January 21, 2018


Project management advice, tips, tools and recommended resources for existing and aspiring project managers.

Nelson Mandela – One of the Biggest Leaders in Modern History

The 5th of December 2013 was a tragic day for South Africa, the passing of Nelson Mandela at the age of 95. He has changed the course of modern history because of his fight against apartheid, the 27 years spent in prison and serving as our nation’s first black president of a democratic elected government.

Nelson MandelaAs a leader he will always be remembered for his passion to fight for his vision, his willingness to forgive, freedom for all and reconciliation.

Nelson Mandela was born the son of a tribal chief in Transkei, a Xhosa homeland. Many South Africans of all races call him by his clan name, Madiba, which means “reconciler,” as a token of affection and respect.


A statement made during the sabotage trial in 1964 by Mandela showed his ideal:

“During my lifetime I have dedicated myself to this struggle of the African people. I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.”

He was sentenced to life in prison, which he spent mostly at Robben Island off the coast of Cape Town.

In his autobiography, “Long Walk to Freedom,” he would write about his life after prison:

“As I finally walked through those gates … I felt — even at the age of seventy-one — that my life was beginning anew.”


President of first democratic elected government

South African President  Nelson Mandela takes the oath

South African President Nelson Mandela takes the oath

When Mandela became President in 1994, he closed his inauguration speech with:

“Let freedom reign. The sun shall never set on so glorious a human achievement! God bless Africa!”

Mandela celebrated holidays and hosted friends among the huts of rural Qunu in a replica of the prison guard’s home where he lived during his final days of confinement. Qunu is also where he was buried on 15 December 2013. About 5,000 people attended the state funeral, and millions more watched it on television.

Father of the Nation

Mandela statueNelson Mandela is known as the father of the nation. This is evident when looking at new banknotes, released by the central bank in 2012, showing his face. Mandela statues are in front of buildings and squares; places are named after him. South African Airways even emblazoned his silhouetted image on planes.

There are some famous projects associated with the Nelson Mandela Foundation. From the Centre of Memory a $1.25 million project to digitally preserve a record of Mandela’s life, went online last year. The project by Google and Mandela’s archivists gives researchers access to hundreds of documents, photographs and videos.

The Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund (NMCF) is a charitable organization founded by Nelson Mandela. Its mission is to help individuals from birth to age 22, and particularly orphans of the AIDS crisis. The fund currently has offices in Johannesburg, South Africa (Head Office) and in London, United Kingdom, which focuses on fundraising.

Mandela Soccer World CupThe Nelson Mandela Day’ project is to inspire individuals to take action to help change the world for the better, and in doing so build a global movement for good. Ultimately it seeks to empower communities everywhere.

Mandela’s last public appearance was in 2010. It was during the Soccer World Cup 2010, hosted by South Africa at the Soccer City stadium when he smiled broadly and waved to the crowd during the closing ceremony of the World Cup.

The other unforgettable appearance during a sport event was during the 1995 Rugby World Cup, hosted by South Africa, when he appeared at the final in Johannesburg, wearing a Springbok jersey to congratulate the victorious home team. Mandela Rugby world cup


Visionary leader

He will be remembered as a visionary leader who managed to unite South Africa and who set an excellent example to leaders.  As stated by Joyce Banda, the president of Malawi: “Leadership is about loving the people you serve and the people you serve falling in love with you. It is about serving the people with selflessness, with sacrifice and with the need to put the common good ahead of personal interests.”

That is what Nelson Mandela stood for and how he has won the hearts and minds of many people not only in South Africa, but all over the world. He was truly inspirational as captured in many of his quotes:

“A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination”.

“When people are determined they can overcome anything”.

Thanks Madiba for the legacy that you are leaving behind…

Find Your Passion and Purpose in Life

Passion from vision

Good leaders have passion. Passion is derived from a leader’s vision and the passion will power and sustain you on your vision quest. True or not?

As human beings we all look for meaning in our life.  We conjure up dynamic visions for our life and hope that the vision will stir up our passion, adding meaning and purpose to our existence. In fact, vision has been described as “a picture of the future that produces passion in you”.

However, if this is how you hope to identify or stir up your passion, then your passion will eventually die out. You see, when passion is created from the outside-in, it can cause a momentary flash of emotion, but it won’t be enough to move you very far or for very long. As soon as things get tough along your journey, you’ll slow down, back up or walk away and look for something else. The embers of passion stirred by your vision won’t draw out the tenacity, mental toughness and resiliency you need to bring your vision to fruition.

Vision comes from passion

This is why a leader can’t cast a vision and count on it to create the passion necessary to be successful. Rather, your vision must be birthed from your passion! Did you get that? In order to be effective, vision must come from your passion rather than hoping your passion will come from a vision. This fact begs the obvious question: where does one discover this inner passion that so many people never find or tap into?

Find your inner passion

Where does inner passion come from? It comes from where all true passion comes from; it comes from anguish. Leaders like Martin Luther King Jr., Mother Teresa, Nelson Mandela and Nehemiah of the Bible all had bold visions that were birthed from their passion. And their passion was rooted in their anguish.

Anguish is defined as an agonizing mental pain or torment brought about by conditions in or around you. What torments you? What keeps you awake at night? What moves you? What burns inside of you? What thoughts, purposes or dreams consume you? What do you agonize over? What brings you before God in tears? That’s where you’ll find your passion and that passion will birth your vision.

Leaders don’t miss the following fact: it’s not enough to be concerned. You must anguish! Concern creates interest, whereas anguish creates movement, resolve and makes you unstoppable. Stop ignoring your pain and start celebrating your torment and you’ll zero in on the passion that can become a channel to your vision, your purpose, and eventually, your legacy.

Inspiration for this article was found from Dave Anderson, President of Learn to Lead and Author of How to Run Your Business by THE BOOK. Find his blog at www.learntolead.com

If you want to read more about my PASSION, I am sharing it in About Project Management Passion.

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