Environmental influence and skill development
Born on the 18th of July in 1918 in Transkei, South Africa, the name
Nelson, Rolihlahla Mandela was bestowed on him. Rolihlahla was the name given to him by his father and it means "troublemaker",
which is very much reflected throughout his life. Like he once said "The struggle" was his "life" and it was a "long walk
to freedom". He was the man that dedicated his life to fighting against white domination and that have cherished the idea
of a democratic and free society, where there are no or minimal poverty, deprivation, suffering, and discrimination of all
types. He believed in equal opportrunities for everyone, something that was non-existant in South Africa at that time (Mandela,
"Long Walk to Freedom", 1994). This of course makes us wonder why did he feel such strong convictions to be the hero of the
black South African people.
To answer that of course environmental influence have a lot to do
with it but first and foremost, a point worth making is that he, himself lived the life of a black South African and he knew
what it felt like to be in that position. He knew how it felt to be born in a black only hospital, to go home on a black only
bus, to live in a black only neighbourhood and do black only jobs (Mandela, "Long Walk to Freedom", 1994). That maybe can
contrast him to many other leaders that want people to follow them yet at the same time they do not know how their
followers really feel. Then again that is something that greatly influenced him to take the apartehid struggle then as his
Actually he was exposed to such injustices at a very young age. His
British name, Mandela, given to him by his British teacher for one was one of the early forms of oppression that he got
to experience. As his teacher put it the name Rolihlahla given to him by his father was unpronounceable, uncivilized and hence
useless. This of course showed that then the British culture was assumed to be superior and that of theirs inferior (Mandela,
"Long Walk to Freedom", 1994).
Another issue that influenced him was the fact that when he was still
a young boy , the elders will always tell stories about wars and how the men in the triobe fought in defense of their fatherland.
It is therefore because of this proudlt felt African background that also motivated him to make a humble contribution and
serve his people in the struggle of their freedom (Mandela, "Long Walk to Freedom", 1994).
Then again as a young boy his life was dominated by chieftaincy and
the church. The fact that his life revolved around the christian faith definitely explains his strong morals and deep
values. In addition to this when his father died he was adopted by the paramount chief, Jongintaba Dalindyebo, and he watched
and learned from the meetings that were constantly held there. At such meetings Mandela saw "democracy in its purest"
(Mandela, "Long Walk to Freedom", 1994). The "majority rule was a foreign notion. A minority was not to be crushed by a majority".
Moreover we see the perspective of the great leader forming here, and that is one of consensus rather than coercion and the
exertion of one's belief over the other, every one has a voice. Moreover part of the world that he was exposed to was
all about equality and fairness, he grew up with such beliefs and that is why he fought for such.
At the meetings he watched as some speakers ramble and never came
to a point and those that got directly to it, with a well balanced argument. He observed as some used emotional intelligence
to move the audience with their emotions and dramatic languages. He took all of that on board to later become a leader that
exhibited the same principles. Inculding listening to everyone's opinion before venturing his own and coming to a compromise
(Mandela, "Long Walk to Freedom", 1994).
Amongst these he was also influence by some rather important individuals.
One of those was Reverend Harris, he stromgly believed that "education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change
the world". Therefore because of that throughout his life he was determined to get an education and he started upon a Law
degree at the university of Witswatersrand in 1942, which was quite fitting for his purpose then (Mandela, "Long Walk to Freedom",
After going to Alexandria in Johannesburg he was further influenced
by important individuals such as Walter Sisulu and Gaur Radebe, which were also lawyers and political men. From there his
life revolved very much around politics whereby he further joined the African National Congress to create the African
National Youth League. He even opened his law office in 1952, which became the first legal black practice in South Africa. Furthermore
due to environmental influences that made him who he is, in April 1994, with the help of his struggle, there was the
first multi-racial election in South Africa. He therefore eventually achieved his goals despite the fact that he became
prisoner 466/64 (Mandela, "Long Walk to Freedom", 1994).
Components of leadership
Through his life history it is evident that Nelson Mandela's leadership
style is but a mixture. He for one was a participative leader as he participated in political actions, he was a situational
leader as he adapted and adjusted himself to the obstacles that the government kept on throwing at him. He was a visionary leader
as he had a future vision of a democratic South Africa, which brings about the fact that he was also a servant as he kept
on serving his people and helping them in their freedom even though the struggle was very much his own. A striking aspect
of all is his charisma, an adventageous characteristic for a leader; with such, especially his eloquent language
he could win over people. However most of all he was a transformational leader for he made history and brought about changes
in South Africa.
Strengths and weaknesses of Nelson Mandela
Nelson Mandela is a dynamic man, daring to try and oppose
the government, determined, intelligent , ardent and most of all inspirational. These are definitely some of his strenghts
that makes him stand out from many leaders. However every one has weaknesses and leaders are not without. He for one was reactive
rather than proactive. Responding to situations as they arise instead of doing something about it before hand. He resolved
to violence at one point and that can very much be questioned. Then again as another one of his weakness he was too involved
in the struggle against apartheid that he sometimes lacked objectivity of the situation at hand. Then again there will always
be the thoughts at the back of our heads wondering whether changes would have happened in South Africa without him and if
it was all politics and the climb to power or were his convictions genuine?