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Life of Nelson Mandela

Essay by   •  April 22, 2013  •  Essay  •  811 Words (4 Pages)  •  2,162 Views

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Nelson Mandela, a man who made great strides in South Africa due to his extraordinary character and unique leadership style. In the biography, Mandela, author Anthony Sampson chronicles Nelson Mandela's life and highlights many significant events that built his character and developed him into the profound leader that he is and will always be known for.

In the book, Anthony Sampson, details Mandela's life by breaking it down in three parts. In part I, Nelson Mandela's childhood upbringing through his young adult years are discussed. Also in part I, Mandela's values, beliefs, and leadership qualities were noted to have been shaped by the African principle under which he was raised called ubuntu. Ubuntu "described a quality of mutual responsibility and compassion" (Sampson, p.12). Nelson Mandela held to the Ubuntu principle from youth through adulthood, because he believed in serving others and working towards a greater good. He made this clear in his communication with others and through his life's works. In Part II, the author details Nelson Mandela's years of imprisonment and how pivotal these years were in Mandela's transformation from activist to committed leader. In the third part, Sampson details Mandela in political leadership and how strong of an impact he made on South Africans and others around the world, because of his unwavering belief in his vision of equality and dedication to fighting for human rights.

Throughout the text, the author portrays Nelson Mandela as an intellectual man who was extremely courageous, self-confident, charismatic, and personable. In addition, although not a religious man (according to Sampson), Mandela had genuine compassion to unite his people and others, and free South Africa from the struggle of apartheid.

This was his vision. To achieve effective leadership, leaders must "envision the future" as explained in The Leadership Challenge (Kouzes & Posner p. 101). As a young law student, Mandela became part of the African National Congress, which stood against apartheid and racial inequalities taking place because of policies set up by the South African government. It was during this time, that he began envisioning the future and acting upon what he envisioned (an apartheid free South Africa and equality for all citizens). Sampson recalled that during this time, Mandela appeared more and more like a future leader of his people.

Sampson continued to pinpoint Mandela's commitment to activism when he described the many political demonstrations Mandela participated in, and use of guerilla war tactics against he and the ANC used in an effort to abolish apartheid. By not negotiating with a racist government and supporters of apartheid and setting up what became known as a Defiance Campaign, Mandela was clearly challenging the process, another leadership practice found in The Leadership Challenge (Kouzes

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