African Journal of
History and Culture

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Hist. Cult.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2141-6672
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJHC
  • Start Year: 2009
  • Published Articles: 170


The relevance and legacy of Nelson Mandela in the twenty-first century Africa: An historical and theological perspective

Godson S. Maanga
Stefano Moshi Memorial University College (SMMUCo), Mwika Campus, P.O. Box 3050, MOSHI, Tanzania.
Email: [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 22 January 2013
  •  Published: 31 July 2013



Great people come and go out of this world, leaving behind great ideas which are easily forgotten by members of the society. This essay is written to remind people of the great ideas and impressive virtues bestowed on the person of Nelson Mandela. It candidly analyses Nelson Mandela – a great statesman, exemplary humanist, freedom fighter, and a strong opponent of apartheid. The essay highlights Mandela’s immense contribution to the society – morally, religiously, economically, politically, socially and culturally. It depicts Mandela as a legendary patriot and a sage of the century. Looking at the status quo in Africa, the essay calls upon African leaders to look at Nelson Mandela, a role model in good leadership, love and reconciliation. He has shown the world how to sympathize with sufferers as well as the condemned. Nelson Mandela has been exemplary in matters pertaining to good governance – identified by transparency, independent judiciary and the rule of law. He has been a frontline champion in empowering the poor as well as assisting the marginalized and the forgotten. In the person of Nelson Mandela we see a living example of co-existence with people of different political ideology, race, religion, gender, and social stratification. To balance the kudos, some comments from Nelson Mandela’s critics are incorporated in the essay, to show that no human being is perfect or criticism-free. However, criticism does not erode Mandela’s global fame. He has done things which are so great and valuable that we need to look at them, preserving the ones worth preservation.


Key words: Afrikaners, Apartheid, Black Consciousness Movement, Boers, German Holocaust, Green Belt Movement, Jen, Nationalists, Pan-Africanism, Ubuntu, Umkhoto we Sizwe.

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