Leadership lessons from Nelson Mandela

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We spoke in our staff briefing this week about leadership- what it looks like, what qualities it requires and what values it should be founded upon. If ever there was a shining example of great leadership, surely it was Nelson Mandela.

This week (Tuesday, May 10th to be precise) saw the anniversary of Mandela becoming South Africa’s first black President in 1994. Perhaps too many men and women throughout history have been described as “great” but in his case the epithet is richly deserved. He was a man of great wisdom, pathos, integrity and, above all, humanity, as I think some of the quotations below clearly demonstrate:-

 “I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”

“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.”

“It always seems impossible until it's done.”

“Do not judge me by my successes, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again.”

“As I have said, the first thing is to be honest with yourself. You can never have an impact on society if

you have not changed yourself... Great peacemakers are all people of integrity, of honesty, but humility.”

“I am the captain of my soul.”

“A leader. . .is like a shepherd. He stays behind the flock, letting the most nimble go out ahead, whereupon the others follow, not realizing that all along they are being directed from behind.”

And finally…

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”


date authored: 

Friday 13th May 2016 Africa/Kampala


School Director - Steve Lang