Whole Leaders: Honoring Juliao Mutemba

LF believes that to transform cities and create a better world, we must focus on leadership and developing whole leaders. As such, whole leaders is the Raison d’être for LF’s existence. One of the key characteristics of a whole leader is seeing a “third way.” Whole leaders recognize that the world is not dichotomous, so they work toward a better world by bringing together seemingly opposing sectors or groups in a community and then coalescing and mobilizing them around a common vision, mission, and set of values in their respective cities. From work in Delhi to Dallas, Pretoria to Portland, and Memphis to Maputo, LF has had the great fortune of having these kinds of leaders in abundance. Nowhere was this better personified than in Juliao Mutemba, who recently passed away.


Stephan de Beer, a friend and colleague of Juliao, as well as a Leadership Foundations’ Senior Associate provided the following tribute and reflection on Juliao’s life and the legacy he created in Maputo:


Juliao was an extraordinary humble servant of the Lord, but equally courageous in all of his endeavors. He was a warm and gentle priest caring for his community of Bagamoyo in Maputo. Additionally, he was the founder and leader of Leadership Foundation of Mozambique (LFM), a networker of the body of Christ beyond all boundaries, an ecumenical leader who served in the Council of Churches of Mozambique, and he played a central role in the organization of the All-African Council of Churches gathering in Maputo in 2008.


A sensitive and wise theologian with a breadth and depth of insight that was completely disarming, he struggled for justice and Jesus in the midst of harsh urban spaces. Among these harsh spaces was the city of Maputo’s garbage dump. Intimately acquainted with this place and the community who made it a their home, Juliao was writing a research paper for his Master’s Degree in Missiology entitled Hidden Treasures: a Theology of Garbage, such was Juliao himself – a hidden treasure; a strong and significant leader in the continent of Africa; a passionate and persevering servant of the city. And yet, his deep and humble servant hood was matched only by a theological understanding that encompassed a concern for the poor, a commitment to environmental justice, dedication to gender equality, and a desire to see the urban church empowered. As humble as he was, just as passionate, courageous, persevering and determined was he, not to be swayed from the path that God had led him on. Even if a particular vision took years to complete, Juliao would walk step by step towards that vision.


As a whole leader who developed a third way as he cared for his whole city, Juliao made the world a better place. LF is ever so fortunate to have women and men like him around the world.

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