Nelson Mandela and Leadership

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Nelson Mandela was the man who abolished Apartheid, freeing South Africa from the binds of racial segregation forever. However, it was not an easy road and Mandela needed patience, strength of character, focus, passion, understanding, perseverance, and most importantly, forgiveness, to achieve this. For more than forty years, black South Africans were subject to the harsh racial segregation of the Apartheid system; despite making up over 70% of South Africa’s population, they had little to no rights.

Mandela had a vision for South Africa, of which he was incredibly dedicated. During his famous speech entitled ‘I am Prepared to Die’ (1964), he stated, "I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons will live together in harmony with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for, and to see realized. But my Lord, if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.”

Nelson Mandela was sent to prison in 1962 after the infamous Sharpeville Massacre, the result of a violent approach to equality. During the 27 years he was in prison, Mandela changed his approach to finding and keeping equality between the blacks and the whites of South Africa at the time, from violence to peaceful strategies. Mandela realized that peace and forgiveness was the only way to bring South Africa forward to greatness. “Forgiveness liberates the soul.

It removes fear.
That is why it is such a powerful weapon.” (Movie, Invictus, 2009) To find this better approach, Mandela ‘studied’ his white guards, and literature by white South Africans to understand their points of view. “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” He also studied constantly in prison and received the degree of Bachelor of Laws. The famous poem ‘Invictus’ (William Earnest Henley, 1888) also empowered him with the message of self-mastery....
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