Governance and the Unending Search for Leadership in African Politics

  • Wale Adebanwi
  • Ebenezer Obadare
Part of the African Histories and Modernities book series (AHAM)


In December 2013, after news broke that Nelson Mandela, the former South African president and African National Congress (ANC) leader had passed on, something interesting, though not entirely unfamiliar, happened. Within the continent, major commentators and politicians eulogized the departed statesman, emphasized the fortitude he displayed throughout the 27 years he spent in confinement at the mercy of the apartheid regime, and saluted him for his moral courage in forgiving his jailers, even though, as South African president, it was within his power to exact his pound of flesh. Such eulogies usually concluded with a lamentation that Nelson Mandela was the kind of morally substantial and politically intelligent leader that postcolonial African countries have, almost as a rule, been bereft of: a rare golden freckle in a landscape riddled with base metals. Oblivious to the irony, the majority of foreign commentators took the same tack, praising Mandela for his humanism and resoluteness, and invariably using him to highlight the poverty of such high-toned qualities in the ranks of most postcolonial African leaders.


Ethical Leader Political Leadership Personal Rule African State Charismatic Leadership 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Wale Adebanwi and Ebenezer Obadare 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wale Adebanwi
  • Ebenezer Obadare

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