The Leadership of Nelson Mandela

Write about the leadership of Nelson Mandela on the abolishment of colonialism and apatheid system

The Leadership of Nelson Mandela




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The Leadership of Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela fought for freedom and equality for South Africa under the apartheid system by the white colonialists. According to Gatsheni et al. (2018), “Nelson Mandela, charismatic and iconic, is a product of his time and can only be understood within the context of the social movements that he belonged to and led” (p.1). According to Garba et al. (2020), Nelson Mandela was born in the province of Mvezo in the year 1918, July 18, and he passed on in the year 2013 December 5. Garba et al. (2020) also stated that “he was a descendent of the Thembu Royal family because Ngubengcuka, his great-grandfather was the King of Thembu and his father, Gadla Henry Mphakanyiswa Mandela (1880-1928), served as a local Chief and a councillor to the King of Thembu from 1915 to 1926” (p.4). Due to his royal background, Mandela was exposed to the strength of Black Leadership which enabled him get leadership skills. He displayed strong leadership skills during his reign as president. In his lifetime and also after his death, Nelson Mandela was described in as a man of good virtues. Nelson Mandela “was an  African Nationalist, anti-apartheid revolutionary, Socialist , Liberal African Nationalist-decolonial humanist, Freedom Fighter, the father of the nation, Icon of democracy and social justice, advocate of social justice, a politician, a lawyer, a peace lover, the architect of modern South Africa, the first democratically elected black South African President, a philanthropist and a hero not only to the black race but to the world at large (Garba et al , 2020, p.4). Nelson Mandela also won the nobel Peace Prize in 2013. Thus, Nelson Mandela significantly contributed to the political struggle against colonialism and apartheid system.

Nelson Mandela’s involvement in the Political Struggle against Colonialism

Nelson Mandela was one of the leaders in South Africa who were on the forefront of the political struggle against colonialism. According to Garba et al (2020) “Mandela started participating in anticolonial and African nationalist politics when he worked as a layer in Johannesburg and there he became a member of the African National Congress in 1943 whose name was Anton Lembede” (p.7). One of the people who influenced Nelson Mandela was Lembede who was an anti-colonialist and they collaborated to found the ANC Youth League in the year 1944 and here, Mandela was the executive committee member and Lembede was the president (Garba et al., 2020). “Mandela then became the president of the ANC branch in Transvaal. In 1948, when the white-only government introduced the apartheid system, Mandela and ANC resolved to fight the government until they overthrew it and end the racial discrimination” (Garba et al., 2020, p.7). Nelson Mandela championed the idea of non-violent resistance and he got this influence from the Mahma Ghandi of India and together they organized a joint non-violent resistance against colonialism and apartheid. In 1952, Mandela mobilized 10000 and when he was arrested because of the mobilization, 100000 people were motivated to join the resistance; This led the government banning the Transvaal ANC president from showing up in public and as a result, Nelson Mandela replaced him as the president. According to Roshanzamir (2019), Mandela became South Africa’s first black president on 1994 in a momentous election which allowed South Africans of all ethnic origins to vote for the first time, following a 20-year anti-apartheid campaign: (p.1). Thus, Nelson Mandela Was one of the leaders in South Africa who were on the forefront of the political struggle against colonialism.

Apartheid in South Africa

The apartheid system was practiced in South Africa. Apartheid was a slogan which meant separated. According to Garba et al. (2020), “apartheid was a system of minority white domination over the majority black in South Africa, characterized by racial discrimination and segregation in favor of the white colored population against the black colored population South Africans” (p.6). Apartheid started in the year 1913, and it was as a result of the Land Act, which restricted the lack people from having access to certain lands and were confined to specific reserves. The aparthei system was institutionalized by the all-white government, called the African National Party, which ruled South Africa in 1948. The main goal of the party is to separate the white and black people in the country. The apartheid system was also supported by the laws whereby the government made legislation that support the slogan.  According to Lemon (0221), “Growing pressures on both race zoning and influx control in the 1980s forced official policy changes leading to the repeal of influx control legislation in 1986 and of the Group Areas Acts in 1991, but this by no means guaranteed rapid transformation of the physical character and social geography of apartheid cities” (p.1). Because of the apartheid, the black people in South Africa were suppressed and oppressed due to inequality as compared to the white people. Garba et al. (2020) also stated that “prominent examples of sharp inequalities suffered by the black South Africans included the prohibition of the blacks from the utility of same social facilities such that public schools, toilets, residential areas, as they were categorized along white versus black zones; marriages were prohibited between the black and white, among others” (p.6). The apartheid system was terminate in 1991 when a new democratic government was placed in power. Thus, the apartheid system was practiced in South Africa, and its main goal was to separate the white and black people in the country.


In conclusion, Mandela left a good leader legacy by fighting racial segregation in South Africa. When he was the South African president, he focused on uniting the whit and black people by the formation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. The apartheid system suppressed and oppressed the black people in South Africa since they were forbidden from being in the areas with the white people. Nelson Mandela was selfless and sacrificed for his country and through this, he distinguished himself among other African leaders.




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 Affairs8(1).

Lemon, A. (2021). The apartheid city. In South African Urban Change Three Decades After Apartheid: Homes Still Apart? (pp. 1-16). Cham: Springer International Publishing.

Ndlovu-Gatsheni, S. J., & Ngcaweni, B. (2018). Celebrating the centenary of Nelson Mandela’s birth and his nationalist humanist vision. African Journal on Conflict Resolution18(2), 9-31.

Roshanzamir, A. (2019). Uncovering Mandela’s Leadership Style.


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