Prosocial Leadership 

Nelson Mandela

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Nelson Mandela, born in 1918 in a racially segregated South Africa.  Mandela spent his life fighting for the rights of South African Blacks, democracy and elimination of poverty. Mandela spent 27 years of his life in prison because of his activism, demonstrating he was willing to give up his own personal interests and disregarded punishment, all for the sake of others. Eventually, Mandela was freed and was awarded the Nobel Prize, and later elected president of South Africa, but these rewards could not have been foreseen.

When asked, what leadership meant to him, Nelson Mandela responded, "Real leaders must be ready to sacrifice all for the freedom of their people"[1].

Leaders such as Mandela are motivated not by allegiance to external normative rules, but by internal commitments that are part of their interpersonal values, which dictate their normative leadership behaviors, and act in ways to resolve the question what is the benefit of my actions? 


[1] Burford, N. Decolonizing Pedagogy: Critical Consciousness and its impact on schooling for Black students , p.4