Nelson Mandela, the Iron willed leader who beaten apartheid to bring Freedom and Equality, undeniably failed in fighting Economic Inequality:
(Yosef Worku Degefe)

Nilson Rolihlahla Mandela was born on 18 July 1918 in Qunu, South Africa. Son of a tribal chief, he studied law and became one of the South Africa’s first black lawyers. In the 1950s he was elected as a leader of the youth wing of ANC (African National Congress) liberation movement. The country’s white minority rulers’ prohibition of ANC in 1960, Mandela turns into conviction that armed struggle was inevitable. Inspired by the African freedom fighters from colonization and also Cuba’s revolution, he organized a military underground movement that engaged in overthrowing the South African apartheid regime.

Military Training in Ethiopia
In 1962 Mandela had an underground military leadership training in the only non-colonized African nation, Ethiopia. The alive evidence, eye wetness, Colonel Fekadu Wakene, high ranking Ethiopian Military training commander taught Nelson Mandela guerrilla warfare. However, soon after Mandela finished his military leadership training and back to his homeland, he got arrested and sentenced to life imprisonment for high treason and conspiracy against the South African apartheid regime. From 1964 to 1982 he was confined to the notorious prison called Robben Island together with several other resistance leaders. He was then moved to prison on the mainland until he was released in 1990. During his imprisonment for 27 years, Mandela became a uniting point for all Africans and the world’s most famous political prisoner. Mandela won the world Nobel Peace Prize sharing with the man who had released him from prison, the last apartheid President, Frederik Willem De-Klerk. Both these men won Nobel Peace price for the reason that they agreed to resolve the social conflict on a peaceful transition to majority rule, restore justice, and equality for all through setting a constitutional democratic leadership in South Africa, but, not for Economic Equality.

Believe in People Power
Mandela is uniquely special in his leadership philosophy unlike most African leaders. He does not turn out to be a dictator or even semi authoritarian ruler. Instead he turned out to be an unpretentious democratic leader. Soon after he took power he choose not to taking revenge on the apartheid regime oppressors, the white minority and put another chaos or damage on his nation. Throughout his term of presidency he keeps integrity leadership characteristic of transparency and accountability. Most importantly, Mandela has shown to the world that he is a leader who believes in people power. He Knows that how to use the strength of people. As a result, recognizing, understanding and engaging the strength of people gave him unwavering power. More over, Mandela is an effective sociopolitical leader who choose servant leadership style that empower him building good relationship with empathy and connectedness with people. Because of this people don’t hate to call him their leader. Acquiring conceptual and interpersonal leadership skills from his law school, from vast reading while he was still in prison and through building good social interaction with many and different people around the world make him great world figure.

Distinguished Leader
Nelson Mandela has a distinguished quality of trait, capacity, and skill in leadership. Among other facets of his leadership characters, his forgiving nature is one of his most acclaimed personality traits. Mandela forgive the oppressor, the white minority ruler and work in unity in the racially despaired communities of South Africa. He loves people, not position or power. Mandela once said that “None of us Acting Alone can Achieve Success”. He never has shown negative leadership attributes like, ruthlessness or cruelty, asocial, egocentric, non-cooperative or in general dictatorial leadership behavior. This is because he chooses people over power. As a result, left a great legacy that lives forever. Trustworthiness or honesty, unprejudiced, dynamic or vibrant, motivator, great communicator, authenticity, and farsightedness are among Mandela’s positive leadership attributes. He is a compromiser and a win-win problem solver. Mandela’s optimism comes from his humanistic nature. Thus, he has played a great role in diminishing extremism in South Africa. One of the most crucial, great lessons that Nelson Mandela teach for the disturbed world is that how to resolve social conflict. Mandela deeply understands that social conflict requires fundamental resolution, not political games or sabotages. Being a charismatic leader with a great personality and a strong will help Mandela work for the values that he desires others to adapt. In addition, Mandela inspires people with his eloquent speeches and his books that put an enormous impact on people even outside his area.

President Obama in his speech at Mandela’s funeral challenged the world leaders by saying that, how well have leaders applied lesson from Mandela in their own leadership style? Mandela is also an intelligent leader, good perceptual skills and reasoning ability. Therefore, as a good leader he knows that there are limits to what he can do, and thus he pay attention to what others says about his leadership. What is more about Mandela’s leadership ability, he set up a vision to reach, a goal to achieve and activities to perform with the people, for the people. He is a visionary leader with great moral courage. He had a clear vision for his country he loved most and wanted to live in. He creates a compelling vision that challenges and changes his and other people behaviors. He delivers a picture of the future of South Africa as his vision.

Conflict Resolution
Mandela struggles based on his core values such as Freedom, Justice and Equality for all. He faces a tremendous amount of challenges, but his farsightedness, endurance and trust in people help him out in handling conflicts and find resolution. In addition, Mandela sociability or outgoing personality highly help him establishing pleasant relationship with people including outside his party, supposed to be his enemies. In 1985 Mandela was offered freedom by Peter Botha, the then South Africa’s apartheid ruler if Mandela would renounce his fight against the apartheid regime and he refused. He feels strong and positive in his aim and stands and is certain about what he is doing. Later, during his negotiation with apartheid rulers Mandela follows the most important conflict resolution approaches. These are Compromising and Collaborating styles of approaching conflict.

Mandela has no “us” and “they” or … “I am right” and “you are wrong ” mentality, a mind set up dangerous in personal as well as in societal interactions among tribes, religious institutions and among Nations in the world at large. In his argument with the last South African Apartheid leader, Mandela seek a position in which both party, Mandela’s ANC & Apartheid can accept. Mandela is also an ethical leader who has a characters of Respect, Fairness, Caring, Responsibility and Citizenship. Moreover, his actions depicts that he follows Servant-Leadership style. Servant leader does not make people serve him, instead he serves people and brings Justice for all. For this reason, Mandela achieves astonishingly excellent outcomes. Mandela was the right person at the right position in the South African context. He shows morality in his leadership, he never abuse power, he was free of corruption, and he never played political sabotages for his interest. Nelson Mandela fought for Justice, Equality, and Freedom and most importantly he struggled against apartheid or a racial segregation policy in South Africa and he won.

The Failed Leader
With blacks constituting more than 80% of South African population, the magnitude of black poverty is greater in South African than any country in the world. IMF report declares that, “South Africa is notorious for having gross income inequality. Its ‘GINI’ coefficient – a standard for measuring income inequality – is one of the highest in the world. The World Bank computed it at 63.1 in 2009, with zero being absolute equality and 100 absolute inequality”. Thus, It is odd to say that Mandela was not able to understand that the unhealthy side effect of economic inequality which creates social disparity or unrest in Africa. IMF discovers that economic inequality brings damaging to the economic growth. Its up to the nations to mange it. As a result, Nelson Mandela is a leader who failed to fight for Economic Equality not only in South Africa, but also in the African content. Mandela has never tried to fight for Economic Equality. He did take no measure at all to solve income inequality crisis among his fellow citizens. It does not seems at all that Mandela did not know the need for Economic Equality. What really made Mandela carless with regard to change in Economic Equality.

Economic Inequality and Corruption
According to IMF, the US is the second largest Income In-equality nation next to South Africa. Apart from political considerations, narrowing down the gap of the economic inequality among people helps nations for consistent economic and social development which ultimately create non violent generation or society. Head of states of the world have failed to understand that fighting for political power or religious freedom has an implied meaning for fighting for Economic Equality. America is the world’s power not because of its population, (accounts 5% of world population.) but because it has very strong economy. Money mater most. People or individuals Economic Power should not be under estimated. Minimum wage is unfairly poor in the US. Low wage workers are not paid what they deserve. Many believe that the main causes of the Baltimore riot is not racial, but economical, Economic disparity. Race was the cover up, deep inside the soul of the people, there demands for economic equality. Poverty is the worst of all enemies of the people. Nations of the world need to fight for economic equality for in every corner of the world people are desperately looking for food and homes to live in. Economic Equality is a determinant factor that need to be addressed in all over the Nations including special focus on black poverty in the US.

Seeing the Iron willed leader who won the fighting for freedom and Equality, has failed fighting for Economic Equality is absurd, laughably foolish, and senseless. Black people in today’s South Africa, cause they are desperate in their economic status, they fight back in Xenophobia. They are fighting foreigners living in South Africa as it is seen in a mass riot and killing people in April 2015. Defending Mandela’s legacy South Africa and other nations over the world who are anxious about Economic Inequality, Get up and narrow down this gap. Leader of nations fight political and economic corruption. Rich people be fair, distribute your wealth to the poor wisely, like through education, health care etc. World leaders of G8 or G20 or IMF, World Bank etc. think critically act wisely and genuinely to bring a change. Believe in people not in power. If not our world may face another chaos, revolution. People may rise for revolution demanding economic equality which may mightier than the famous industrial or the socialist (communist) revolutions. I believe that the next social unrest around the world would not be about politics or religion, but it is all about economic inequality.

Our world is falling apart due to Economic Inequality. If World war III starts, it couldn’t be for some other cases, but for Economic Inequality. Who am I to say this? Am not a Politician, a Religious fanatic man, or a Technocrat, an Economist, or Social reformer, or a Revolutionist etc., but I am an ordinary world citizen, community concerned guy. I am just demanding fairness from the world super rich to come down and narrow the income gap. Otherwise, we cannot clean up the world mess easily. Let us be fair in life. Let us truth and facts lead us to the reality, not politics, not religious belief, etc. but Economic Equality, Economic Equality, and Economic Equality. No more no less. Let us think and act about this hot societal issue. TIME Magazine put it in an excellent way how income inequality is a threat for National (good example, Nigeria) and Global security, “Poverty and lack of Education have allowed Boko-Haram to recruit disenfranchised young muslims”. Narrowing income inequality and eradicating corruption are the two wicked, abominable. To up bring economic equality among Nations and people corruption should also be diminished. For instance, Nigeria’s new President seeks help from Obama on finding and returning the $150 billion dollars embezzled by Nigerian ex- treasury officials, according to Time Magazine July, 2015.

Work Cited
Peter G. Northouse. Introduction to leadership: concepts and practice. West Michigan University. SAGE Publications, Inc. Third edition. 2015.

John Campbell. Ralph Bunche Senior Fellow for Africa Policy Studies. Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). Web. May 06, 2015.

Nobel Media AB 2014. “Nelson Mandela-Facts”. 05 May 2015.

Todorov, Tzvetan. “Mandela’s Example”. Salmagundi.184 (2014): 5, 8,208. ProQuest. Web. 6 May 2015.

Penny Dale. BBC News Africa/World Politic, Addis Ababa. The man who taught Mandela to be a soldier. Web. May 06 2015.

International Monetary Fund: Research Department. Redistribution, Inequality, and Growth. Jonathan D. Ostry, Andrew Berg, Charalambos G. Tsangarides. Web. May 06, 2015. 

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