Nelson Mandela and Leadership Essay

Decent Essays

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. …show more content…

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.” After his release from prison in 1990, he went to be elected the first black President of South Africa. The time in prison helped him to come to peace with himself and the people he was initially mad at; such as the South African Government.
“I always knew that deep down in every human heart, there is mercy and generosity … Even in the grimmest times in prison, when my comrades and I were pushed to our limits, I would see a glimmer of humanity in one of the guards, perhaps just for a second, but it was enough to reassure me and keep me going.”
(Long Walk to Freedom, Mandela, Nelson, 1995)

Nelson Mandela was an exceptional leader, as President he took South Africa to somewhere it had never been. He valued his time as President, because he knew his time was limited; often working days without a break. Each step of the way he took risks for the good of the people. When told he was ‘risking his political capital and his future as a leader’, he replied, “The day I am afraid to do that is the day I am no longer fit to lead.”

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