The role of indigenous leadership practices in school leadership : a case study of one Zulu community.
This study focuses on role of traditional leadership in school leadership. The aim is to find out how traditional leadership practices of the Zulu community can add value to school leadership and how such practices can be infused into schools. South African education policies encourage participatory shared decision-making and decentralization of authority. These policies focus on democracy and provide the enabling framework to enable principals, the School Management Team, the School Governing Body and the community at large to collaborate. Despite these new policies and new structures, the schools are still faced with many challenges; some are classified as dysfunctional, there is low teacher morale and ill-discipline is rife. The problem is whether there is a disjuncture between the schools, communities and traditional practices. The study was conducted within the interpretive paradigm and qualitative case study was adopted as a research approach. A primary school within one specific community, which is led by traditional leaders, was purposively selected for the study. Data was gathered through semi-structured interviews with the principal, one head of department, SGB, headman and husband and wife and a Council member. Observation was used to triangulate data obtained through the interviews. The data gathered was transcribed, organised into themes, categories and sub-categories. Finally, in this study, the data was analysed using content analysis. The study was framed around the concepts of ubuntu and distributed leadership, because leadership is viewed as shared amongst a number of leaders from both the school and traditional leadership. The ubuntu philosophy on the other hand is underpinned by values such as respect, kindness and humanity which are needed to tackle issues facing schools. The study revealed that leadership was understood as a participatory activity which involved stakeholders in decision-making. Principals have to be morally grounded and show respect so that others can follow in their lead. The role of traditional leadership was identified as contributing positively towards issues relating to discipline, keeping schools safe and secure. The findings further revealed that school-community partnership fosters collaboration and can assist in resuscitating the value of ubuntu.