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Why was Nelson Mandela a good leader?

A:

Quick Answer

Nelson Mandela was a good leader because he sought reconciliation with his political enemies rather than retaliation against them. This forgiving approach helped his country, South Africa, to heal from the wound of apartheid.

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Why was Nelson Mandela a good leader?
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Full Answer

Under the racist apartheid regime, only white citizens of South Africa were permitted to participate in government and hold the best positions in all of the country's institutions. Black people, who were the majority of the population, were consigned to menial jobs and had little power even in the Bantustans created by the white government as semi-autonomous "homelands" for black South Africans.

Mandela himself was subject to even greater oppression, spending 27 years in prison for his belief that all South Africans should participate in society; however, when released, he did not punish his former captors. As president, he championed a policy of reconciliation, serving in a government of national unity with former members of the apartheid regime and writing a constitution that guaranteed respect for all people in South Africa. He also set up the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, where victims of apartheid had the opportunity to share their experiences. The commission also allowed perpetrators to receive amnesty, but only if they admitted their crimes. Finally, he began working to guarantee economic justice for the black South Africans who had been left out for so long. Mandela's approach helped his country avoid the flight of capital seen in countries like Zimbabwe, where Robert Mugabe's vengeful ruling style caused economic destruction on a huge scale. As of March 2014, in fact, South Africa is the richest country in Africa.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    What did Nelson Mandela accomplish?

    A:

    Nelson Mandela, arguably one of the great leaders of the 20th century, served as president of South Africa, was a notable writer, accomplished lawyer and a civil rights activist. Mandela was born in Mveso, South Africa, on July 18, 1918. He spent his childhood in South Africa, then left to pursue an education in the United States before returning to his home country to assume the role of president in 1994.

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  • Q:

    What changes did Nelson Mandela make?

    A:

    Nelson Mandela made many changes to South African society, most notably by transitioning the country away from the racist policy of apartheid. Apartheid was a government policy that kept white Afrikaners in South Africa at the top of politics and business while limiting the rights of black citizens. As the first post-apartheid president, Nelson Mandela created a diverse society in which every citizen is equal before the law.

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  • Q:

    Is Nelson Mandela alive?

    A:

    Nelson Mandela died at the age of 95 on Dec. 5, 2013. He passed away at his home in Johannesburg, South Africa. He was a tireless proponent of human and civil rights and was an active leader in the anti-apartheid movement in the 1920s.

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  • Q:

    Where did Nelson Mandela grow up?

    A:

    Nelson Mandela grew up in his mother's household in the village of Qunu. Qunu is located about 20 miles south of Mvezo where Mandela was born in 1918.

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