By Gideon Strauss

Yesterday the first democratically elected president of South African, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela (July 18, 1918 to December 5, 2013), known to the millions who loved him as Tata Madiba (“Tata” is “daddy” in Xhosa; “Madiba” is Mandela’s clan name and in the usage of his Xhosa ethnic community using the clan name is a form of address that shows respect), died at the age of 95.

As a South African and someone who was in small ways active in the movement against South Africa’s racist apartheid regime in the 1980s (among other things, doing 3 ½ years of community service as a conscientious objector against military service in the apartheid military), Nelson Mandela has for long years been both a personal hero of mine and an example of good leadership.

For my tribute to Mandela and reflections on his leadership, see the following:

Died: Nelson Mandela, South African Leader Who Stood Against Apartheid” (Christianity Today)

Nelson Mandela and the World After Apartheid” (Capital Commentary)

Leadership involves loss” (Fieldnotes Magazine)


Gideon Strauss is the executive director at the Max De Pree Center for Leadership and also editor of Fieldnotes Magazine.

Fieldnotes Magazine is a publication of the Max De Pree Center for Leadership at Fuller Theological Seminary. We would love to hear from you about people, businesses, or other organizations we can interview or feature. Please email the editor at Fieldnotes Magazine.


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