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Leadership Lessons: Nelson Mandela Behind the Scenes

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When a leader is revered the way Mandela is we often only hear the accolades about goodness, kindness, and courage.

It is refreshing to hear stories about the various sides that make a man real. Yesterday Santana was interviewed and he told a story that showed the whimsy of a man like Mandela; someone who was complex in his courage, compassion, and creativity.

Santana, himself a man of many colors had contributed the entire proceeds from a year tour, over $2 million to the fight against aids in South Africa.

He told of a private meeting with Mandela and Bishop Tutu who was a strong figure in helping South Africa come to grips with its anger when apartheid was finally ended.

The Bishop was gently chiding Nelson to get married to his now wife and said, “You can’t just shack up, you need to marry her.” Mandela’s quick witted response was “I don’t take orders from a man wearing a skirt.

Laughter and good old fashioned friend to friend ribbing seems to have been as much a part of Mr. Mandela as the powerful speeches he gave in front of millions.

I was delighted with the Santana story, for it showed a part of Mandela rarely seen and makes him all the more of a loved figure for his humanness.

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