Nelson Mandela’s Leadership Development

Nelson Mandela, the South African president, is famous for his exceptional leadership skills and advocacy for social issues and peace. Throughout lifetime of almost 100 years, the influential figure displayed a unique leadership style and abilities. His skills and achievements gained him recognition not only in Africa and in his home country of South Africa but all around the world. His life served as an example and inspiration for numerous political figures and civilians around the world due to his dedication to freedom, harmony, and the struggle to end racism.

Rolihlahla “Nelson” Mandela was born into the Madiba clan in Mvezo, a village in the Eastern Cape on the 18th of July 1918. Mandela was given his more known “Christian” name, Nelson, in primary school, as per tradition at the time (“Biography of Nelson Mandela,” 2022). From a young age, growing up with a father who was the principal counsellor to the Acting King, Mandela was politically inclined, striving towards the alleviation of the struggles of his people (“Biography of Nelson Mandela,” 2022). Later, Mandela was expelled from the University College of Fort Hare for participating in a student protest.

Mandela’s leadership style as a president and socio-political activist differed from the other African leaders. He combined the democratic and laissez faire styles without the autocracy (Garba & Akuva, 2020). Furthermore, he made use of the situational and contingent leadership styles, demonstrating a considerate attitude towards the interest of his people in the struggle against apartheid (Garba & Akuva, 2020). Mandela emphasized the need for collective efforts and giving the opportunity to take action to his own followers. His belief in his people, freedom, and justice, allowed Mandela to gain trust and loyalty of his people. It is important to learn about such influential leaders and take inspiration from them, to lead and to learn examples of real change that can be made.


Biography of Nelson Mandela. (2022). Nelson Mandela Foundation. Web.

Garba, D. & Akuva, I. I. (2020). The leadership styles of Nelson Mandela as a pattern for African leaders. Covenant University Journal of Politics and International Affairs, 8(1).

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