Nelson Mandela's leadership during negotiations: collective versus individual leadership

SOURCE: Nelson Mandela: decolonial ethics of liberation and servant leadership
OUTPUT TYPE: Chapter in Monograph
SOURCE AUTHOR(S): B.Ngcaweni, S.J.Ndlovu-Gatsheni
DEPARTMENT: Developmental, Capable and Ethical State (DCES)
Print: HSRC Library: shelf number 10174
HANDLE: 20.500.11910/11670

If you would like to obtain a copy of this Research Output, please contact Hanlie Baudin at


The chapter is a historical review of Mandela's leadership in the negotiations process, beginning with the discussions with leading members of the apartheid government while he was still in prison in the second half of the 1980s. These discussions, which Mandela initially kept secret from his fellow Rivonia Trialists in prison, saw Mandela abandoning the principle of collective leadership to take the initiative to explore potential common grounds with the apartheid regime that could form the basis to begin negotiations. Not long after his release from prison, Mandela was drawn into the leadership of the ANC negotiating team when he led the ANC delegation at the first meeting with the apartheid government at Groote Schuur in May 1990. From then on, it was Mandela who served as the figurehead and public voice of the ANC in the negotiations process, which involved the Convention for a democratic South Africa (CODESA) talks, the vexing issue of the debilitating political violence during the period, and his relationship and differences of opinion with President F.W. de Klerk, with the leadership of the homelands, including Chief Mangosuthu Buthelezi, as well as with the leadership and rank-and-file of the liberation movement.