Nelson Mandela “Freedom in Africa” Research Paper
It can be difficult to understand the meaning of oppression if at all one has never experienced the struggles coupled with oppressions hence, the desire to liberate from shackles of oppression. However, it is not easy to find the way out of oppression, especially when the oppressors seem to gain much from their egoistic acts. This has been the story in Africa, the story of oppression from the colonial masters. Yes, indeed it is the story of oppression between white settlers and Africans, fighting for resources and power. Nevertheless, in order to gain freedom, individuals or groups of people must have strong determination.
On matters of freedom, there are two warring groups fighting to gain something or protect their legacy. Each group has its own demands, of course by realization. Thus, since the disparities between the groups are many, the subjugated group will find it hard to fight for freedom. Nevertheless, if the group remain adamant and plan well, the situation will one day rectify where, the once mighty and feared will turn powerless. (Melber, 2006, 261-278).
At some point, the struggle for freedom can include mass killings, detention, rape and racial discriminations. Nevertheless, the two parties receive equal blame for their respective participation for either oppression or freedom. For example, the struggle for freedom in South Africa is one of the best examples of freedom in Africa so far. This incredible enlightenment came from Nelson Mandela who for his quest for African freedom did not lose self-determination to press on until finally declared, first past the post.
In the quest of freedom for Africa, Nelson Mandela has been a reference figure to many people who are still fighting for freedom especially in Africa. His enduring in addition, tireless devotion, became an ingredient of downtrodden semantics of the oppressors. South Africans were to fight their enemies and tormenters in order to achieve freedom.
On the other hand, the South African apartheid had claimed more from them hence, calming and breaking its foundations was a vision to achieve. Nevertheless, Nelson Mandela is one key inspirational figure in social and political sceneries. This man tirelessly fought for oppression and racial discrimination of South Africans. His participations on the antiapartheid rule in South Africa have won him a Nobel Peace Prize, leave alone being the President of South Africa.
The country that was once marked by oppressive tactics is now a figure of freedom in Africa. He led the country to reject colonial rule and one race government, into a rule of the majority and multiracial regime. Tirelessly, Nelson Mandela fought for the respect of human rights and equality whether white or black. (Mandela, 1990, pp. 2-48).
Though Nelson Mandela’s journey was marked with setbacks, epic struggles and strange happenings, the spirit and desire to achieve his visions renewed his hope and determinations, leading to his historical triumphant tribulation. Interestingly, Nelson Mandela grew up in an environment full traditions, cultural worships and social African elegancies.
However, as he grew up, it came to his realization that, apartheid rule was dominant, representing the most cantankerous and successive system of oppression and discriminations. South Africans had struggled in vain to reject this system. They feared death as anybody who was going contrary to this system, faced dire consequences including death.
Thus, South Africans, like any Africans during the period of colonialism, had to fight on notwithstanding of threats, in order to end oppression. The deaths had to cease no matter how long it took, so that Africans create their own administration full of African values, freedoms and tranquility.
Apartheid and Oppression
Like White people, Africans also needed an environment free of oppression and racial discriminations. Indeed, Nelson Mandela is the founder of freedom in Africa. Over the decades, Africans have been struggling to achieve justice and freedom in all speckles of life. This is the reason why, heroic, self-determined brave men and women who do not fear death through hanging or Police brutality voyaged to hasten and achieve liberation. The pillaging periods of social and national enslavements educated Africans that, they had to fight in order to achieve liberation, and that freedom is necessary for smooth survival and prosperity.
However, people can only win the war through visions and formation of peace units. For example, driven by hunger of justice, the South Africans decided to mould machinery called, African National Congress (ANC), which will act as a spear towards freedom. Among its top leaders, was Nelson Mandela who together with other eminent leaders, decided to lead a generational front of achieving freedom.
The group would stage protest marches as a way of uniting all those who wanted freedom. The white people oppressed South Africans in an unprecedented scale. For example, in order to rule well, Nelson Mandela realized that, the regime had divided the country along racial and ethnic lines, in what many termed, divide and rule system. A particular grouping represented each race or ethnic group. There groups included, the Colored People’s Congress, Communist Part, people from Dutch descendant fell under Afrikaners, South African Congress, and the African National Congress (ANC).
However, these groups thrived under the monarchial White National Party and it actually dictated what these parties did. In addition to social and ethnic segregations, the regime allocated about 87 percent of South African land to white settlers, leaving eight million South Africans to share the remaining 13 percent. In 1912, Mandela joined ANC with a view to quest for freedom. (Richardson, 1978, 185-219).
This party led protests and led mischief to the ‘notorious state laws’ which the regime abrogated to a level of deity. In fact, the regime had even enacted an oppression policy with a mission to achieve their demands. Nevertheless, the South Africans under the umbrella of ANC, decided to brawl on clandestinely, up to the time when they could achieve freedom. The ANC had to defend its members from the oppressive apartheid administration.
For example, in order to reach out their conquest of freedom, AFC decided to embark in reactionary violence, silent mass mobilizations to gather numbers, and seeking international attention. Later, Nelson Mandela and the larger AFC leadership unveiled the Nation’s Spear, which used as a motto towards liberation. Moreover, the party decided to incorporate African states. Amid danger and consequences Mandela faced, he vowed to defend his people. (Decalo, 1992, pp. 7-35).
Unluckily, the apartheid regime arrested Nelson Mandela together with his lieutenants and sentenced them, five years in jail. Up to this far, the apartheid regime though that, it had completely shunned Africans from championing their freedom. All the same, later on, this idea came out to be acme of false tranquility, which only lasted in the twinkling of an eye.
At Robben Island where apartheid jailed Mandela and fellow ANC leaders, the leaders were busy developing another plan of action. Although the court found Mandela, the main suspect of leading the quest, contrary to apartheid laws and sentenced him for a longer period, the war on democracy still smelled from far.
In the Rivonia Trial Chambers, apartheid characterized oppression and white supremacy as opposed to black South Africans. The war had just begun; the war between white invincibility and freedom in Africa. In jail, Mandela and his fellow detainees continued to write to other interested civilians and international community, pestering them to force apartheid to release the detainees. (Gready, 1993, pp.489-523).
Demonstrations, Detention and Mass Killings
It has never easy for most African counties to achieve freedom, even today; many countries are still languishing in domestic and international oppressions. Though physical white regimes are no more in Africa, the issues of neo-colonialism still hold many African counties ransom to oppression. Mandela and his fellow ANC leaders were fighting to end white man dependency, which is itself oppression. Freedom in Africa meant that, Africans would wholesomely rely on themselves, economically, socially and politically. Perhaps this is the reason why, apartheid continued to abuse the jailers to stop them from heightening their political insinuations.
Interestingly, even some jailed illiterate people, graduated from dungeon cells, ready to defend their rights and freedoms. The student uprising in 1976 climaxed the whole war of freedom in Africa. However, the apartheid tortured civilians and apparently, the voice of the people harkened further and further; no machinery would stop civilian upsurge. Not even, army attacks, repression, sanctions and international seclusion, could stop the militant South Africans whose destination was freedom.
On learning how unstoppable civilian had become, apartheid decided to employ dialogue with Mandela. However, Mandela was not ready to accept the demands of apartheid. Instead, he vowed to oust the adversary of African freedom. The white men oppressed Africans on grounds of protecting their bigotry, cultural ambiguities and privileges. (Meredith, 1998, pp. 261-273).
The apartheid did not allow Africans to vote nor did they have civic rights. Additionally, the white people regime had deprived them land. On the other hand, if an African passed near a white man, he had to take off his hat besides, not stepping where the white man walked. In order to win this war, Africans had to stop regarding themselves along ethnic lines and form a single unit with similar ambitions.
Since the exploitations from apartheid seemed many, the Africans could not bear them any longer. The regime had taken everything helpful in the eyes of an African. Even land, which Africans consider a precious commodity, became rare because; the white settlers occupied the most productive areas leaving unfertile sections to the populous Africans. Poverty administered their lives coupled with inhuman mistreatment from apartheid regime.
Freedom in Africa
The hard-won freedom is today the paramount thing in freedom for all African states. For example, many countries in Africa conduct elections to choose their leaders. Africans were fighting to have the right to choose their leaders. In Ghana for example, the county went into an election inviting international observers to oversee the whole exercise whether it respond to the rule of majority. Indeed, the outcome of the exercise indicated how Africans have achieved the freedom to choose their leaders not warranted during colonial periods. In many African states, action dominates key institutions due to the realization of rights and freedoms.
South Africa being a symbol of freedom in Africa had their laws changed by Congress to represent the ill of the people. During the period in which Mandela spent years in prison, Africa was liberating itself from the shackles of colonialism. Instead of the perceived trivialities within Africans, mutual interdependence took place hence; Africans became more united. Mandela, 1990, pp. 76-106).
Nelson Mandela started championing African freedom when he was a young pugilist in 1940’s. Ancient African practices like tribalism, ethnicity and pluralism continued to eat the society slowly. The emergence of the apartheid as the powerful regime in South Africa heightened African differences.
However, Africans had to defeat their adversary not as a divided group, but a single entity. Mandela never believed in ethnicity and pluralism to be the drivers of revolution and African democracy hence; freedom in Africa. As a substitute, Mandela believed in equality of people whether Black, White or Negro. Perhaps this is the reason why he fought tirelessly to work with all South Africans irrespective of their ethnic or tribal backgrounds in the African congress structure (ANC).
The idea of national liberty exhibited by many African states is a clear indication of freedom in Africa and tribute belongs to Nelson Mandela for this beneficial ideology. Even after becoming President, many people around the world expected him to revenge but instead, Mandela continued to press for equality among every person living in South Africa whether Black, White, Jew, Indian or native. it is this particular sensibility that has made Mandela an international figure respected all over the world. (Meredith, 1998, pp. 8-37).
Nelson Mandela championed the freedom of Africans to get sound education. The colonial powers prohibited Africans from attending schools in order to receive education. Moreover, colonial masters denied Africans, the accessibility to information and learning fearing for further opposition of their prejudices and privileges. However, Mandela might have received part of his education during the 27 years he spent in jail. Today, many Africans albeit poverty, attend schools to get education and access information.
Additionally, some African governments offer free basic education to its civilians to create awareness within social, economic and political ladders. For years now, education has been a key figure in uniting Africans who fall in ethnic and racial divides. Nevertheless, the learning of one common language like English has made communication among Africans smooth hence, social development.
Today, African counties experience freedoms ranging from civil to political human rights. Democracy that was once a culture of western counties, currently exhibit in many African countries. Although some sub-Saharan counties experience internecine conflicts over resources, dictatorship and stolen elections, democratization is still taking roots in Africa. Nelson Mandela championed freedoms in Africa because, Africans can understand their own problems hence, solve them amicably without relying on western counties.
South Africans fought to obviate oppression hence and instead achieve freedom for all. Nevertheless, African counties need to personify their leadership modalities to avoid domestic feuds like the one experienced in Nigeria and Kenya in the recent times. The road to freedom is not an easy one just like many Africans thought. Just on the way, there are many obstacles like segregation, murder, police extra judicial killings, greed for power and racial segregation. However, with determination, Africans achieved freedom they enjoy today.
Decalo, S. (1992). The Process, Prospects and Constraints of Democratization in Africa. Journal of African Affairs, 91(362), 7–35.
Gready, P. (1993). Autobiography and the ‘power of writing’: political prison writing in the apartheid era. Journal of Southern African Studies, 19(3), 489-523.
Mandela, N. (1990). No easy walk to freedom. (2nd ed.). Oxford: Heinemann Educational Publishers.
Melber, H. (2006). Where There’s No Fight for It There’s no Freedom. Journal of Contemporary African Studies, 24(2), 261-278.
Meredith, M. (1998). Nelson Mandela. A Biography. New York: St. Martin’s Press.
Richardson, H. (1978). Self-determination, International Law and the South African Bantustan Policy. Journal of Transnational Law, 17, 185-219.
Nelson Mandela’s Use of Power Essay
The dark struggle in South Africa saw many black people suffer at the hands of the immigrants—white settlers. In order to combat the situation and forge the path to freedom, majority of native South Africans came together to form an organization known as the African National Congress (ANC). ANC became the vehicle of promoting the interests of black South Africans who felt that the white populations had leaped more than what they sowed.
Additionally, the architects of ANC thought that this was the weapon to combat apartheid and bring civility in the new administration of South Africa. In 1944, Nelson Mandela joined ANC and started participating in its activities. He endured many torrid moments including being imprisoned for almost 27 years. However, in 1994, Nelson Mandela became the first black president of South Africa. This article discusses Nelson Mandela’s use of power.
During all his struggles, Nelson Mandela understood very well the needs and desires of the people. He believed in the ideology that all men are equal and should not be discriminated against any form. This was the main reason why he always refused to abandon his political beliefs for political freedom.
Not even prison would stop Nelson Mandela from achieving his ambitions. Today, Nelson Mandela is known across the globe for his struggle, and what he did during the apartheid era in South Africa. The man who spent his entire life fighting for the rights of his people became the symbol of struggle not only to black South Africans, but also the entire world. The use of his power is also another thing that has caught the attention of the world (Guiloineau, 2002, pp. 10-26).
Nelson Mandela was the unifying factor in the post-apartheid era pitting black South Africans and the white populations. Although many white populations feared that Nelson Mandela would retaliate against them, he chose otherwise.
He promised to uphold the constitution—something he did. Nelson Mandela did not use his power to benefit himself; instead, he devoted his presidency in serving the republic of South Africa and its citizens. Apartheid became a thing of the past even, as the black South Africans became free in their own country. It is true that Nelson Mandela suffered so much in the hands of the white minority rule, but after becoming president, transformative power, reconciliation, and tolerance became the pillars of his administration.
He was a man who understood what power means, and he always devoted his time to ensure peaceful coexistence among all South Africans. He taught the world the meaning of humanity, by besieging people to live and see each other as equals. In fact, Nelson Mandela used his power to show the world how justice and tolerance overpowers even the greatest of cruelties.
He used his power to combat racism and other racial related vices that had taken roots in South Africa. Mandela knew very well that by eliminating such vices, people will live harmoniously thereafter. Indeed, this was a show of humility, resilience and tolerance. Mandela led sustained movements in order to promote and protect the rights of all South Africans. Consequently, many South Africans felt secure in an equal society. He took various strides to eliminate discrimination and set the path of justice and equality.
Through his presidency, discrimination of the base of ethnicity, race and even sexual orientation, all became a thing of the past. He used his power to promote education for all, cultural exchanges, ambient public service, and many more fundamental freedoms. Just like Nelson Mandela, many of the current world leaders can lead sustained efforts to promote cohesion; tolerance, equality, and justice for all just like what Mandela did (Mandela, 1996, pp. 23-47).
Guiloineau, J., Rowe, J. (2002). Nelson Mandela: the early life of Rolihlahla Mandiba. Berkeley, California. North Atlantic Books.
Mandela, N. (1996). The Illustrated Long Walk to Freedom. Paul Duncan (abridgement and picture editing). Boston: Little Brown and Company.
Role Model: Nelson Mandela Essay
Nelson Mandela was born in 1918 at Qunu. Mandela is widely known for his charismatic leadership skills. His political career ambitions started while at university when he realized the unjust nature in which the African society was. The blacks were denied the due chances both economically and politically. This disappointed Nelson Mandela which triggered his ambitions to join politics to fight for his people.
Throughout his leadership period, Nelson Mandela demonstrated excellent leadership skills which went beyond the political role. He committed his whole life fighting for the rights of the South Africans who suffered from discrimination. As a political activist, Nelson Mandela fought for his people which led him to be a political prisoner. Nelson Mandela struggled until he became the first black president of South Africa. These achievements by Nelson Mandela make him qualify to be one of the greatest men who have ever lived in history.
Fight against Apartheid (Discrimination)
Mandela’s early days in politics coincided with very high levels of apartheid in South Africa. Mandela was very disappointed by the system since it was characterized by high levels of discrimination (Glad & Blanton, 1997). Apartheid was the main vice in South Africa which incited Mandela to engage in endless struggles.
Mandela has been imprisoned for about thirty years for opposing apartheid system in South Africa (Ryan, 2011). During the apartheid system, the whites oppressed the blacks through their discriminative policies. In 1944, Nelson Mandela became an active leader of the American National Congress (ANC). This was just his first move to fight for the people’s freedom.
South Africa’s apartheid system was one of the worst racism and discrimination scenarios that have ever taken place in the world. However, Mandela managed to oppose the system courageously and persistently despite of the threats by the white leaders (Lieberfeld, 2003).
Therefore, Mandela has shown excellent and selfless leadership which cannot be found in many leaders. Most leaders are driven by their own benefits but Mandela was determined to undergo any torture for the sake of his people. Through the African National Congress party, Mandela was determined to undergo any form of suffering for the sake of the South Africans blacks who were facing a lot of suffering at the hand of apartheid.
Political Activist (African National Congress)
In most cases, many political parties in Africa which fought for the rights of the blacks were characterized by violent activities. Therefore, it was expected that Mandela’s political party (ANC) would be even more violent bearing in the mind the extent to which apartheid had reached in South Africa. However, Mandela’s movement was characterized by non-violent protests. However, the younger nationalists became discouraged because of lack of progress in the initial stages (Ryan, 2011).
Together with his colleagues, Mandela believed that incorporating violence in their activities would trigger police’s brutality and this would bring suffering to South African blacks (Glad & Blanton, 1997). In case they engaged in violent activities, they new that the white leaders would take that opportunity to finish their people.
This was the main reason why they refrained from engaging themselves in violent demonstrations. According to Lieberfeld (2003), Mandela demonstrated peace in every step he made. His struggle against apartheid in earlier days was characterized by peace.
Mandela was one of those kinds of leaders who never gave up. He was rarely intimidated by any resistance to make his moves. He persistently moved forward. For instance, later on after joining ANC, Mandela decided to join the African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL) (Ryan, 2011). This is because ANC was making very little progress during that time. Due to his thirst to save his people from the chains of apartheid, Mandela joined this party as it was more vibrant than ANC. This group was composed of the members of ANC who were more militant.
In 1949, ANCYL organized strikes and boycotts across the country (Ryan, 2011). These actions were directed to force for changes in policies which oppressed the Africans in South Africa. In 1951, Nelson Mandela was elected as the head of this political party in the country. Soon after being elected the leader of this group, Mandela initiated a Defiance campaign which was aimed at triggering a massive resistance towards discriminative policies. This was his next move after their initial moves yielded little results.
Due to his perpetual resistance to the prevailing system and organizing of boycotts and strikes, Mandela was arrested in 1952 (Ryan, 2011). However, Mandela won that time as his sentence was suspended some time later.
However, he was neither allowed to attend any public gathering nor attend ANC meetings. These restrictions were aimed at minimizing his interactions with the public to avoid further incitation. However, Mandela’s journey did not stop hear as many would have thought. This encounter just boosted her determination to pursue his goals.
To defend the people who were persecuted in the apartheid system, Mandela opened a law which defended the convicts. Later, Mandela and some other leaders were charged of treason. This case was later dropped. However, most of Mandela’s time was wasted as he was sometimes forced to make many appearances before the court. Despite of these commitments, Mandela still continued to fight four the equality in South Africa.
On realizing that non-violent resistance was not yielding any positive results, Mandela decided to adopt violence in his fight against apartheid. For instance, sixty nine people were killed while resisting for anti apartheid rule which restricted the movement of the blacks in South Africa.
This incident made Mandela to change his strategy of non-violent resistance to more harsh reaction. This is because the rate of discrimination was rising even after their efforts instead of falling. In connection to this, ANC commenced adopting armed resistance (Ryan, 2011).
After the banning of their party, Mandela with the support of other leaders formed an underground group. Through this group, Mandela and his colleagues targeted any official symbol of Apartheid and the government in their targets through sabotage. On seeing the extent to which apartheid had reached in South Africa, Nelson Mandela decided to travel across the African countries and Europe to seek support as well as learning the tactics of guerilla warfare (Ryan, 2011).
Therefore, Mandela realized the importance of the support from other countries in his struggle against apartheid (Glad & Blanton, 1997). Unfortunately, Mandela was arrested soon after going back to his country after completing his mission. He was charged for his involvements with the underground group and for moving out side the country without a legal prescription. This cost, Mandela five years in prison.
Despite of these sufferings which Mandela underwent during his struggle against discrimination towards the black South Africans, his stand was never shaken. During his trial, Mandela confirmed not to be intimidated by anything from his fight against apartheid (Ryan, 2011). He also explained the main aims of the newly formed group Umkhonto we Sizwe. Mandela together with his group narrowly escaped execution during these trials (Ryan, 2011). However, they were given a life imprisonment.
In 1964, Mandela was sent to Robben Island where he was supposed to spend the rest of his life according to the judgment. Later, he was kept confined alone in fear that he will intimidate his colleagues. All this suffering never shook Mandela’s ambitions. His people went to the extent of referring to him as a silent suffering martyr (Ryan, 2011).
Road to Freedom and Accomplishments
Later in 1984, negotiations for Mandela’s release started on condition that he will allow reallocation of South African blacks to specific places. However, Mandela rejected all these offers. This displays a strong character of determined and selfless leader who was ready to sacrifice himself for the sake of his people. This clearly shows that Mandela was not after any material gain in his struggle for equality.
Under the pressure of the international community and the black South Africans, the head of the National Party F.W. de Klerk softened his stand (Ryan, 2011). Restrictions on ANC were lifted and most laws which were discriminative were dissolved. After continued pressure, Mandela was released in 1990.
Soon after being released, Mandela continued with his fight for freedom. He was engaged in negotiations with de Klerk form ma democratic government. In 1993, Mandela was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize (Ryan, 2011). This was just three years after being released.
Through Mandela’s efforts, South African got the first chance to vote freely without impediments which mostly favored the whites. Mandela was finally elected the president of South Africa in 1994 under the ANC party. On becoming, the president of South Africa, Mandela came up with strategies to unite people and also released those imprisoned during the apartheid system through amnesty (Ryan, 2011).
From there, Mandela has received various awards for his good work to the community. For instance, he received Presidential Medal of Freedom from the former United States president Bush. Mandela was also determined in the fight against AIDs as well as care for the AIDs victims.
Summary and Conclusion
From this discussion, it can clearly be seen that Mandela is really a leader to be emulated. Throughout his leadership, he has demonstrated courage, humility, patience, perseverance, and determination, a combination of character traits which is very rare in many leaders. He persistently fought against discrimination in South Africa despite of the difficulties he faced. Mandela faced police brutality and imprisonment for about thirty years but was never discouraged from pursuing his goals.
This discussion has also indicated that Mandela opted for violence after the peaceful demonstrations proved futile. This indicates that he was a humble reader who looked beyond the leadership boundaries. He considered every move he made taking into consideration the end results. Although he had the power to use violence from beginning of his struggle, he avoided that.
Mandela’s leadership teaches us that one should never be discouraged from pursuing his or her goals despite of the conditions through which they pass. We should also not lose hope for whichever time period this may take. Mandela spent many years in jail but he never buried his hope.
Glad, B. & Blanton, R. (1997). F.W. de Klerk and Nelson Mandela: a study in cooperative transformational leadership. Presidential Studies Quarterly, Vol. 27, 1997.
Lieberfeld, D. (2003). ‘Nelson Mandela: Partisan and Peacemaker.’ Negotiation Journal. Volume 19, Number 3, 229-250, DOI: 10.1023/A:1024629628402
Ryan, J. (2011). Nelson Mandela. Nelson Mandela (Great Neck Publishing), 1. Web.
Heroes – Nelson Mandela Essay
Mandela was born on July 18, 1918 and died on December 5, 2013 following a recurring lung infection. The renowned world figure finally succumbed to his illness at the age of 95 years, marking the end of a long illustrious political life. Apart from his praiseworthy political life, Mandela was also known for his unwavering desire to fight for human freedom not only in his home country, but in the entire world.
During his active years, Mandela was a truly great leader who always dedicated his life for the service of humanity (Kalungu-Banda, 2006). In fact, his leadership qualities would transcend the borders of culture, race, and language among other social factors. There is no doubt that Mandela’s bold and exemplary achievements in life really changed the world, thus making him a real hero of many people.
From the days he was constantly involved in the struggle against apartheid through the many years he served in prison, Mandela has succeeded to change the world in many ways. For example, he was not ready to let anything stand between him and his strong will to fight for the freedom of his people.
Mandela was a great man who never gave up on seemingly impossible ideals, and for that reason, nothing would make him change his principles (Bolman & Deal, 2006). His dedication and commitment was beyond personal interests, and this can be observed in his outright rejection of Botha’s decision to offer him conditional amnesty in 1985.
The amnesty was offering Mandela freedom from prison, but on the condition that he should stop being resistive of the law. Mandela simply felt that, by accepting the offer he would be betraying his enduring principles and what he had been fighting for over the years. Instead, Mandela chose to remain behind the bars for the rest of his life and by putting his feet down in defense of his people’s rights, his long struggle would finally grant South Africans their freedom.
Mandela was also known for his exemplary acts of humility, the one aspect which enabled him to achieve most of his goals in life. His whole life was based on real selfless dedication of service to humanity. Throughout his entire resistance on the evils of apartheid, Mandela used negotiation as an alternative to armed and violent resistance.
Even though this approach had slowed down the process of granting South Africans their rights, it was the most ideal approach for Mandela in his quest for freedom for all people. Mandela’s unique collaborative instincts helped him to conquer many obstacles in his long journey to freedom. In fact, this great son of Africa knew how to give others his full attention and leverage their insights before giving his opinion (McDonough & Zeldis, 2002).
Mandela’s humility was also manifested through his willingness to forgive those who had wronged him and his desire to come into reconciliation with those he had clashed with. More importantly, even though Mandela liked giving credit to others, he has always refused to take credit for his own achievements. No doubt, this is one of the highest degrees of humility that can be expected from a human being.
Mandela was the first and probably the last moral authority that Africa would ever have. In fact, modern global leadership lacks the moral authority he displayed in numerous occasions as a leader.
What may be the peak of Mandela’s moral authority was seen in 1994, when he refused to stand for another term as the first black president of South Africa even when it was clear that the people were willing to re-elect him (Goldsmith, Lyons & McArthur, 2012). This was a very remarkable gesture that would hardly be expected to come from a continent such as Africa where leaders are known for their tendency to apply every possible tactic to remain in power.
This was a clear indication that Mandela’s long struggle was not based on the greed for power, but simply on his selfless desire to ensure that freedom was restored to the people of South Africa. Mandela (2003) claimed that, “South African has finally achieved its political emancipation and that never again shall oppression be experienced in the land”.
As it is shown in this paper, there is no doubt that Mandela has helped to change the world through his illustrious leadership style. His selfless commitment and dedication to fight for the freedom of his country has continued to serve as a great inspiration for many people across the world (Lodge, 2003).
For these reasons, the countless facts about Mandela’s private and public life offer great lessons to modern leaders, thus helping to transform the world into a better place. In fact, it is for these reasons why I will always see Mandela as my hero in life.
Bolman, L., & Deal, T. (2006). Battles and beliefs rethinking the roles of today’s leaders. Leadership in action, 26(4), 3-7.
Goldsmith, M., Lyons, L., & McArthur, S. (2012). Coaching for Leadership: Writings on Leadership from the World’s Greatest Coaches. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Kalungu-Banda, M. (2006). Leading Like Madiba: Leadership Lessons from Nelson Mandela. Cape Town: Juta and Company Ltd.
Lodge, T. (2003). Politics in South Africa: From Mandela to Mbeki. Cape Town, South Africa: New Africa Books.
Mandela, N. (2003). Nelson Mandela: from freedom to the future: tributes and speeches. Cape Town, SA: Jonathan Ball Publishers.
McDonough, Y., & Zeldis, M. (2002). Peaceful Protest: The Life of Nelson Mandela. Bloomsbury USA: Walker and Company.
Global Leadership – Mandela: a Biography Essay
Nelson Mandela remains to be a role model to many, because of his courage and endurance during his struggle against racism. Through his unwavering courage and good leadership, he was able to terminate apartheid that was very rampant in South Africa and create a country where people are treated equally without segregation on the basis of one’s color.
Many scholars have written a lot about this African hero. One such person is Martin Meredith, who has also written about other African leaders like Robert Mugabe. His biography about Mandela is one of the most recent and exemplary works to be produced about this leader. Meredith follows up and writes down the most significant events in Mandela’s life. He tries to do this as accurately as possible. His work has attracted a lot of praise as well as criticism from different quarters.
The book “Mandela: A Biography”
This is one of the well written books which talk about the life and struggles of the African leaders. In the book, Meredith chooses to focus on Nelson Mandela, one of most famous African leaders. He narrates in details the events of his life from childhood to the period he enters into politics, in a bid to free his country from the vice of apartheid and the consequences of this choice he makes in life. Achieving his dream does not come as easily as he probably thought during the initial stages of this struggle. It costs him a lot in life.
For example, he is separated from his family for a long duration of time while in prison. The suffering that his family goes through is depicted by his young son, Thembi, who asks, ‘where does daddy live?’ This happened around 1950 when Thembi was five years and he only saw his father occasionally.
Mandela is not afraid to lose his private life and sacrifices much of it for the sake of seeing his country freed from apartheid and other vices that were oppressing the citizens of South Africa. He shows a lot of courage even while in prison as stated by Meredith (p 288). Mandela together with other prisoners never did anything to show signs of weaknesses. This is an example the strengths of this leader.
One of the weaknesses that the author points out is his blind belief in his wife, Winnie’s, innocence despite it being clear that she was involved in criminal activities (Meredith p 442). He firmly affirms his belief despite being absent during her trial.
Having heard a lot about this African hero, the book serves as an eye opener to me concerning the many things I never knew about Mandela. It is amazing to learn the perseverance that he shows through all the struggles and more surprising is the fact that he is not bitter with his political enemies, even after he is out of prison. He exhibits a forgiving heart, unlike many people who go through such experiences.
I would recommend this book to anyone who desires to understand Mandela better because; it is the events in his life that have shaped him to be who he is. The book is also resourceful to anyone who would like to understand the modern day South Africa. Lastly, the book offers a lot of insights and valuable lessons in life when one is going through the various stages in life.
A summary of the main developments and themes in the book
In the book “Mandela: A Biography”, the author, Meredith, narrates the story of Mandela together with that of the nation of South Africa. The stories range from the history of an ethnic group called ‘Xhosa’ and their way of life during the 19th century and the emergence of the concept of nationalism in Africa.
The various stages of development of major towns such as Johannesburg together with the impacts that the communist party had on the people, are also part of Meredith’s great work. According to Meredith, it is hard to separate the story of the country South Africa with that of the leader Nelson Mandela.
This is because their stories are closely interwoven. He explains in details Mandela’s life from when he started his carrier as a barrister to the period when he ventured into anti apartheid campaigns. As a result, his life changed drastically when he was sentenced to life imprisonment.
Despite this tragic turn of events, Meredith notes that his work did not stop. The campaigns he had started on continued to be done by his supporters, through a movement called the ‘Free Mandela Movement’. His wife, Winnie Mandela, was also an active participant in these campaigns.
Mandela’s life is full of incidents worth noting. His participation in the African resistance Movement and the subsequent trials are just some of the many incidents that characterize his life. Mandela was also an active participant in protests against the apartheid regime and the breach of human rights that this system led to.
During his struggle against the injustice upon the people because of apartheid, another problem emerged. This was the problem of a black middle class, which was not there before. This worsened the problem of class discrimination, whereby the poor remained poorer and did not benefit much from this struggle for emancipation. This biography is very rich in information that Meredith has researched in depth and also his personal view of this leader.
Meredith’s book is the only full-scale biography about Mandela, which explains the hardships that this leader has gone through. Traumatic events including his imprisonment in the Robben Island and the transfer from the Island to Pollsmoor in 1982 are all captured in the book. However, what emerges clearly is the courage that Mandela faces all these struggles with.
Meredith takes his time to write an in depth analysis of Mandela’s life from his childhood to the time he is engaged in political struggles. In the process, he reveals Mandela’s strengths and weaknesses because he details not only his works but also his personality. His love life, his past mistakes and how they haunt him during and after he leaves office are all described in details.
These incidents also help to keep the book interesting and bring out the amazing journey undertaken by this African icon in his life and the ways in which he failed and also succeeded. His vehement affirmation against Winnie’s involvement in any criminal acts brings out one of his weaknesses.
This is because he is quoted to have said, ‘my faith in her has been fully vindicated’ (Meredith, p442). Despite being absent from the court proceedings during her trial, he firmly asserts that his wife, Winnie, was not aware of the presence of a stranger at the back of their house.
Lessons from the book
Reading this biography was an enjoyable experience to me, specifically because of Meredith’s unprejudiced opinion about Mandela’s life. He is not afraid to point out his shortcomings both in his leadership and his role in the family. This is unlike many writers, who portray renowned leaders in a superficial way. The leaders are often portrayed as super humans, who lack any weaknesses and who do everything in a perfect manner. This presentation of such leaders is often misleading and lacks credibility.
This biography, however, steers clear from such presentation, which brings more credibility to his biography. Learning about his shortcomings does not however, change my view of this Mandela as being a great leader and an activist who is very courageous.
This book is a must read for anybody who is interested in understanding the modern South Africa. The book explores Mandela’s life from the time he held a strong belief that Africans were the ones supposed to lead his country alone without interference from those from another race. He viewed the other races with a lot of suspicion and lack of trust and responded violently to any attempts by them to gain control over the blacks.
This, however, does not remain so forever because, after his release from prison, Mandela becomes the leader of all races and is comfortable with the races co-existing harmoniously. He does not harbor feelings of revenge and calls for a united South Africa. This depicts a humble man, with a forgiving heart and ready to lead his country by example. It is no wonder that he has become a role model to many people not only in his country but also globally.
Meredith also notes that, Mandela had a unique way of relating with people. He is a man who is more comfortable when around strangers than when he is with the people one would consider as his friends.
How the book validates the concept of culture and leadership
Dealing with issues of culture in leadership is often a tiresome and a hard task, according to Connerley and Pedersen (p 2). Consequently, most of the leaders choose to pay no attention to culture in a bid to avoid dealing with the enormous burden that comes with it when one tries to handle it as a leader.
However, Connerley and Pedersen (p 2) suggest that this should not be so because ‘…leaders need to acknowledge their own cultural baggage as they understand the importance of gaining awareness of culture’ (Connerley and Pedersen, P 2). Overlooking culture is further compared to a person driving a car but along the way, they decide to remove their hands from the steering wheel and expect to get them to their intended destination.
Connerley and Pedersen (p 2) say that such a person should not expect to reach where they were going because the vehicle is going to move to a direction that the driver did not intend. Integration of culture in leadership is therefore an important aspect.
Multiculturalism should be embraced by every leader if they intend to achieve cohesion of the people in the society they are leading. Nelson Mandela is an example if a leader who believed in multiculturalism during his tenure as the president of South Africa. He ensured that every citizen was treated fairly and enjoyed their rights as citizens of South Africa.
Another aspect in relation to Nelson Mandela and his leadership that validates the concept of culture and leadership is pointed out by Meredith (409). He states that Mandela goes through hardships in an attempt to free his people from any form of injustices meted on them during the era of apartheid.
Due to this, Mandela is seen as a leader who is fighting for multiculturalism and is against separation. Separation is defined by Connerley and Pedersen (P 4) as ‘rejecting all cultural values except your own’ (Connerley and Pedersen, P 4). He is not ready to give up until he sees his country become a place where all the races are able to live together in peace and without any form of oppression or discrimination on the basis of ones color.
Meredith (409) further notes that as a result of Mandela’s whole hearted involvement in fighting for what he believes in, the family suffers and is expose to lack of security that the father in the family offers.
His ability to forget what lay behind and move on with life after serving his jail term and taking the presidential seat is also incredible. Speaking of his sunset years after retiring, Mandela is quoted to have said, ‘it becomes important, the older you get, to return to places where you have wonderful recollections’ (Meredith, p 1).
Nelson Mandela is an example of a selfless leader who put the interest of others before his own. His struggle to achieve what he believes in is an example of how nothing is impossible if one holds on to their dreams. Meredith has effectively captured the events that have contributed in shaping the life of this hero, without leaving out his weaknesses.
Connerley, Mary and Pedersen, Paul. Leadership in a diverse and multicultural environment: developing awareness. London: Sage Publications Limited, 1992.
Meredith, Martin. Mandela: A Biography. New York: PublicAffairs, 2010.
Leadership Styles: Nelson Mandela and Margaret Thatcher Essay
Currently, our societies are in need of visionary and inspiring leaders. For the world to overcome its current challenges such as economic chaos, terrorism, and social injustices, the world leaders should motivate people through actions rather than words.
This implies that the world leaders should not only strive to meet the needs of their people, but also strive to be beacons of hope in their societies by enhancing justice, fairness, caring for the less fortunate and allowing love to flourish within our societies.
The need for transformational leadership in our governments and institutions is evident from the current leadership wrangles. In our business organizations, increases in staff turnover cases imply that our institutions are in need of transformational leaders.
In history, Nelson Mandela is viewed as a transformational leader. Unlike other historical leaders, when Mandela was the President of South Africa he treated all genders, races, tribes, and ages equally.
When he was the president, he managed to unite his country, which was once considered the most polarized country in the world during the apartheid. On the other hand, Margaret Thatcher is considered one of the best female leaders who portrayed transactional leadership skills in Britain’s history.
Before South Africa attained its independence, Mandela was one of the black South Africans who were championing for the country’s independence from the British colonials. His transformational leadership style was evident way back when he was the leader of a freedom movement fighting to end apartheid in South Africa (Lodge 2006, p. 3).
Notably, as a leader of a freedom movement Mandela aimed at championing for an equal society where people could be treated fairly regardless of their race, colour, religion, or nationality. During the apartheid, the white South Africans were undermining the black and the coloured South Africans in every sector.
To put an end to these injustices, Mandela and his fellow friends risked their lives for the benefit of all by campaigning for equality in their societies. For several years, Mandela managed to escape traps from British authorities who were determined to arrest him for his actions.
When Mandela was finally captured and imprisoned by the British soldiers, he never stopped campaigning for justice in the South African society. His transformational leadership was tested during one of his trials.
During this trial, Mandela never denied the charges he was accused of despite knowing that if he was going to be found guilty he was going to be sentenced to death. These acts prove that he was committed to ending injustices in South African society no matter the cost.
When Mandela was finally released from prison, he became the president of South Africa in the year 1994. After becoming the president, several white government officials who had worked for the previous regime were expecting to be replaced from their offices. To their surprise, Mandela never replaced them.
Instead, Mandela worked with these officials amicably regardless of their past political positions. Even though the whites had mistreated the blacks and the coloured by offering them limited opportunities during the apartheid, Mandela’s administration choose to treat every South African equally regardless of their past.
By these acts, his leadership inspired several South Africans on the need to have a just society where everyone could be treated equally.
Similarly, during his presidency Mandela was able to inspire several South African athletes and footballers. For instance, when a South African boxer by the name Matlala defeated an American Boxer he found time to visit the boxer in his home and congratulated him. After the visit, the boxer was inspired and determined to win every match in honour of Mandela.
During one of the international matches where South Africa was preparing to play against an international team, Mandela walked into the changing room wearing a jersey similar to one of the footballers named Mark. In the dressing room, Mandela exchanged his jersey with the player.
During and after the match, the player was impressed knowing that his fascinating skills had caught the attention of Mandela. Through these acts, Mandela proved to be a transformational leader.
Before her resignation, Margaret Thatcher leadership style offered numerous people with valuable lessons in power and management (Thatcher & Dale 2010, p. 4). During her leadership, Thatcher proved that indeed she was a transactional leader.
Just like Britain’s greatest industrial leaders such as Collins Marshall and John Harvey Jones, Thatcher brought radical economical changes in Britain through her effective managerial skills (Eagly & Carli 2007, p. 67). It is alleged that when she was in power all Thatcher ever wanted was to restore British former power in the world dominance.
In general, through her leadership Thatcher managed to tackle economic stagnation issues, unemployment, and inflation issues. She managed to achieve these by transforming business institutions towards greater competitiveness, production, and technological advancement.
As a transactional leader, Thatcher was not after changing Britain’s future but rather keeping it the way it were. Since her early political career in the early 1950s, Thatcher had always been a conservative politician. As a conservative, she opposed several laws that she deemed as contradicting the society values.
For instance, in the year 1964 she represented her conservative party in urging the government to allow the tenants to purchase the council houses. Her conservatism became notable when she supported the Leo Abse’s Bill. This bill was meant to criminalize homosexuality within British territories.
Similarly, during the year 1966 she represented her party in opposing the labour laws that were meant to control prices and incomes. According to her arguments, these laws were going to destroy the country’s economy. Likewise, during the year 1966 she opposed the government’s high-tax plans.
Thatcher argued that lower taxes were the only incentives that could be offered to workers for them to work hard. As such, she believed that high-tax plans were communistic ideas rather than socialistic ideas.
When she became the prime minister in the year 1979, her transactional leadership skills became eminent. She was a strict supervisor and stressed on the significance of group performance. Notably, she became determined to reduce the power vested upon the trade unions.
She believed that trade unions posed great risks to a country’s democracy and economy. To reduce their power, Thatcher introduced a legislation, which was meant to regulate the trade unions. Out of these initiatives, several industrial strikes were witnessed across Britain.
Her strictness on performance was witnessed when she closed down more than 20 state-owned mines owing to their poor performance. Owing to this, several mineworkers lost their jobs leading to national strikes.
During the strikes, Thatcher refused to be undermined by the trade union leaders. In the year 1982, she declared that strikes were prohibited in Britain. Later on, Thatcher resigned as a prime minister when her policies and transactional leadership skills became obsolete.
Through her leadership styles, Thatcher was able to motivate several women leaders. Before her premiership, women were considered ineffective for such post.
However, when she ascended to power several women became convinced that they could achieve the same status in the community just like their male counterparts. In history, Thatcher will always be remembered for her exceptional leadership skills, which enabled her to conquer and rule the male dominated field (Billing 2011, p. 15).
Based on the above analysis, it is evident that transformational leadership style is an ideal leadership trait as compared to transactional leadership style. Mandela managed to inspire and uplift the livelihoods of several individuals in South Africa and the world at large through his transformational leadership style. As opposed to Thatcher, Mandela made peace with his enemies regardless of the political past.
This was evident from the way he treated the white South Africans before and after he ascended to power in the year 1994. On the other hand, Thatcher made several enemies through her transactional leadership style. For instance, throughout her tenure as Britain’s prime minister she always differed with the labour unions.
Equally, as a prime minister she closed down several state-owned mines which were performing poorly. Through this move, several individuals lost their jobs adding to the number of her enemies. As evident from the two leaders, transformational leadership styles are admirable rather than transactional leadership styles because they allow executives to keep in touch with their followers (Rosener 1990, p. 124).
Billing, Y 2011, ‘Are Women in Management Victims of the Phantom of the Male Norm?’, Gender, Work and Organization, vol. 18 no. 3, pp. 1-20.
Eagly, A., & Carli, L 2007, ‘Women and the labyrinth of leadership’, Harvard Business Review, vol. 85 no.9, pp. 63-71.
Lodge, T 2006. Mandela: a critical life, Oxford University Press, Oxford.
Rosener, J 1990, ‘The command-and-control leadership style associated with men is not the only way to succeed’, Harvard Business Review, vol. 12 no.2, pp. 119 125.
Thatcher, M., & Dale, I 2010, Margaret Thatcher in her own words, Biteback, London.
Achievements of Nelson Mandela Research Paper
World leaders have hailed Nelson Mandela as “the greatest and most courageous leader of our generation”. In a life of personal surrender, Mandela dedicated himself to the resistance against apartheid in South Africa, a period that ended with the country’s first multi-racial elections on 27 April 1994.
During these elections, the Africa National Congress won with a landslide and, as the leader of the party, Nelson Mandela was installed as South Africa’s first Black President on 10 May 1994. He proceeded to form a Government of National Unity, before retiring after only one term of office in 1999.
Having fought so hard to secure the country’s freedom, many people expected him to cling to power like other African leaders but his decision to step down baffled both friend and foe alike. Well past 90 years now, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela continues to stand as an inspiration to people throughout South Africa, the African continent, and the world.
World leaders have hailed Nelson Mandela as “the greatest and most courageous leader of our generation” (BBC News). In a life of personal surrender, Mandela dedicated himself to the resistance against apartheid in South Africa, a period that ended with the country’s first multi-racial elections on 27 April 1994.
During these elections, the Africa National Congress won with a landslide and, as the leader of the party, Nelson Mandela was installed as South Africa’s first Black President on 10 May 1994. He proceeded to form a Government of National Unity, before retiring after only one term of office in 1999. Having fought so hard to secure the country’s freedom, many people expected him to cling to power like other African leaders but his decision to step down baffled both friend and foe alike (Joffe 272).
Indeed, Nelson Mandela is believed to have honed his leadership skills from a very tender age. While at the age of only 10 years, Mandela was appointed the chief counselor to the acting paramount chief of Thembuland, David Dalindyepo. The position, which was passed down to Mandela after the death of his father who had initially held the position, saw him being groomed as a future leader. In fact, political analysts believe that it was this grooming that led Mandela to become a great political leader in his later years (Mandela 4).
After the completion of his secondary education at Wesleyan High School, Mandela joined Fort Hare University College to pursue a Bachelor of Arts degree. After attaining his BA, he enrolled for a masters program in law. It was during his law years that the youthful Mandela made his initial forays into politics, joining the little known African National Congress. Upon joining the party, Mandela’s leadership skills were immediately recognized and he was elected as one of the party leaders.
Under the leadership of Anton Lambede, Mandela helped in transforming the ANC into a movement with a more radical agenda rooted in the principles of self-determination. Indeed, it was this self-determination principle adopted by Mandela and the entire ANC leadership that finally saw South Africa gain independence in 1994 (Guiloineau & Rowe 13).
During the 1950’s, Mandela opened the first South Africa’s black law-firm in Johannesburg thus earning himself the respect of the international community. In June 1964, Mandela along seven others was handed a life sentence for treason and was consequently imprisoned in the notorious Robben Island Prison.
Mandela was to remain on this island for 18 long years but the incarceration did not dampen his spirit or influence within South Africa. During his incarceration, Mandela rejected countless offers of freedom in return for acknowledging political compromises that would dismantle the apartheid system (Waldmeir 33).
In 1991, Mandela was released from prison and he immediately embarked on his earlier quest for a free South Africa. Two years later, the international community recognized his efforts by awarding him the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to free his country from colonial rule.
Three years after being released from detention, Mandela was elected as the first black South African president inheriting a country that had been polarized by many years of oppressive rule. Within the five years that he was in power, President Mandela oversaw the transition from minority rule thus gaining international admiration for his pursuit of national healing and reconciliation (Waldmeir 35).
Even after his retirement, Mandela has been on the forefront in trying to bring world leaders together to seek solutions to conflicts around the globe. Well past 90 years now, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela continues to stand as an inspiration to people throughout South Africa, the African continent, and the world.
BBC News. Mandela’s Life and Times, January 28, 2011. Web.
Guiloineau, Jean, & Rowe, Joseph. Nelson Mandela: The Early Life of Rolihlahla Madiba. London: North Atlantic Books, 2002. 13. Print.
Joffe, Joel. The State vs. Nelson Mandela. New York: One World Publications, 2007. 272-273. Print.
Mandela, Nelson. Long Walk to Freedom. Johannesburg: Little, Brown and Company, 1994. 4-5. Print.
Waldmeir, Patti. Anatomy of a Miracle: The End of Apartheid and the Birth of a New South Africa. London: Viking, 1997. 33-36. Print
Mandela’s Leadership Report
Mandela is one of the greatest leaders of the twentieth century. By the turn of the millennium, Mandela had become a household name because of his success in ending apartheid in South Africa. Not only did he successfully lead South Africa in the fight against apartheid, but he also united people of different races after he became President, and thereby prevented civil war in South Africa.
Mandela is also one of the most selfless leaders the world has ever seen. During his term in office, which ran until 1999, he never misused power. Instead, he sought to empower the masses by exemplifying cohesion.
He forgave his tormentors and urged the South African public to live in harmony with one another regardless of their race. After one term, he left office and became the first African leader to do so. His success as a leader can be attributed to the fact that he was a charismatic, transformative and democratic leader.
Nelson Mandela is indubitably a revolutionary leader. The transformative aspects of his leadership brought changes that are treasured by South Africa two decades after the country’s independence. He remarkably negotiated for the end of apartheid and persuaded the South African public to forgive each other and live in harmony despite their racial differences.
He left office after only one term as President, paving way for other leaders. Mandela never misused power while in office, a fact that explains why he never held to it in the first place. He used his power to better the lives of the public in South Africa and set an example of selfless leadership.
Mandela’s effectiveness in leadership can be attributed to his personal traits and decisive selection of good leadership styles. He is a charismatic and democratic leader. His leadership is also transformative in nature because he transformed the mindset of the public.
He ended apartheid, ushered in democracy and promoted a cohesive government, a feat that was seemingly unachievable during the years of apartheid. This paper analyses Mandela’s leadership styles and investigates his use of power.
Mandela’s leadership style and behaviour
In his fight against apartheid and during his advocacy for democracy, Mandela always used the charismatic leadership style. In leadership studies, charisma is defined as a quality that differentiates the person who possesses it from others, giving him/her unrivalled persuasive power (Dalglish & Miller 2010). Mandela’s charismatic leadership had a touch of democracy.
A democratic leader engages followers in discussions and encourages interactions among the followers with the aim of reaching consensus in decision making (Ripka 2007). It is however important to note that without certain traits, a leader cannot successfully adopt the charismatic and democratic styles of leadership. Charismatic leaders are particularly good in persuasion, speech and organizing (Rabinowitz 2013).
They are honest, open minded and they have good listening skills. Mandela was the kind of leader who could listen to an argument for hours without making a comment and later help the people involved to reach consensus. He “is legendary for listening to all sides of the argument, taking guidance and then offering his analysis” (Curnow 2011, p. 1).
He sometimes made proposals, which he gladly accepted as unfeasible if other people made him realise so. For instance, he once proposed voting age to be brought down to fourteen in South Africa. After public backlash on the proposal, he gave up on it. These are some of the qualities of a charismatic and democratic leader.
Mandela’s experiences in the hands of the minority government had made him synonymous with the anti-apartheid movement. He found himself being the unquestionable leader of anti-apartheid groups across South Africa.
In addition to this, Mandela was the symbolic leader of a myriad of liberation movements that were established during the fight against apartheid. He became the story through which people were made to understand the evil nature of apartheid (O’Fallon 2012). This status was a delicate affair for Mandela, who could have easily lost the confidence of the people if he adopted a poor leadership style.
However, Mandela is intelligent and he possesses a sociable charisma that enabled him to connect well with the masses as well as the oppressive administration. Mandela also believes in non-violence and thus “his weapons were those of persuasion not of guns and bolts.
He was not a revolutionary bent upon seizing power. His ambition was higher, to convince all South Africans to embrace reconciliation, fairness and learn to live in harmony” (Bray n.d., p. 1). Mandela used dialogue and consensus to solve issues. These are important aspects of any democracy, and the leader of the democracy must be good in nurturing them.
One of the reasons for Mandela’s success in leadership is his understanding of the fact that in South Africa, democracy could not be achieved without reconciliation. Additionally, he knew that justice was not achievable without peace. Mandela was ready to pursue whatever means to liberate the South African public, but being a wise man, he knew he had to follow Mahatma Gandhi’s example of non-violence.
Upon this realization, Mandela employed his political cunning, charm and farsightedness to achieve a dream for which he had been imprisoned for decades (Carlin 2013). This shows his charismatic leadership because he was able to control himself in order to realize his dream of a peaceful South Africa where people of different races lived together in harmony.
Mandela’s transformative and transactional leadership
Transformative aspects of Mandela’s leadership
Leaders are often encountered with the need to change the status quo. Some qualities are a must for transformative leaders. The first is charisma. The leader needs to “have vision and a sense of mission” (Dalglish & Miller, 2010, p. 140). The leader has the confidence, respect and loyalty of his/her followers. This kind of framework ensures that the transformative aspects of the leader are fully realized.
Mandela was such a leader. Mandela’s vision of “a beautiful South Africa” (Le 2009, p. 1) had profound effects on governance in South Africa. The vision actually resulted in a changed nation, after the Mandela influenced the public to share his vision. Transformative leadership is all about realizing change that has been envisioned before the realization (Shields 2010), and thus Mandela was rightfully a transformative leader.
Dalglish and Miller (2010) state that transformative leaders are more likely to be successful if they are inspirational. “Part of the inspiration derives from communicating a vision with fluency and confidence” (Dalglish & Miller 2010). By appealing to supporters and supporting them emotionally, a leader is able to inspire his/her supporters to exceed the expectations they initially had.
The leader must be a skilful communicator like Mandela was. Mandela was among the few leaders who are capable of inspiring audiences beyond their country. “Few others would have managed to unite the disparate warring parties and steer South Africa from what seemed to be the brink of civil war” (Nelson Mandela 2013, p. 1). The cohesive transformation brought by Mandela was one of his most remarkable accomplishments.
Lastly, transformational leaders offer personal attention to their followers and support them in the steps they take to realize their mission (McDowelle 2009). Mandela was such a leader.
While in prison, he devised new communication methods that helped in organizing for hunger strikes. The strikes led to better living conditions in the prison. However, the most transformative aspect of Mandela’s leadership was his leadership against apartheid, and the subsequent reconciliation.
Transactional aspects of Mandela’s leadership
In a transactional leadership, there is an exchange between the leader and followers (Lai 2011). The transaction does not have to be composed of pre-defined valuables, but rather the leader gets something he/she needs and his/her followers also get something they need. However, the transaction must be acceptable to both parties (Dalglish & Miller 2010).
In Mandela’s case, he offered the public with inspiration and vision, which turned them from ordinary to extra-ordinary. Mandela also saved South African masses from the polarization that had threatened their peace for long. He shared his vision of peace in multicultural communities and set an example not only to South Africans, but also to the world.
His Gandhi-inspired belief in non-violence has also been treasured by South Africans and the world because it is arguably the reason South Africa did not descend into civil war. The masses on the other hand, offered Mandela companionship in the fight against the apartheid government.
After election into office, the South African public offered Mandela unwavering support that increased his confidence and made him more determined to serve his country (Baale 2013).
Mandela’s use of power
The most remarkable aspect of Mandela’s leadership is perhaps his use of power for the good of the public, and his lack of greed for power. During the fight against apartheid, Mandela remarkably used his intellectual and political power to influence the administration until it gave him a chance to implement his vision of reconciliation, protection of property, protection of human rights and the rule of law.
This was accomplished after the minority government gave in to the demands for a democratically elected government in the year 1994. Instead of holding on to power after being elected President, Mandela sought to empower the public (Le 2009).
Mandela’s style of managing power is proof of his transformative leadership skills. Lowe, Kroech and Sivasubramaniam (1996, p. 407) state that a “transformational leader, through intellectual stimulation, instils feelings of power in followers to attain higher goals through socialized power rather than the pure charismatic leader who attempts to exert dominance and subjugate followers through personalized power”.
Mandela used his visionary power, charm and negotiation skills to win the confidence of the minority government, which eventually agreed to voluntarily give up power. Among his powers were expert and referent power that he utilized well as he led South Africa in the fight against apartheid.
Mandela was a trustworthy individual who could easily convince his opponents, both in political circles and in prison, to follow his ideals. He remarkably used his intellect and charm to negotiate with prison warders for better living conditions. After he won the subsequent 1994 elections with two-thirds of the votes, he used his power to reconcile the people who had previously been fighting, a step that led to worldwide peace efforts.
“Unlike dictators and so many populist Presidents, he left office after only one term. He showed no love for power, only a fearless commitment to the most noble of values, which he celebrated even in the most terrible of times” (Bray n.d., p. 1).
This decision has earned Mandela the respect of world leaders, as he showed no greed for power because he did not misuse power during his term in office. It is common knowledge that Presidents who hold on to power do so to protect themselves from prosecution for abuse of the power bestowed upon them.
Mandela’s knowledge and skills gave him influential power over South African populace. Mandela had graduated from the University with a degree in Law and he enjoyed political power because of his tenure as the ANC (African National Congress) leader. Mandela also enjoyed prestige power because he was a member of the South African elite before his political endeavours (Read 2010).
The aforementioned power would prove helpful to Mandela even in prison. As mentioned above, he used his political power in prison to rally support against poor living conditions (Le 2009). Mandela’s power management skills are arguably the reason he succeeded in leading South Africa against apartheid and in becoming the global icon he is today.
Mandela is arguably the greatest leader alive. He is famously known for leading the fight against apartheid in South Africa, and subsequently reconciling the public when he was elected President.
During his politicking days, Mandela showed transformative, democratic and charismatic leadership styles. He is a gifted individual who used his persuasive power to get the approval of both the public and the apartheid administration. Mandela is open minded, honest and a good listener.
These qualities made him a successful charismatic and democratic leader during the fight against apartheid. He is also confident and good in speech, qualities that indubitably make him the great leader he is. He remarkably encouraged people from different racial backgrounds in South Africa to live in harmony with each other, and thereby avoided a civil crisis.
He embraced his tormentors and encouraged the masses to emulate his forgiveness. He became synonymous with the struggle against apartheid because he was the central figure and the leader of the anti-apartheid movement. After serving only one term as President, Mandela handed over power, becoming the first African leader to do so.
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“Long Walk to Freedom” by Nelson Mandela Analytical Essay
In the fast developing world, advances and progress move countries and nations forward but at the same time, some things are left behind and become a burden for the people and evolution to better life conditions.
With particular reference to globalization there is a price that must be paid, in relation to nation’s leaders and citizens. Nelson Mandela gives an insight into civil matters through an autobiography titled “Long Walk to Freedom”.
One of the first accounts that Mandela has with the nation is when they “flew by helicopter to the First National Bank Stadium in Soweto”1. Even thought the world has taken a big step forward, people were still living in poor conditions.
This fact proves that globalization brings many more aspects of government and social life to a country and engulfs politics, culture and the general environment. Advances change the social lives of people and modernize many parts of it while leaving some matter unattended.
This happens in a way of people who are poor and unable to support themselves, cannot hope to receive more attention and better care, as the political aims of the government are targeted on the global market, international economics and relations.
After Nelson Mandela was released from prison and took on a tour of Africa, he wanted to give people a message of his support and determination to help create a new world with equal opportunities, proper education, absence of crime and discrimination2.
He states that “with changes in travel, communication, and mass media, the world had accelerated; things now happened so fast it was sometimes difficult to keep up with them”3. This is another confirmation of how the shift changes the world and increases the pace of social and cultural life.
People start living in a new world where communication and practicing of culture and traditions becomes allowed, yet there is little time for details and individual people.
As a leader of his people, Nelson Mandela understood that every issue pertaining to the lives of people and their prosperity must be addressed.
He speaks of how much poorer his village has gotten, whereas before it was simple and tidy but presently, the fast moving world has filled it with plastic that takes so long to deteriorate, polluted water and young children living amongst change, as a natural way of life4.
Globalization makes it extremely difficult for people’s issues to be resolved in a shortest amount of time but also, it is hard for the nation’s leaders to get into every corner of all communities.
The world has become smaller and people can enjoy more rights than previously but economics have become consuming for the countries. All the focus is tended towards security, global issues, control of people moving in and out of the countries and the ever-changing social fabric.
Migration has affected the African environment, making it diverse and giving people a chance to see other places.5 There is also a change in focus in the priorities the government sets up.
The increasing population puts more demands on the leader which requires adjustment of policies that are best suited for the modern time. The international affairs put strict criteria and guidelines on the political world and conduction of governing.6
An inevitable process of globalization has increased the pace of progress but has created more conditions that can become worse. People’s individual lives must be taken care of, so that the society feels strong and supported, in order for the nation to flourish.
Bell, Daniel. The Coming Of Post-industrial Society. United States: Basic Books, 2008.
Finlayson, Reggie. Nelson Mandela. United States: Lerner Publications, 2005.
Hamilton, Sara. Globalization. United States: ABDO, 2008.
Mandela, Nelson. Long Walk to Freedom. South Africa: Macdonald Purnell, 1995.
1 Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom (South Africa: Macdonald Purnell, 1995), 569.
2 Reggie Finlayson, Nelson Mandela (United States: Lerner Publications, 2005), 97.
3 Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom (South Africa: Macdonald Purnell, 1995), 573.
4 Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom (South Africa: Macdonald Purnell, 1995), 581.
5 Sara Hamilton, Globalization (United States: ABDO, 2008), 57.
6 Daniel Bell, The Coming Of Post-industrial Society (United States: Basic Books, 2008), 137.
“Nelson Mandela, Autobiography” Book Synthesis Essay
The book titled ‘Mandela: The Authorized bibliography’ was written by Sampson Anthony. The book was published by Knopf Doubleday Publishing group and was copyrighted in 2012, and the exclusive copyright belongs to the writer of the book who is Sampson Anthony.
In his book, the writer talks about Nelson Mandela early childhood life, and the struggle he underwent through until he became the president of the republic of South Africa.
He talks about Mandela’s prison life, education and the fight for independence and freedom in South Africa. He also talks about his release from the prison, and how he led various South Africans to attain independence.
In his book, the writer portrays Nelson Mandela as having various leadership characteristics and attributes.
The writer discusses several leadership skills and techniques that Mandela applied in order to obtain freedom in South Africa. The leadership styles discussed in the book include the following leadership skills:
Courage is not the absence of fear
Mandela states that most leaders have faced down fear, but it is during times of stress that the mettle of leadership is tested; this means maintaining the momentum in tough times, or, as Mandela explains, sometimes you must “put up a front” (Sampson, 2012).
A leader is that person who takes the initiative and is courageous enough to confront hard situations (Sampson, 2012).
Lead from the front
Mandela was always objective about his goals and used all the techniques that could help him achieve the objective it. In all his undertakings, he ensured that he did not leave his base behind. Richard Stengel describes Nelson Mandela as a historical man.
Mandela life in prison shaped his view about the leadership concept, where he viewed leaders as people who should lead by example. Mandela was a fore thinker who projected his thoughts in the future, he focused on the long term objectives and not short term objectives.
Lead from the back
The concept of leading from the back is contradictory from the concept of leading from the front. Mandela states that there come times when a leader has to lead from the back.
Suck an analogy is underpinned by the fact that the same way cattle are led from behind, individuals can also be led from behind too.
Know your enemy
Mandela states that the best way to lead is to know your enemy and identify their strongest and weakest points. Mandela states that understanding your opponent weakest and strongest point will assist an individual to come to a common ground in times of a conflict.
Mandela also points out that communication is also an important aspect in a leader. A leader should communicate effectively and efficiently in order to ensure that leadership is transparent and accountable.
Keep your friends close
Mandela states that another good leadership principle is to put your friends closer, and put your enemies even closer.
Mandela states that, in order for an individual to lead well, there should a distinct boundary for friendship ties. Friendship ties should not in one way or the other influence the decisions a leader makes.
Mandela states that the appearance of a leader really matters. How a leader present themselves both physically and the verbal approach is important. Leaders should be smart, and should a sense of public opinion that is beyond reproach.
Mandela states that the little things we do greatly define our public image. For example, how we treat other people, how we greet other people are some of the things that define our leadership skills in the public domain.
Nothing is black or white
According to Sampson (2012), Mandela states that, at one point in time, leaders are always presented with two options to choose from. Mandela states that, as a leader, an individual should consider the outcomes of the circumstance and not the tactics to be used in addressing the issue.
To quit is to lead
Mandela states that leaders should always back from poor performing projects. Mandela notes that not all the decisions made by leaders will be successful, and the best way to lead such situations is to take a step backwards (Sampson, 2012).
Mandela notes that, in order to win in some cases, and then leaders must concede to win. The fastest way to win is by taking a step backwards and coming out more energized and goal oriented.
The above leadership qualities and characteristics had nelson Mandela to be one of the greatest leader the world has ever experienced. Mandela was determined and focussed towards achieving a goal, which was that of liberating the South Africans from Apartheid.
He led with wisdom, and always embraced dialogue in time of conflicts. The above leadership skills and techniques also ensured that, Nelson Mandela led by example while, at the same time, ensuring that others follow in the same path as he did.
The above leadership skills to large extent helped the former South African leader to economically steer the country through the peaceful co-existence of people belonging to different races. For example, during his release from prison, Mandela gave a press conference regarding his release.
People expected that he would hate the whites who had imprisoned him, but Mandela did not express any hate sentiments towards the whites.
Instead, he embraced dialogue and concession with his enemies. This is evident in the manner the leader made some negotiations with the white to form the South African government.
The major crisis that Nelson Mandela encountered is the problem of solving the crisis that was being experienced in Nigeria. The crisis was caused by the annulment of the Nigeria election in June 1993.
After the annulment of the election, the General Sani Abacha of Nigeria arrested various political leaders and commanded for their execution. Abacha later executed nine political opponents from the ogoni community including the prolific writer, Ken saro-wiwa.
Mandela sought to use the quiet diplomacy method of leadership and solving conflicts.
Mandela sent Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and the deputy president Thabo Mbeki to go to Nigeria and lobby for the release of Obasanjo, and several other people who had been detained by the General Sani Abacha (Sampson, 2012).
The methodology failed, and Mandela was left with the option of lobbying for support from the Commonwealth of Nations.
As a leader, the situation could have been handled by lobbying for the international criminal court to arrest and issue a warranty of arrest for the General Sani Abacha for political crimes and human rights abuses.
In conclusion, the above leadership skills, techniques and methods are good and will always make individuals to be good leaders. However, in order to effectively be a good leader, an individual should use the appropriate leadership technique in the appropriate environment.
Sampson, A. (2012). Mandela: The authorized Biography. New York: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group.