“Death is something inevitable. When a man has done what he considers to be his duty to his people and his country, he can rest in peace. I believe I have made that effort and that is, therefore, why I will sleep for the eternity,”
Nelson Mandela, what a great leader! Gone but not forgotten, this man’s leadership style was so inspiring, and in this article, I picked out lessons from his great leadership style, backing them with scripture.
Lesson number 1: Sacrifice
In many ways, I see a similarity between the life of Nelson Mandela and our savior Jesus Christ. Though in no way equal to our King, I’ve come to the conclusion that for all men who lived and made impact in their generation, there was a single true factor: Sacrifice! This was a man who was ready to sacrifice his life for the freedom of his people.
“During my lifetime I have dedicated myself to this struggle of the African people.” Nelson Mandela; April 20, 1964
As a lad who had already lingered for 20 years in prison, He denied ‘conditional’ freedom and was ready to stay the course, even to the point of death! The result was 27 years spent in prison, a sacrifice that would liberate his own people. Remember Jesus Christ made the ultimate sacrifice by dying on the cross for us; not thinking of his comfort, and scorning it’s shame. All who want to make impact must therefore make a sacrifice!
Lesson number 2: A man with a humble heart, ready to serve!
In many ways, Nelson Mandela had a humble heart. Listen to the man as he spoke in 1990:
“I stand here before you not as a prophet but as a humble servant of you, the people. Your tireless and heroic sacrifices have made it possible for me to be here today. I therefore place the remaining years of my life in your hands.” — Nelson Mandela Addressing a crowd after his release from prison on Feb. 11, 1990.
He placed his life in the hands of his people! Do you know what that means? He was ready to serve! The man was humble, not lording it over the people! Listen to Jesus, the greatest leader ever to live:
Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant,and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Mathew 20:25-28
The biblical principle is glaring! Servant leadership is golden! I wonder if those modern day ‘Minister’s who Lord it over their fellow citizens really know the meaning of the word ‘Minister’.
Final lesson: A man of love
“No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.” – Nelson Mandela, Long Walk To Freedom
Imagine ‘wasting’ 27 damn years of your life behind bars; and for no other reason than asking for what rightfully belongs to you. Would you make peace with your adversary? The average leader would promote black supremacy and torture those who tortured him. Contrary to the ordinary however, Mandela never advocated black supremacy rather opting for egalitarianism. As Jesus Christ said:
But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, Mathew 5:44
What I loved the most about Mandela
Nelson Mandela’s decision not to run for a second presidential term, though he could have; and further peacefully handing over power to Thabo Mbeki was the reason for which I loved Nelson Mandela the most. Africa would not have been in its current economic state if all our leaders were not so conscious of power like Mandela.
We’ve seen so many leaders in Africa come to power and become corrupted by the transition to power. Mandela seems to have risen above all that. Time passes, people and laws change, as do mindsets; memories never fade. Mandela, memories of you will forever remain in our hearts. Rest in peace Tata (“Father”), sleep well!
Love, Yaw Ansong.