10 September 2022, Johannesburg, South Africa. Henley Business School Africa extends its very best wishes and commitment of support to His Majesty King Charles III on his accession to the throne of the United Kingdom following the meeting of the Accession Council in London on Saturday 10 September.
“We are uniquely British and South African,” says dean and director Jon Foster-Pedley, “the sadness of the loss of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s passing on Thursday 8 September, is tempered only by the knowledge that her son Charles will succeed her.”
“His Majesty the King is an avowed humanist, a person with a very deep and proven empathy for the environment and a profound and public passion for diversity and tolerance. We will need his leadership and guidance now more than ever when it comes to ensuring that Britain maintains and builds on its historic ties with the continent, especially when it comes to assisting in the successful implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area, which will create the largest trading bloc in the world.
The King, says Foster-Pedley, has shown his courage and his determination to tackle difficult issues head-on.
“It was significant to hear him speak of the need to confront the legacy of slavery when he opened the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in Rwanda in June this year. As commentators at the time noted, the King’s courage in publicly addressing the issue shows that he wants to be part of the solution rather than a symbol of the problem. We are going to need more interventions like this in Africa – and not merely from Britain, but other former colonial powers, as we move forward.”
Foster-Pedley believes the King’s interest in the environment, long before it was fashionable for world leaders to espouse green causes, is also extremely important for the continent’s future.
“Africa, through no fault of its own, will pay the highest price for climate change and global warming through increased extreme weather events, food and water insecurity and even more inequality. Last November, the King spoke eloquently at COP26 in Glasgow about the need to restore natural capital, accelerate nature-based solutions and leverage the circular economy.
“King Charles has always been a passionate advocate for sustainability, organic farming, biodiversity and the sanctity of nature. He could become the world’s first Eco-King. We hope that he will be assisted in every way possible by the government of his own country and other international organisations to achieve this. We are committed as Henley Africa to working with him and his office in this regard, in any way we can contribute.”
The business school, which is an independent branch of Henley Business School in the UK, the oldest business school in Europe, is following British customs by hoisting the flags on its Johannesburg campus to half-mast until Tuesday 20 September, the day after the Queen’s state funeral in Britain. It has opened a Book of Condolence for students, faculty and alumni to sign and will hold a two-minute silence on Monday 12 September along with its Henley UK, Europe and Asia campuses and the University of Reading.