African leaders have stood the test of times and have fought oppression, brought stability to their countries, economic growth, eliminated corruption and dominance over their country.

Think of Thomas Sankara, Jomo Kenyatta, Samora Machel, Haile Selassie, Julius Nyerere and the list goes on. ¬-

But What would the list of Africa’s greatest leaders be without Nelson Mandela though?

Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, born in 1918, was the greatest statesman Africa bore.Despite spending 27 years behind bars, Nelson Mandela’s reputation was still based on the dignity, high mindedness, nobility and generosity even after. He assured the people of South Africa that there would no longer be racial war and even after stepping down in 1999, he went on to become a highly esteemed iconic figure; a leader in the same league as Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King.

Here are 10 top rules for success according to Nelson Mandela:  

1. Demand Respect

According to him he had to fight the battle for dignity and only responded to the name Mandela or Mr. Mandela while in prison in Robben Island.


2.Prove people wrong

During a confrontation over the phone with a lady, Mandela was told he seemed like a ‘backward’ person, and she further loudly wondered whether he passed his university entry level exams. A bit agitated, he retorted telling her that if needed, he could as well go get a certificate and sit with her in the same class. Her response – ‘You will never be in my class,’ and banged the telephone.

Maybe she wasn’t able to see him succeed through University of South Africa in Bachelor of Arts, or at the University of Witwatersrand in Law. But well, you get the gist.



3. Time – use it wisely

‘You have a limited time to stay on earth. You must try use that period for the purpose of transforming your country into what you desire it to be.’ he said during an interview.


4. Don’t worry about labels

‘We are not concerned with models. We are not concerned with labels. We are practical men and women whose solutions are dictated by the actual conditions existing in our country. We do not care whether the cat is black or white, as long as it can catch mice,’ was his response to a question regarding a fiscal policy involving the South African’s use for resources in a meaningful way. His ideology concerning the economy being based on the Marxist system, Socialism or Capitalism could as well be compared to the cat.



5. Be humble

Mandela used to say that an impact in society starts with being honest with oneself. Though everyone wants peace, humility to him is the most important quality.


6. Find  heroes or a mentor.
Interestingly enough, Mohammed Ali was Nelson’s hero.


7. Take a stand
According to him, a mistake politicians make is thinking that their enemies should be the people’s enemy(ies) too. To him, it is all about attitude when it comes to taking a stand. The so said enemies will be judged by their relation to the people of a nation.


8. Manage your emotions
‘We make the brain dominate the blood,’ he said in an interview referring to the war between the conflicted races, in which he thought the domination of the brain over emotion is what made them reconcile with their enemies.

9. Be willing to die for your cause
As his duty to protect his nation and its people, he was willing to die doing that when he felt they were being threatened by the opposition.

10. Speak with confidence
According to Nelson Mandela,  anyone who changes principles according to who he is dealing with isn’t a man worth leading a nation.

Author: Megan

Catford Digital Media