Blog

  • How Mandela’s personal commitment to the Springboks showed the way toward a united nation

    In the previous post, we noted that there is certainly more to tell about Nelson Mandela’s efforts to preserve the Springboks as South Africa’s rugby mascot. For example, one compelling aspect of the story is the president’s personal commitment to promoting the sport as a unifying force, and his surprising success as a spokesperson for defending an animal that once stood for divisiveness. A

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    John Sadowsky Leadership & Storytelling
  • How Mandela used rugby as a unifying force

    As we referenced in the previous post, Nelson Mandela’s term as chief executive of South Africa began with a political crisis concerning the future of the national rugby side. Specifically, the president’s desire to preserve the Springbok as the team’s mascot faced violent opposition from the National Sports Council. Though most members of the Council were in fact loyal adherents of Mandela’s

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    John Sadowsky Leadership & Storytelling
  • A great leader writes a new story

    At the close of the previous post, we noted that Nelson Mandela had more than mere blind faith in South African Rugby. He had a plan. In the president’s mind, the upcoming 1995 World Cup provided his new government a unique opportunity to unite the nation’s whites and blacks. He reasoned that the Springboks—for decades a source of divisiveness between the races—could

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    John Sadowsky Leadership & Storytelling
  • The Symbolic Power of Sports

    When Nelson Mandela won the presidential election of 1994, he took over a sharply divided country, one that was just beginning to emerge from decades of apartheid rule and white domination. Feeling strong and vindictive, an overwhelming majority of black South Africans saw a great opportunity to change the course of their nation. Indeed, most members of the president’s own

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    John Sadowsky Leadership & Storytelling
  • Back to blogging: life lessons from great leaders

    These past months, when circumstances forced me to take an unintended break from writing, it was gratifying to hear from the many people who said they missed my regular posts. To those whom I may not have answered directly, suffice it to say that some family and health issues have claimed much of my time and energy since February. Though

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    John Sadowsky Leadership & Storytelling
  • The power of reconciliation

    A dynamic scene from the movie Invictus depicts a tense conversation between President Nelson Mandela and Jason Tshabalala, his diligent and passionate security chief. At issue is Mandela’s decision to hire some of the highly qualified white bodyguards who had watched over his predecessor during the controversial apartheid regime. When the white guards report in to take up their duties with the Mandela administration,

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    John Sadowsky Leadership & Storytelling