Why I Admire Nelson Mandela Essay Guide and Example:

The essay titled “Why I Admire Nelson Mandela” presents a unique opportunity to delve into the life and legacy of one of the most iconic figures in the struggle for human rights and racial equality. Nelson Mandela, known affectionately as Madiba, was not just South Africa’s first black president but also a symbol of resilience, leadership, and peace worldwide. This guide aims to outline the key elements and considerations for crafting a compelling essay that explores personal admiration for Mandela’s life, values, and contributions to society.

Main Body:

  1. Early Life and Struggle Against Apartheid:
    • Describe Mandela’s early life, including his birth in 1918 in Mvezo, his education, and his early involvement in the anti-apartheid movement.
    • Highlight his role in the African National Congress (ANC) and his dedication to combating institutionalised racism, leading to his arrest and 27-year imprisonment.
  2. Leadership and Resilience:
    • Examine Mandela’s leadership qualities, focusing on his time in prison, where despite harsh conditions, he continued to be a beacon of hope and resistance for his followers.
    • Emphasise his resilience in the face of adversity, reflecting on his ability to maintain his principles of non-violence and reconciliation.
  3. Presidency and Contributions to Peace:
    • Discuss Mandela’s presidency, noting his efforts to dismantle the apartheid system, foster racial reconciliation, and promote social and economic justice in South Africa.
    • Mention his role in establishing the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and his Nobel Peace Prize win in 1993 as recognition of his efforts to bring peace to a divided nation.
  4. Legacy and Global Impact:
    • Reflect on Mandela’s enduring legacy, not just within South Africa but globally, as an advocate for peace, equality, and human dignity.
    • Include personal reflections on how Mandela’s life and teachings have influenced the writer’s views on justice, leadership, and forgiveness.

Conclusion: Summarise the key points made in the essay, reinforcing why Nelson Mandela is admired for his unwavering commitment to justice, his resilience in the face of oppression, and his contributions to peace and reconciliation. End with a personal note on what lessons the writer takes from Mandela’s life and how they can be applied to today’s challenges in striving for a better world.

Essay Writing Tips:

  • Use specific examples from Mandela’s life to support your points, such as his Rivonia Trial speech or his actions upon release from prison.
  • Incorporate quotes from Mandela to illustrate his philosophy and ideals.
  • Maintain a balanced tone, acknowledging Mandela’s human flaws while focusing on his extraordinary achievements.
  • Engage the reader with personal reflections on Mandela’s impact, making the essay not just informative but also deeply personal and reflective.

Example Essay: Why I Admire Nelson Mandela


Nelson Mandela’s legacy is a beacon of hope and resilience in a world rife with injustice. Known as Madiba, his journey from a small village in Mvezo to becoming South Africa’s first black president embodies the virtues of perseverance, leadership, and compassion. This essay explores the myriad reasons why Nelson Mandela is a figure of immense admiration, focusing on his struggle against apartheid, his unyielding resilience, his presidential tenure focused on reconciliation, and his enduring global impact.

Early Life and Struggle Against Apartheid

Nelson Mandela’s early life laid the foundation for his relentless fight against racial segregation. Born into the Thembu royal family, Mandela’s trajectory was significantly altered by the apartheid regime, leading him to join the African National Congress (ANC). His commitment to dismantle apartheid was evident through his involvement in both peaceful protests and armed resistance, which ultimately resulted in a 27-year imprisonment. Despite the harsh conditions of his confinement, Mandela’s spirit remained unbroken, symbolising a powerful stand against institutionalised racism.

Leadership and Resilience

Mandela’s leadership and resilience are perhaps most remarkable during his years of incarceration. In the face of relentless adversity, he maintained dignity, hope, and a steadfast commitment to his cause. His ability to inspire others, even from within the confines of a prison cell, speaks volumes about his character. Mandela once said, “The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.” This philosophy underpinned his approach to leadership, demonstrating an unparalleled resilience that continued to fuel the anti-apartheid movement.

Presidency and Contributions to Peace

Upon his release in 1990, Mandela’s transition from prisoner to president was symbolic of the country’s broader journey towards freedom and equality. His presidency was marked by efforts to reconcile a country divided by decades of racial strife. Through the establishment of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Mandela sought to heal the nation’s wounds by uncovering the truth about past injustices and promoting forgiveness over revenge. His receipt of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993, alongside F.W. de Klerk, was a testament to his dedication to dismantling apartheid through peace and dialogue.

Legacy and Global Impact

Nelson Mandela’s influence extends far beyond the borders of South Africa. He emerged as a global symbol of peace, embodying the struggle for human dignity and equality. Mandela’s legacy is a reminder of the power of resilience and forgiveness. Personally, Mandela’s teachings have profoundly impacted my views on justice and leadership. His life is a testament to the fact that individuals have the power to change the course of history, inspiring me to advocate for positive change within my community.


In admiring Nelson Mandela, we celebrate a man who dedicated his life to the service of humanity. His fight against apartheid, unwavering resilience, efforts towards reconciliation, and enduring global impact are qualities that resonate deeply with those who aspire to make the world a more just and compassionate place. Nelson Mandela’s life teaches us that with courage, perseverance, and a heart full of forgiveness, it is possible to overcome even the most insurmountable challenges. As Mandela himself once said, “It always seems impossible until it’s done.” This essay is not just a reflection of my admiration for Mandela but a call to embody his values in our daily lives, striving towards a future marked by equality, peace, and unity.

Conclusion: Writing an essay on “Why I Admire Nelson Mandela” offers a profound way to explore and celebrate the life of a man who changed the course of history. By focusing on Mandela’s resilience, leadership, contributions to peace, and enduring legacy, writers can convey their admiration for his unparalleled impact on the world.

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