Nelson Mandela (1918 -2013): Lessons for all leaders │© Fola Daniel Adelesi

At the moment the entire world is coming to a standstill because of a great hero like Nelson Mandela. All the radio stations have no other subject. All the television stations have one picture of him or the other and several videos are coming up. I have even received a mail from the White House titled ‘on the passing of Nelson Mandela’ with a link to President Obama’s statement.

We all seem to be quick to jump behind our computer screens when a great person passes. In these days of social media, the information spreads like wild fire and videos are quick to come up but we also forget one very important thing. George Washington was one of a kind in his time. Abraham Lincoln was one of a kind in his time. John Fitzgerald Kennedy was also one of a kind in his time. I can go on to names like Margaret Thatcher, Obafemi Awolowo and many more like that. It is not their passing that’s more important but for us all to remember that these people had unique contributions to the world.

Although we already expected Nelson Mandela to die at some point but because of his impact, the entire world is still in some sort of shock. It is just so obvious no one wants good people to die. Now that he has passed away, I am more concerned about how we can bring up more leaders like him who will continue with his great legacies or even come up with more amazing things that we have never imagined.

For the entire world who think that the problem of Africa is simply leadership, maybe I should remind them that there are many more people like Mandela or those who are even greater in Africa and all we need to do is to get those people out there and let them lead. The real problem of Africa is not that we do not have great leaders but that it has now become more difficult than ever for the real leaders to emerge than it is for the self-centered political rogues to emerge.

To bring up my lessons my first question will be ‘how are we going to be remembered as leaders in the places where we have had the opportunity to lead?’ what will the people remember about us? Are we the kind of leader that just led for our pockets or the leader that led the people for a better life?

The other thing I really want us to remember is the selfless lifestyle of the great Nelson Mandela. More than anything else, we will be remembering Mandela for his efforts towards ending apartheid in South Africa. We all know this did not come cheap because it was almost at the expense of his life! Even though he did not lose his life, he still spent twenty seven valuable years in prison for what he believed in.

How many selfless leaders do we have today, not only in Africa, but all over the world? How willing are we to get something for our people regardless of the cost? Mandela is gone and for a long time to come we will all remember him but the more important thing I want to leave on your mind is not only his name but his legacy! He was such a selfless and visionary leader! We need more of those and I challenge you to be one!

Fola Daniel Adelesi
President/CEO,
Edible Pen.

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