Reconciliation-oriented Leadership: Nelson Mandela and South Africa

Arslan H. K., Turhan Y.

ALL AZIMUTH-A JOURNAL OF FOREIGN POLICY AND PEACE, vol.5, no.2, pp.29-45, 2016 (ESCI) identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 5 Issue: 2
  • Publication Date: 2016
  • Journal Indexes: Emerging Sources Citation Index (ESCI), Scopus, TR DİZİN (ULAKBİM)
  • Page Numbers: pp.29-45
  • Keywords: Reconciliation, leadership, Conflict Triangle, Mandela, conflict resolution
  • Middle East Technical University Affiliated: Yes


Heroic leaders advocating for reconciliation has become particularly significant in the process of conflict resolution. This article analyses the case of South Africa's national reconciliation experiences and Mandela's iconic role in this process. It is claimed that Mandela's reconciliation-oriented leadership, his personality and endeavours have directly affected the promotion of intergroup reconciliation in South Africa in a positive way. The article analytic framework is built on Galtung's Conflict Triangle and applied to reconciliation initiatives employed by Nelson Mandela in South Africa. The research question that this study focused on can be expressed as follows: What is the role of leaders in the process of national reconciliation? From this perspective, Mandela's extraordinary efforts to strengthen national reconciliation in South Africa are examined by looking into his normative statements, symbolic acts, and judicial actions. The method proposed in this article contributes to the study of reconciliation at the national level, dealing with the normative statements and behaviours of those in power. In the final analysis, it was determined that there is a close relationship between the prospective success of the reconciliation process and a leader's contribution to bringing about reconciliation in a society