As the world marks the 100th anniversery of the birth of Nelson Mandela on July 18, the former South African president and revolutionary leader leaves behind a rich legacy full of important lessons that could be relevent to many today.
As a leader, Mandela had an inclusive nature. His childhood in the rural area of Eastern Cape, observing how tribal leaders attended to the community's problems, instilled in him a sense of agreement to address politics. In prison and during his presidency, Mandela made sure that blacks and whites, Xhosa and Zulus, English and Africans, communists and capitalists, had equal access and representation. For Mandela, the inclusion of a broad group of people in decision-making was the purest form of democracy.
Mandela became known for listening to all the parts of the argument, taking advice and then offering his analysis. The former president talked to the end and entered the debate at an advanced stage, not only gained a psychological advantage but also the ability to close the discussion. The final decision was his, but not before taking into account the advice.
For a man who was locked away from the world for 28 years, Mandela had a stimulating knowledge of the media. Mandela differed with members of his own party for his attitude to the press.
Zapiro, a South African political cartoonist, recalled that Mandela told him that he enjoyed his cartoons, even when Mandela himself was criticized and caricatured.
The leader knew how to behave before the cameras and manipulate the world of celebrities; It was as natural and spontaneous both with rock stars and with presidents from other countries. Essentially, he took advantage of the media to convey an image of openness with the whole world, which helped him win over those who saw him with suspicion and be able to spread his message of humanity around the world.
At the end of the 1980s, when South African cities were burning and the pressure of the security apparatus intensified, Mandela began to talk and negotiate in secret with the apartheid State. The former president abandoned his consensus style, because he knew that his colleagues from the African National Congress would not agree or veto any contact with "the enemy". Therefore, he did it on his own. Risking, he followed his instinct that it was a good time to negotiate.
One of Mandela's most important legacies was his decision to leave the presidency after completing the first term. Very few African leaders have renounced power so easily and quickly. He preached with the example and showed that he was not bigger than the presidential investiture. It was a lesson only for the big ones: quit when you're at the top. Move aside when the game ends. Do what you have to do, say goodbye and keep going. Mandela was not seen in public during his last year of life. He was weak, old and sometimes forgetful. With that decision, he still gave something to learn.