10 Great Life Lessons From Nelson Mandela

Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, often known as Madiba (by his clan) and Dalibunga (by the public), was unquestionably one of the finest men to ever come out of the African continent.

He is a South African tribal leader who is anti-racist and anti-colonialist, hailing from the Thembu tribe. He was born on the 18th of July, 1918, into the royal family of Thembu in the village of Mvezo in Umtata, which was then a part of South Africa’s Cape Province. He was the son of King Mvezo of the Thembu and Queen Mvezo of the Thembu.

Mandela’s childhood was not too dissimilar from that of other children at the time. Despite the fact that both of his parents were illiterate, he attended a local Methodist school.

“No one in my family had ever attended school,” he claimed at one point in 1994. Each of us was given an English name by our English teacher, Miss Mdingane, on the first day of school.

In those days, this was the habit among Africans, and it was probably influenced by the British influence on our schooling.

He died as a result of a respiratory infection on December 5th, December 2013 (95 years old) in Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa.

He was laid to rest at the Mandela Graveyard Qunu, Eastern Cape, South Africa.

Though a political man, Nelson was interested in having a family. He was known to have married 3 times.

He married Evelyn Ntoko Mase in 1944 and divorced in 1958; married Winnie Madikizela in 1958 and divorced in 1996; married Graca Machel in 1998 till his death do them part in 2013.

Nelson Mandela is a great role model as his life has motivated a lot of individuals. You should also check out our list of all Nigerian Presidents and their achievements.

Not only that, he was an elder statesman and contributed to combating poverty and HIV/AIDS through the Nelson Mandela Foundation.

He will forever be in the hearts of South Africans and Africans at large. He is an icon of democracy and social justice.

10 Inspirational Life Lessons From Nelson Mandela

We hope these lessons will inspire you to become better and achieve more in life.


Mandela was imprisoned for 27 years but got up to his feet after his release, and became the first black president of South Africa.

The act of imprisonment and incarceration is just enough for some men to lose hope in their existence.

Though I agree our resilience vary; but why give up when there’s still life. Mandela stood up to his feet and still broke records – first black president of South Africa.

Speaking of breaking records, Mandela was also the oldest head of state in South Africa’s history, taking office at the age of seventy-five. What a great feat.

There’s so much the world is expecting from you, and wherever you might be right now, stay strong and believe your life isn’t ending there. You’re going to fight until you win and break record.


Being fickle is one of human flaws, but Mandela was a consistent man and never gave up on his dream to fight against racial discrimination and freedom for his people despite being incarcerated for a long time.

People change when challenges present themselves. Some even eat up their words in the face of tumult.

The real man keeps his dream alive that even if he is unable to achieve that dream in his life, some people will bring that dream to life because he remains constant on it.

Mandela gave himself hope and thereby spreading the hope to his people and alas! he didn’t let them down.

Mandela’s consistency eventually paid off: his people were liberated and he became their president.


Often regarded as one of the greatest leader that emanated from Africa, Nelson Mandela fought for the freedom of his people and is considered the father of democracy and father of the nation by South Africans.

To begin with, he was elected through the African National Congress (ANC) party in 1991.

He was elected in a fully representative democratic election. He wanted democracy and he came in through one. That is leadership, leading in words and deeds.

He is a charismatic leader and exhibited a lot of leadership qualities ranging from love, empathy and selflessness amongst others.


One feature most leaders lack is empathy and it happens to be one of the greatest attributes a leader could ever have which was so glaring in the life of this Mandela.

He understood his people, their want, and he was able to reach them.

The empathy for his people fuelled his burning desire to keep fighting for a democratic and free society for his people and liberation from racial discrimination which plaqued South Africa as at then.

A leader leading from behind is no better than a servant receiving orders; but a leader leading the people from the front is not only shielding his people but also seeing things from their perspective. That is whom Mandela was.


Nelson Mandela is one of the most fearless leaders who ever walked the face of the earth.

While fighting for the emancipation of his people, he got incarcerated but that didn’t stop him, instead, he sees more reasons to be unstoppable. He stood up to condemn apartheid.

According to him, he hoped to live for his Ideal of a free society where everyone is entitled to equal opportunities and was also prepared to die for this ideal and yes, he achieved it.

The English man will say “fear doesn’t exist; you create it in your sub consciousness”.

Worst of it is when you continue living in fear, you are stoppable, you are in a position in a moving train and you become defeatable.

Face your fear and fight it. Do you know why? It doesn’t exist.


We can talk about Mandela’s attribute and the pages of the book will be filled but the attribute of selflessness will sure take half of that book.

Mandela was willing to swim cross the ocean without fear of getting drowned for his people. What a man!

This is an attribute missing in most of our leaders today. Most leaders care less about citizens’ welfare but Mandela lived a life of selfless service to his people and was prepared to die for his ideal of a democratic and free society whereby all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities.


Mandela shaped a better world through his own initiative and was committed to laying the foundations for a new democratic South Africa.

He was dedicated to his cause that he got jailed and while being incarcerated, became the world’s famous prisoner.

If you do not show some level of dedication to what you believe in, no one will reason with you.

Your work requires your sincere dedication to thrive. Once you’ve put your mind on it, give it your all.

Related: 10 Great life lessons from Timi Dakolo


Nelson Mandela founded a founded “Nelson Mandela Foundation” which focuses on justice, social cohesion and dialogue amongst others and aims to contribute to policy decision making.

The foundation hopes to provide the people and politics with relevant tools to encourage informed discussions that would lead to justice.

Whatever you’ve become in life, always remember you are a product of a society and always give back to that society so some people can also be a beneficiary. That way, wealth will be evenly distributed.

Never Giving Up

Who would have thought that an individual who got incarcerated for 27years could eventually become the president of a nation?

Not only that, he became the president at the age of 75 making him one of the oldest president in world history.

All these factors never discouraged him and he never gave up until apartheid ceased in South Africa.

Never be discouraged, so long as you’re on the right part. You’ll definitely be criticized, but rise above every criticism and show the world what you’ve got.


As an anti-racist and anti-colonial revolutionary, Nelson Mandela was determined to see a democratic and free South Africa.

He was determined to die for his Ideal and never faltered in the face of life imprisonment.

While in prison, he earned a bachelor of law degree from the University of London and was able to smuggle out drafts of his autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom. What a man!

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