Nelson Mandela was a well known South African politician, philanthropist, and an anti-apartheid revolutionary, born on eighteenth of July 1918. He served as the South African President from the year 1944 to 1999. He is known as the first South African chief executive, and also the first person to be elected in a free and Democratic election. A description of Nelson Mandela’s psychobiography is outlined in this paper, basing on the developmental events that took place in his lifetime using the big five theory.
The big five theory, is a method applied in psychology to describe the five major dimensions or domains of a specific personality. Looking at the bold personality of Nelson Mandela, we find five major traits associated with him in his lifetime. First, we look at Nelson Mandela’s trait of openness and connection. Nelson Mandela was a leader who did everything in the open and had no bad records. He was willing to reach out to his people and connect with them. He supported and loved other people including those who hated him. In his career; he was arrested severally arrested for seditious charges. He was unsuccessfully prosecuted with the ANC leadership in the Trial of Treason from the year 1956 to 1961. Unsuccessful prosecution indicate that he was a leader who had nothing to hide. This is a trait of openness.
The second personality looks at Mandela’s Conscientiousness, an act of cultivating self discipline within himself. He acted dutifully and responsibly without being supervised or overlooked by anyone. He had an inner motive to serve his country and save his people, and in return he expected no reward from anyone. Nelson Mandela served a prison sentence of twenty seven years. Initially he was put in Robben Island, and was later transferred to Victor Verster Prison and Polls moor Prison. A campaign at the international level was lobbied for Nelson Mandela’s release. During the time of civil strife escalation, he was realised from prison, in 1990. After the release, he made advances to abolish apartheid by making consultations and negotiated with President F.W. de Klerk (Downing & Jr, 1992). This was a bold move because at the back of his mind he also intended to establish multiracial elections in the year 1994. During the elections, Nelson Mandela led the ANC political party to victory and successfully became the first black president of South Africa. His autobiography was published in 1995. All these steps after a long period of prison sentence indicate that Nelson Mandela had a clean and focused conscientiousness. An individual who has personal interest can be seen from this because he would probably give up and would not put much sacrifice to the extend Nelson Mandela did. Nelson Mandela played an international role of acting as a mediator between the United Kingdom and Libya in the bombing trial of Pan Am Flight 103. He also oversaw the intervention of military in Lesotho. His deputy, Thabo Mbeki, succeeded him after he refused to go for a second term. He then became an elder states man, shifting his focus on charitable work including laying out strategies to help reduce the deadly HIV/AIDS and combating poverty in South Africa through the Foundation of Nelson Mandela. In his life, Madiba was identified as a controversial figure that was denounced by critics as a communist terrorist (Mandela & Clark, 2002). Through his activism, he gained international acclaim and is known to have received over two hundred and fifty honours. Some of them include the Bharat Ratna, the Nobel Peace Prize, and the Order of Lenin. He is identified as an icon with deep respect in South Africa, referred to as Madiba, his clan name.
Looking at the Revolutionary activities that took place in Mandela’s life, he began to study law at the Witwatersrand University where his identification as the only students who was a native African was open. He faced some challenges of racism due to this factor (Mandela & Clark, 2002). With time, he made friends with the Indian, Jewish, and European students. Despite the friends he made, Mandela believed that Africans were supposed to be independent in their struggle for freedom and political self-determination.
Nelson Mandela exercised the third trait of extraversion. He had positive emotions, full of energy, sociability, and assertiveness. This was evident when he left for an African tour to meet politicians and supporters in Zimbabwe, Libya, Zambia, Namibia, and Algeria, and went ahead to Sweden where he accomplished his mission by reuniting with Tambo. He also went to London to attend the concert of International Tribute for a free South Africa. He advised other Nations to encourage sanctions against the government of apartheid (Mandela & Clark, 2002). He was warmly welcomed by different Presidents of different countries because his visits had an inspirational impact on the countries he toured. He also toured the United States and met with the President George W. Bush where he addressed all the Houses of Congress. He visited eight cities in the United States. This made him popular mostly among the African Americans in the United States. He toured Cuba and met with the President, Fidel Castro with whom he had admired for a long time. He went to India and met with the President Venkataraman, and with the Prime Minister of Malaysia, Mahathir Mohammad. He never visited the long time ANC supporter, the Soviet Union.
Nelson displayed the fourth trait of Agreeableness. He had the ability to be cooperative and compassionate. He was not antagonistic and suspicious towards other people. This trait was seen when he led a delegation of multiracial nature, the ANC, in a preliminary negotiation affair which comprised of a government delegation of eleven African men. Everyone was impressed by Mandela’s discussions of the Afrikaner history. Eventually, the negotiations resulted to a state of emergency being lifted by the government. He thereafter spent most of his time trying to build and unite the ANC delegation. He appeared in conference held at Johannesburg attended by one thousand six hundred delegates. People who attended the conference found him more modern than they expected (Mandela & Clark, 2002). Mandela admitted his party’s faults at a national conference in July 1991, in Durban. He added by announcing his bold intentions to establish a strong work force for securing and protecting the majority rule.
Nelson Mandela perceived and saw reconciliation of the Nation as the basic and primary task of his leadership, and therefore, he presided over the transition period from apartheid minority age to multicultural democracy rule. He observed the severe damage that had been done in other post-colonial African countries and economies after the white elites left and worked hard to ensure South Africa would not suffer the aftermath of the damages created. He also assured the white elites in the country that their protection was taken care of and they were fully identified in the Rainbow Nation (Mandela & Clark, 2002). He made an effort to establish the strongest and broadest coalition in the South African cabinet in his government. Other officials of the National party played the role of ministers of Energy, Agriculture, Environment, and Minerals. Other positions of the Cabinet were taken by the ACN members. He met with senior officials of the apartheid regime and they put emphasis on reconciliation and forgiveness. He made an official statement that people who are courageous do display it by forgiving those who do wrong against them. He advocated for peace and advised the South African people to bury the past and put behind all the hard times they had gone through in preparation to move on with their lives.
Nelson Mandela had a good neuroticism mechanism, a fifth trait of the model. This was seen the period he run and oversaw the Truth and Reconciliation Commission information in order to investigate crimes that were committed under the apartheid period by the ANC and the government. He appointed Desmond Tutu to chair the commission. The commission granted amnesties to individuals in order to obtain testimonies of crimes committed on the apartheid era in order to prevent situations of martyrs. The commission was dedicated and in February 1996, two hearings detailing torture, bombings, assassinations, and rape, were held before the final report was issued in October 1998 (Mandela & Clark, 2002). Due to Mandela’s influence in coming up with the commission, the Nation was helped in moving away from the bitter past in order to concentrate on making their present life and future.
The administration of Mandela involved a country with a big disparity in services and wealth between the black and white communities. A certain portion of the population lacked adequate sanitation, electricity, clean water supplies, education, and employment. It was estimated that under half of the total population in South Africa lived under the poverty line. This was a period that was so challenging to Mandela because the government financial reserves were almost depleted. A fifth of the overall national budget had been spend on debt repayment , scaling back the extent of the Reconstruction and Development programme that was earlier promised to the people of South Africa (Mandela, 1973). His government, under his influence then adopted liberal economic policies which were designed to encourage and promote foreign investment. The government adhered to the consensus of Washington, an advice from the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.
Mandela was greatly involved in the foreign affairs of the country. Following the example of his country, South Africa, he advised and encouraged other nations to amicably resolve conflicts through reconciliation and diplomacy (Mandela, 1973). He acclaimed Thabo’s call for the African Renaissance and his great concern was the issues that were dwelling around the continent. He employed the method of using a soft diplomatic approach in the eradication of the military of Sani Abacha in Nigeria. He then became a leader who advocated for sanctions when the human rights violation was increased by the Abacha’s regime. He got an appointment to be the chairman of the South African Development Community. From this association, he was able to initiate negotiations to end the war of First Congo in Zaire, even though the mission was unsuccessful. He made an order to his troops to enter Lesotho in September 1998, a move to protect the problematic government of the Prime Minister of Lesotho. This is a situation that arose after a disputed election had been conducted in the country that prompted uprisings of the opposition.
He was appointed the Secretary- General of the famous Non-aligned movement in September 1998. This movement held their annual general conference in Durban. He took advantage of these events to strengthen international connections and relations forming strong bonds with other Nations (Mandela, 1973). He also talked to the Israeli government and urged them to initiate negotiations in order to abolish the conflict of Israeli and Palestine, and Pakistan and India to negotiate over the Kashmir conflict in order for peace to reign over the Nations across the world.
Nelson Mandela is remembered as a prominent African leader who sacrificed a lot to save his country. He is remembered as a major Icon in the African societies for his efforts to make peace across the world and the kind of influence he has on other African leaders.
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