What are some characteristics of Nelson Mandela? Give examples of each characteristic.

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The strongest characteristic of Nelson Mandela would be defiance.  I think that his activist stance against Apartheid policies demonstrates this.  It is proven with his incarceration for decades.  During this time, he never recanted or withdrew his beliefs.  Despite harsh interrogation tactics and enhanced treatment by his captors, he never wavered.  His ability to emerge from this confinement and, essentially, "outlast" Apartheid cements the defiant trait.  It is also interesting that he emerges from captivity at a time when we were also beginning to listen to other voices and integrate them into our tapestry of what existence is and how it is incumbent on the success of democratic experiments everywhere to hear as many voices as possible.  Mandela's release coincides with the growth of emerging democracies and new voices being heard around the world.  I think this is the greatest evidence in how the characteristic of defiance is critical to the success of democracy and testimony to our greatest capacities as human beings.

ndidier1980 | Student

Nelson Mandela was an activist against apartheid in South Africa. The term, apartheid means the government says that it is ok to discriminate any race other than White people. In 1963, the South African government found Mandela guilty of sabotage. He was imprisoned for 27 years. The most prominent characteristics of Nelson Mandela are strength of spirit, integrity, honor, and leadership. Mandela’s strength of spirit allowed him to endure 27 years of imprisonment. He never compromised his beliefs, which shows integrity and a willingness never to give up the fight. As an honorable citizen of the world, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993 for his help in ending apartheid in South Africa. Finally, he became President of South Africa in 1994 showing his incredible ability to lead a nation once so divided. Nelson Mandela is an inspiration to all freedom fighters the world over.

jessiepotter | Student

If you are still looking for information, try watching the movie "Invictus". I found it very informative and inspirational.

qasersforu | Student

Nelson Mendela was the President of South Africa from 1994-1999.

Prior to being a president, Mr. Mendela was imprisoned for opposing a racist system called Apartheid. He served 27 years as a political prisoner.

He was a high official in the African National Congress (ANC).

Just this year (2011), the First Lady Michelle Obama met with Mr. Mendela and his family in South Africa.

Some characteristics of Mr. Mendela are as follows:

1. He is brave.

2. He is very wise.

3. He is a revolutionary.

4. He is a hero.

5. He was a devoted militant, and

6. He is highly respected and loved by many throughout the world.



jjrichardson | Student

, Mandela became the most widely known fugure in the struggle against apartheid. Among opponents of appartheid inSouth Africaand internally, he became a cultural icon of freedom and equality comparable with Mahatma Gandhi.


Nelson Mandela was released from prison on 11 February 1990, and he plunged wholeheartedly into his life's work, striving to attain the goals he and others had set out almost four decades earlier. In 1994 Mandela and the ANC started their campaign for the first all-race elections that the country ever had. In April, when the elections occurred, the ANC won a majority and Mandela was appointed president, the first black president ever inSouth Africa! (Denenberg, 1995).

I consider Nelson Mandela a natural born leader; from his story almost 70 years ago. Walking across the green hills above the village one morning not long ago, Mandela recalled a lesson he learned as a boy, "When you want to get a herd to move in a certain direction," he said, "you stand at the back with a stick, then a few of the more energetic cattle move to the front and the rest of the cattle follow, you are really guiding them from behind," and that’s how Nelson Mandela’s leadership was about during his life in prison he was guiding his followers whilst in prison. (Mandela, 1965)

ellendriscoll1 | Student

First and foremost, Nelson Mandela was an astounding human being willing to sacrifice everything to do the apartheid in South Africa.  He was willing to sacrifice his freedom, his dignity the safety of his family and every earthly possession to prove to the world the sufferings and in dignity suffered by those subjected to apartheid.  His courageous, selfless actions brought knowledge to many who were unaware of the power struggle in South Africa and the huge human toll that it took.

Much like Mother Teresa.  I believe that if he were a practicing Catholic, he would be fast track to sainthood.  But we mere mortals owe him a debt forever, for opening our eyes and shining the brightest light he could on the evils that existed in an otherwise prosperous society

marycordesman | Student

Nelson Mandela persavered when most men would have given up.

Remember Nelson Mandela was born into apartheid.  He knew nothing else, except segregation on races.  Intinctively, Mandela knew skin color was cosmetic.  Mandela knew men and women wre equal.  He knew skin color was evidence of race, not character.

Mandela was a soldier.  He served as leader of Umkhonto we Sizwe.  It was the armed wing of the African National Congress.

Mandela was tried and convicted of sabotage.  He served 27 years in prison.  He served those years honerably.

After his releasw, multiracial elections were held.  Mandela won and became President of South Africa.


jjrichardson | Student

Nelson Mandela was a charismatic leader, he was one of the greatest and most influential figures of the 20th Century to lead the fight against apartheid (racial separation) in South Africa and to become the country’s first black president in its first-ever multiracial election and he dedicated his life to achieving freedom for his people, he had a vision of the democratic South Africa where everyone would have equal rights, despite many set backs he was faced with and his twenty-seven years in prison, he still managed to gradually gain the respect of the prison officials with his forceful yet dignified manner. (Kramer, 2003)

Charismatic leaders are not necessarily boastful or flamboyant; Nelson Mandela exercised a style of quiet leadership that was perceived to be very charismatic and successful, he held strong emotional reactions towards his followers, under theory of charismatic leadership Nelson Mandela’s’ followers from the ANC still had the trust in him whilst he was in prison and they believed in him to continue to fight for apartheid and pledged willing obedience to him. (Rosenbach & Taylor 2006)

sabrina20032006 | Student

nelson mandela is very generous and he was against apartheid and my father was there and he met nelson mandela he told me that he was very generous and nelson mandela even held a dinner for those people in africa that were in need and needed food and that we being segregate against hope this answered your question and helped you with whatever you wanted to know goodbye

patelmilia98 | Student

that he was an apartheid and he protested just like gandhi