The long walk to Freedom

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The Long Walk to Freedom talks about the life of Nelson Mandela, the first black president of South Africa and one of the exemplary political leadership in the world. Mandela faced many challenges including spending 27 years in prison. However, he still had the vision of winning the fight against racial oppression  and he became South Africa’s first black President 10 May 1994 .He continued to take care of his people.

Mandela Leadership

-VISION: I have learned that great leadership starts with a clear and strong Vision. In the book, Mandela notes that he realized that he was not the only one that was not free, but others who look like him were trapped too. That is why he developed the desire to one day see his people living a life of dignity and self-respect. He decided to fight long enough to see the day where black and white would be equal, no matter what it takes. He could already see the end result of the effort to Liberate the people.

-Leadership is not about you, but about people, and every single person matters. Treat everyone in your leadership walk with respect and honour. Treat each each person as if they are the only ones that exist and matter at that moment.

-Allow yourself to be inspired by the giftedness of other people: It is important to seek inspiration from others at it would support your leadership. In order to inspire others people, one must have inspiration from someone else. I am already inspired by the fact that Mandela started his leadership movement in the African National Congress by following the example of Mahadma Gandi, that Nonviolence is the key to winning the fight. South Africa those days was filled with hatred and people were driven by revenge, but Mandela ordered for no person to be killed, as they were bombing places. It was not easy, but he notes that he would always try to avoid violence. 16 December 1961, to blast the symbolic places of apartheid without killing anyone. After the assassination of ANC leader Chris Hani, he appealed for calmness and for all South Africans. It led to democratic elections on 27 April the following year.

-In order to win, a leader need courage when facing hard times. If a leader shows weakness during this time, others will follow the example and the battle would be lost. It took real courage for Mandela to go through leaving his family  all the time to hide or plan other operations, as well as spending so much time in prison, but he was thinking of others and not only himself. He notes that “It was this desire for the freedom of my people to live their life in dignity and self-respect that animated my life that transformed a frightened young man into a bold one, and drove a law abiding attorney to become a criminal, that turned a family loving man into a monk.”

-Acknowledge Failure all the time as nobody is perfect. Mandela notes that it is his failure that made him realize where he was going wrong and therefore he could try to get back on track. Arrogance will not work..When you make a mistake, do not shy away from admitting that you are wrong.

-Do not be stopped by setbacks. Mandela had many setbacks in his leadership. People were killed, his family was constantly harassed. His wife was arrested, meaning that their children were left without parents during that time.He ended up in prison,  but he believed that he would liberate his people one day. Whilst in prison Mandela undertook study with the University of London by correspondence through its External Programme and received the degree of Bachelor of Laws. Even though Mandela was in prison for life, he was preparing for leadership outside. He was preparing for leadership outside.  He believed that he would play a role, and an important role, in bringing about freedom for people in South Africa, in winning the liberation war. Then he seriously prepared himself for that.

-Show interest in your opponents. There will always be people who disagree with your leadership style and what you do. You will gain respect when you recognize and believe in the good others who are not on your side. You win them to your side. Do it both in privately and publicly.

-Great leaders know how to let go make themselves replaceable: Do not hold on to power for too long. Give others a chance. Mandela stepped down and voluntarily handed over the reins of power to Thabo Mbeki in 1999.This act shows that as a leader, he believed in democracy and freedom. Mandela tried to motivate other leaders in Africa, not to be selfish in leadership. He tried to convince Mugabe to hand over, before being voted out by his own people, which will ruin him. Mugabe didn’t listen and had to face consequesnce. I am glad that my President, Sam Nuuyoma, followed this example, and also voluntarily handed over leadership to Hifikepunye pohamba, who is to date, leading or country in peace.THAT IS GREAT LEADERSHIP!

About Taati

My name is Taati Niilenge from Namibia. I am a reporter, working for the Namibian Broadcasting Corporation. I am currently studying at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism as a Humphrey Fellow. I plan to make the most of this experience and take a lot of knowledge to my country, especially with regard to Social Media. i do not know a lot right now, but I AM PLANNING TO SUCCEED!

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