On the Mandela Spirit and Its Global Significance

Social Sciences in China, 2018

Vol. 39, No. 3, 2018


On the Mandela Spirit and Its Global Significance



Li Xinfeng


This year marks the 100th anniversary of Nelson Mandela’s birth. The reason the global media reacted strongly to the news of Mandela’s death five years ago can be found in his lasting contributions and his immortal spirit. Mandela’s spirit is characterized by the noble ideals of opposing apartheid and achieving democracy, freedom and equality; by his philosophy of reconciliation, marked by magnanimity and forgiveness; by his principled stand for peace and justice in Africa and the world; by his political wisdom in summing up the situation and meeting the challenges of the times, evinced in his quitting office at the peak of his political life; by his thankfulness for help and concern for vulnerable groups; and by his personal charm, as reflected in his magnanimity, sense of humor, sincerity and sense of equality. These six qualities are closely connected and constitute a dialectical unity. South Africa is the birthplace of Mandela and the soil in which the Mandela spirit grew. The fact that South Africa produced a Mandela is closely connected with his historical era and the social environment, as well as the influence of countries around the world and the international support he received. Above all, however, Mandela’s rise was closely tied to his noble ideals and outstanding character. In a word, the internal and external origins of the Mandela spirit complement and illuminate each other. The Mandela spirit is rooted in South Africa, yet it belongs to the whole world and the whole human race. Its radiant reason, dynamism and strong personal influence will continue to illuminate our world with an eternal charisma. The world of today needs the Mandela spirit more than ever.


Keywords: Mandela spirit, South Africa, reconciliation, justice