A worldview is how someone views the world. Everyone has a different view of the world because a worldview is shaped through personal experience, attitudes, beliefs, and values. Nelson Mandela, the first-ever black president of South Africa, is an example of an individual who clearly expressed his worldview during his life.
Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela (July 18, 1918 – December 5, 2013) was born in Mvezo, South Africa. He was a non-violence, anti-apartheid activist as well as a philanthropist and politician. Mandela was an active member of the anti-apartheid movement, along with the African National Congress (ANC), which he joined in 1942. He always tried his best to campaign in a non-violent way against any politician with racist ideas within the South African Government to achieve equality. Mandela was not a man who just believed in his values but did also live up to them. He never gave up on fighting for what he believed was right. Nelson Mandela did not hesitate to express his worldviews of humanism, theism, and egalitarianism. These worldviews were shaped through many of those beliefs and values.
Humanists are mainly concerned with fulfillment, growth, and creativity for both the individual and human society in general; they believe that humans are of ultimate value. Mandela’s beliefs and values show a very humanistic worldview. This is in particular clear when looking at his battle to respect people’s rights and value the quality of each individual in the multiracial environment in which he lived. He was prepared to give up anything so there could be an improvement for the country and its people. Mandela had dedicated his whole life to fight for what he believed and valued, in particular, human equality. Mandela knew that to achieve equality, he needed to show – mainly the ‘non-colored’ – people the struggle of being treated differently because of skin tone only. As he had experienced the struggles of inequality himself, he felt compassionate over the ‘colored’ South Africans who were being treated worse than the ‘non-colored’ South Africans. Most ‘non-colored’ people didn’t however share the same view at that time. Mandela ultimately accomplished his goal through many sufferings and challenging obstacles. In 1962, Mandela was even sent to jail with a life sentence for attempting to overthrow the state. He ultimately spent 27 years of his life being incarcerated on Robben Island and was released in 1990 by President F. W. de Klerk. During his time in prison, Mandela’s beliefs and values didn’t change from prior to his imprisonment. Mandela stayed friendly and respectful to all the guards without expressing any hate towards them. It is believed that Nelson Mandela’s path to his goal was perceived from the guidance of God as he wanted to achieve this without harming the ‘enemy’ (the South Africans who were against equality).
Theists view reality as both material and spiritual, they believe human history is not a random sequence of purposeless events but is moving towards a resolution under God. Theism is expressed throughout Nelson Mandela’s life through his beliefs and values. Mandela projected a theist worldview in his autobiography, A Long Walk to Freedom, in which he expressed his early involvement with Christianity and becoming a member of the Students Christian Association, teaching bible classes every Sunday. Shortly after he was elected as president in 1994, Mandela had given a speech at the Zionist Christian Church with the reading of Matthew 5:1-12. Mandela believed strongly in the value of Christian persistence. After getting released early from prison in 1990, he still hadn’t given up on his goal, leading him to become the first black president in South Africa. Mandela’s Christian beliefs had clearly provided guidance for Mandela in his achievements. As a good Christian, Mandela believed that everyone should be equal, and nobody was to be superior to another individual.
Egalitarians are people who believe that all people are equal and therefore deserve equal rights and equal opportunities. Mandela believed that every individual should have equal rights and equal opportunities. He started to value equality through studying law and getting involved with the African National Congress (ANC) in 1942. Mandela believed that everyone deserved freedom, regardless of their color so he accepted a leadership role with the ANC party and began to fight against injustice. Mandela was a humble, patient, and forgiving man, he wanted no violence to occur through the process of South Africa becoming an equal nation. Mandela also believed greatly in overcoming poverty through justice, and not as an act of charity (because ‘colored’ Africans were treated badly in comparison to the ‘non-colored’ Africans). Through his experience, Mandela gained discipline, courage, honesty, and enthusiasm to achieve his aim in making South Africa become an equal nation. Nelson Mandela was a man who cherished equality and acceptance, he developed as an individual because he stayed focused on his beliefs and values which contributed to his overall worldviews.
Throughout Mandela’s life, he expressed three main worldviews: humanism, egalitarianism, and theism. Mandela conveyed his worldviews to his grave through his numerous beliefs and values. Nelson Mandela was an iconic figure who was prepared to sacrifice his personal life and well-being to oppose South Africa’s racial policies and achieve a society in which the colored and non-colored worked together and lived in harmony. Mandela’s purpose of life, actions and worldviews have – to this day – not only improved South Africa and its society but the entire world; equality is now promoted in many parts of the world, and people even stand up for those who are treated unfairly for being different through color and/or race.