Matanda is a part of the AYLF family and is actively involved in the alumni chapter (AYPN- Africa Young Professionals Network). When I approached Matanda to do a story about him, he straight away made an appointment for the next day very effortlessly.
‘I am a rabbit farmer and I lawyer,’ he said when I asked him what it is that he does. Reading the surprise and curiosity on my face, he continues saying, ‘You know most prophets were shepherds referring back to Jesus and Mohammed.’ ‘And there is something very peaceful and innocent about animals that he loves’ he says thoughtfully. But quickly he goes on to say that he is a writer and has authored a book as well. So I ask Matanda, Where did it all begin? Where did your AYLF journey begin?
‘During my tenure as Guild President at the Islamic University in Uganda, I set my mind to looking out for platforms for exposure where students could engage and network to enhance their University learning experience and AYLF happened to be one of the options open to me.’ He says he can vividly remember the first AYLF Conference he attended, it was themed purpose and Identity and he remembers that being the beginning of a turning point in his leadership journey. ‘AYLF opened my eyes to the idea of leadership based on values.’ He narrates that his journey of self discovery has allowed him to embrace spirituality and the knowledge that he has a purpose as a leader. This, he says is what prompts him to tailor his leadership style based on his own personal values and some learnt from various prophets.
Noticing that he had used the word leadership quite a lot in our conversation, I ask him what leadership means to him.
‘Leadership is impacting people’s lives for the better,’ he says. ‘It’s comprised of many factors such as influence, mobilization, organization to name a few.’ He points out influence as being the most important of the three simply because leadership by example is not the best way, but the only way to influence a quote he borrows from Arnold Schweitzer a well known theologian and philosopher. He eyes that leadership must come from within and everything you do and say as a leader, must flow out of your belief system and then dispense into your followers.
At this point in time, Matanda is speaking with a deep reflection in his eyes and passion in his voice, so I probe further, ‘You spoke very heartily about values, which value do you consider to be at the core of your leadership style?’
‘Service’ he replies very swiftly clearly showing that it is something that he has had the time to think about and conclude on.
Servanthood is deeply engraved in me, he adds. I might be a jack of many trades but I am definitely a master of service.’ He explains that the deeper he has gotten into AYLF’ s philosophies, the less entitled he has felt to the privileges and power that come with leadership positions. He instead has been more compelled to think about his legacy and how far his impact goes. Although he is not actively in any leadership position at the moment, he feels more confident with the seemingly small transformations he sees in his daily walk, as far as influencing others is concerned, he says he is still and always will be drawn to working with people, for people.
What is your life’s philosophy? I ask..
He chuckles and stops to think… ‘Well, I don’t have one but I know when I do finally lay on my death bed, I want to look back with a smile, I want to know that all the gifts I came with in 1990, I have used and left behind, I want to die empty!’
Ideally, Matanda should have dropped his invisible microphone and walked out of the interview room like I would have but he did not. He smiles warmly and awaits the next question.
‘So What do you hope AYLF Uganda will look like in the next decade?’
‘As Matanda, In the next few years, I envision that AYLF will be a very big movement of people in Uganda and the region who are networked in various industries with diverse skills but still holding a similarity that is servanthood and the spirit of Ubuntu.’
A Huge Thanks to you @matandaabubaker for taking out the time to share your story. We appreciate you and the role you have played and continue to play in spreading the AYLF vision.