you would have sent me to all the Regions to meet and inspire our youth. It has been very delightful working with you and Natasha, thank you very much for all support.

To the Exco team, the ship that has been co-captained by the Chief Commissioner, now Chief Scout, Dr Brendon Hausberger and our hard working CEO Milly Siebrits. How do I even begin to thank you? My literacy lets me down because I cannot find words that can express my deeper feelings for your support during my term as Chief Scout. You have been my life and my survival, because if it were not for you and the entire EXCO Team my term in the office would have been even shorter. Not by just supporting me, but by taking over and standing in when I could not, you answered questions I should have answered. Your adaptability and flexibility made me to believe in you and the entire Exco team. Brendon you answered very prompt every time I called you to stand in on my behalf at meetings and you did that with merit.  By that, you portrayed the kind leader you are and we need many like you in this movement if we are hoping to reach the summit. Flexibility and adaptability are critical principles for reaching great heights in leadership. Brendon, I believe in you and hold you in very high esteem. I congratulate you as you move forward as Chief Scout. SCOUTS South Africa could not have elected a more deserving and capable person in this era. I call upon everybody to stand by you and give you all the support you need along this journey.

My remarks to the Exco team at my inauguration were and I quote; “When I am done with being Chief Scout of the Republic of South Africa, I want to say; I won’t have served as Chief Scout of South Africa with any better Exco team than you”! Those are the words I echo today. So thank you for serving me well. I will always be humbled by the way you embraced me.

To the Regions I would like to express my sincere gratitude for all you do for our youth. I  would like to express my sincere gratitude to the KZN and Western Cape Regions for giving me the opportunity to inspire, encourage and motivate youth in their regions. I am very thankful to the Regional Commissioners, Commissioners and Scouters who saw the value that I could bring to their Scouts. I hope that other Regions now step up their game and realise that the Chief Scout is not an office bearer who only sits in meetings, the Chief Scout is there to better the Movement and serve its children. Therefore opportunities to meet and interact with the many members is of vital importance.

To the Scouts and Cubs, I would like to encourage you to continue on your Scouting journey. Continue to explore, to learn and to appreciate your Scouters for all they do to inspire and empower you. The skills you learn through adventure are skills that will help you succeed in life. Be proud to be a Scout as I am proud to have been your Chief Scout. The Scouting Movement is like non other.

I end with an expression of gratitude to the entire Movement. It has been three years of learning and growth. Through Scouting I have become a better leader. I leave with the knowledge that leadership is not protecting a position and only managing people, leadership is taking people from here to there, and taking an organisation from a state of current reality to somewhere better.  I have learnt that a leadership journey is like running a relay, you take the baton and race as hard as you can without fading completely before handing it over to a better runner. I do that now with pride and honour!

I have run my race and have handed the leadership baton over to Dr Brendon Hausberger; it’s all yours Sir! I wish you all the best, because you are the best.

Thank you!

Sibusiso Vilane