The Mandela name is famous throughout the world. But did he pass on those values and that humility to his children and grandchildren? And how did Madiba understand success? I was determined to find out when I interviewed his grandson Ndaba Mandela (video of the interview is below)
I was the only person backstage waiting for Mr Mandela to arrive. I was considering what I would say in my interview to the grandson of one of the greatest men who lived. But when Madiba’s grandson arrived, it was clear that my meeting him would leave me feeling inspired and humbled. We chatted to each other a bit before we went on stage but I was not prepared for him being so approachable.
Here are the top 5 things I take away from meeting this incredible man.
1. People of influence make other people feel better about themselves
Ndaba Mandela is rated as one of the top 28 men of change by BET. Backstage he walked up to me and we started talking about the upcoming interview. We laughed about the kinds of questions he may be asked, but more importantly, he made me feel excited about this opportunity to talk about his grandfather and the role of parents (and grandparents) as great role models for their children.
My takeaway: If you want to influence and inspire other people, you need to leave them FEELING good about themselves.
2. Nelson Mandela was a great role model for people everywhere
In my interview with Nelson Mandela’s grandson, my first comment was to share how my grandfather, and his grandfather were the two most important role models in my life. I feel that their VALUES shaped and informed who I am today. And I am not alone in this. Millions of people world wide have been truly touched and inspired by one the greatest men to have lived.
And it was Ndaba’s own quote that sums this up: “I carry with me the values of my grandfather.”
My takeaway: Who you are as a person, and the values you carry with you, will inspire and shape those people around you. As parents and business leaders, this is one of our greatest task.
“I am who we are”.
3. No matter your family name, you create your own path
My grandfather, Jurgen Meinert, was a great man and I recall people often referring to me as a reference to him. “Oh.. are you Mr Meinert’s grandson?”
I recall the day when my grandfather came to me and said… “I had a strange meeting today…. I introduced myself to a business partner and he said, “Oh… are you Mr Robin Booth’s grandfather?” We both smiled.
Ndaba Mandela lives under the total awe and power of his grandfather’s name and legacy. But if anything, this has made him a better man instead someone living off his family name.
Ndaba expresses his own confidence and abilities. And although he carries his grandfather’s legacy, there is no doubt that he is creating his own.
My takeaway: No matter the power of your family name, you still choose how to live your life, and how you express yourself. Ndaba carries the same humility and respect as that of his grandfather.
4. All great leaders understand the need for personal development
Ndaba also shared the stories of his own empowerment of personal development. He was talking about how he realised his social stereotypes were making him judge people unfairly and he was comitted to go beyond this and transform his beliefs.
My takeaway: Personal development is an important part of being human. And great leaders embrace those aspects of themselves that are not in alignment with their values and belief systems.
5. Having fun and being informal can connect people together.
This event was a formal and smart business event. The context was an audience of succesful business leaders. But Ndaba Mandela was serious when he talked about poverty, or education, or the social cause for dignity and was full of laughs and humour whenever an oppurtunity arose.
My takeaway: Great leaders are in touch with the diversity of their personalities. Their confidence allows them to play, to be serious, and to inspire others.
"Ndaba Mandela, one day I wish for my grandchildren to come to me and say that you were also an inspiration and role model for them, just like your grandfather was to me."
Video length: 3 mins