African Journal on Conflict Resolution

Log in or Register to get access to full text downloads.

Remember me or Register

Celebrating the centenary of Nelson Mandela’s birth and his nationalist humanist vision

Sabelo J. Ndlovu-Gatsheni, Busani Ngcaweni


Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, charismatic and iconic, is a product of his time and can only be understood within the context of the social movements that he belonged to and led. Thus, this article locates Mandela within the local and global context in which he emerged while at the same time making sense of his instrumental interventions and nationalist humanist vision of life, peace and justice. This article situates Mandela’s political life within the broader context of the third humanist revolution, which was a response to the inimical processes of racism, enslavement and colonisation. In its centenary celebration of Mandela, the article re-articulates how he embodied alternative politics founded on the will to live as opposed to the will to power; the paradigm of peace as opposed to the paradigm of war; political justice as opposed to criminal justice; as well as pluriversality as opposed to tragic notions of racial separate development known as apartheid. What is fleshed out is a ‘Mandela phenomenon’ as founded on strong progressive politics albeit predicated on the unstable idea of the potential of advocates and victims of apartheid undergoing a radical metamorphosis amenable to the birth of a new pluriversal society.

Keywords: Nelson Mandela, nationalist humanism, politics of life, paradigm of peace, pluriversality, South Africa

AJOL African Journals Online