Africa and Political Leadership Essay

Africa and Political Leadership Essay

Length: 1159 words (3.3 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Strong Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Western perception often draws dissimilarities between Africa and the rest of the world, treating it as an exotic and eccentric region. Africanists commonly reinforce this mindset, for in their attempt to analyze and understand the continent they often define it through its idiosyncrasies and abnormalities, as opposed to examining its similarities to societies history is better acquainted with. While Africa is indeed a unique place in many aspects, the striking similarities it bears to the rest of the world are often overlooked or understated. Nothing more clearly illustrates this fact than the perception of African leaders in Traditional States. Most would point to elements such as their mystical reputations, unconventional marital practices, and barbaric methods of discipline when describing these rulers, and overlook the qualities that resemble that of any ruler: their struggle to promote loyalty, inspire faith in their subjects, and establish their own legitimacy. Among the many African Traditional States, the tactics used to achieve these goals vary considerably. Shaka, a famous leader of Zululand, and the Manikongo, kings of the Kongo are two rulers whose systems of government epitomize African diversity, while simultaneously exemplifying the necessity of loyalty. Shaka secured absolute allegiance through military emphasis and political centralization to the point of despotism, while the Manikongo maintained their power through economic monopolies, political hierarchies, and mystical standing. Yet ultimately they both utilized these tactics to secure universal qualities of any leader: loyalty, respect, power, and legitimacy.
Shaka created revolutionary military tactics to develop a strong and faithful army that allowed him t...

... middle of paper ...

...tal and societal conditions. However each ultimately delivered loyalty, respect, and legitimization to its sovereign, exactly like any other system of rule throughout the world. Therefore in this case, Africa should not be treated as an abnormality, but instead as an indication of the universal truth that humanity demands respect for its leaders, who in turn require loyalty and legitimacy to effectively rule. And perhaps this example will lend pause to future Africanists by positing that the striking differences between Africa and the rest of the world may be more superficial than they appear.

Works Cited

Hilton, Anne. The Kingdom of Kongo. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1985. Print.

Omer-Cooper, J.D., “The Zulu Aftermath.” Problems in African History: The Precolonial Centuries. 3rd ed. Ed. Robert O. Collins. Princeton: Markus Wiener Publishers, 2005. 103-108. Print.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Nelson Mandel South Africa 's Most Influential Leader Essay

- Nelson Mandela was South Africa’s most prominent leader to exist in the nation’s history. The son of an African chief, Mandela had exposure to the inner workings of South African politics. Mandela attended the Fort Hare University where he studied law. Mandela 's political encounters came when he was enlisted to the university, he worked forward to acquire a Bachelor of degree in Fine Arts. Amid his course, he was the Student 's Representative Council of the understudy political association. Before long he was casted out, for partaking in a dissent in the facilities....   [tags: South Africa, African National Congress]

Strong Essays
1017 words (2.9 pages)

South Africa As A Country Essay

- South Africa as a country, is known to be a free, democratic, and a developing country. Even more, most people refer to South Africa as the ‘’ Rainbow nation’’. Mainly because of its multicultural diversity, in addition to its long history of apartheid. However, because of its reputation, it has attracted many migrant foreigners from all over the world. Over the years, South Africa has been a host to a variety of African immigrants. For instance, in the 1980s, they welcomed immigrants from Mozambique and Nigeria....   [tags: Africa, South Africa, African Union]

Strong Essays
1409 words (4 pages)

Essay about HIV in South Africa

- A country once in denial now has it’s South African political leaders addressing the disease that is slowing killing their population The Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) which evolves into acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) is affecting South Africa socially as well as economically. This disease is also leaving over a million and a half children orphaned. Most of these children are not only orphaned but living with the virus as well. Brief History of HIV/AIDS and Government Involvement in South Africa The Centers for disease control (CDC) has declared AIDS a global pandemic....   [tags: HIV in Africa]

Strong Essays
1760 words (5 pages)

The Abolition Of Colonialism On Sub Saharan Africa Essays

- Since 1960, the imposition of colonialism on sub-Saharan Africa has affected the continent in many ways. Pacifically political and economic development. Africa has gone through so much just to become an independent country. Going back 1870 when Belgians began to trade with Africans in the Congo. The other European countries began to worry about missing out on the many amazing raw materials Africa possessed. The most important factor that motivated European colonial expansion was economic gain. This is due to industrial revolution, which began in Britain in the second half of the eighteenth century....   [tags: Africa, Colonialism, Sub-Saharan Africa]

Strong Essays
1210 words (3.5 pages)

Colonial Rule in Africa Essay

- The African continent is one of the biggest land masses on the planet. With its massive population, tremendous natural resources, and rich cultural history, one has to wonder why any country in the continent holds a third world status. The amount of corruption and poverty within many states in Africa is astounding, and in order to unearth the reasons for the state of many African nations today one must go back to the late nineteenth century to when Africa was partitioned by the major European powers of the time....   [tags: Africa, exploitation, Europe, colonies]

Strong Essays
2153 words (6.2 pages)

The Geographic, Political, and Ethnic Impact European Colonialism Has Played on the Present History of Africa

- There is an ongoing debate on how the current political and economic failures in Africa can be traced back to the advent of colonialism. There is a great deal of evidence that illustrates the impact that colonialism and foreign intervention has had a negative effect on the development of present history of Africa. This essay will attempt to examine the geographic, political and ethnic impact European colonialism has played on the development of the African, and how these contributions have put Africa on its current trajectory....   [tags: Political Science]

Strong Essays
1493 words (4.3 pages)

Colonialism And Its Effects On Africa Essay

- some of Asia were sketched and colored in yellow. Piled up on the surface of Europe and North America were dozens if not hundreds of shiny gold stones. Europe and North America were the only two continents with piles of these gold stones. Having been born in Africa, I quickly noticed the odd surface color of Africa. The landscape of Africa was dug up and covered with mud, unlike the other four continents that were also sketched in the cartoon. At the center of the dug up landscape of Africa were also shiny gold rocks, but only four sitting on top of the mud dirt....   [tags: Atlantic slave trade, Africa, Continent, Slavery]

Strong Essays
751 words (2.1 pages)

Essay about Nelson Mandela As A Hero Of South Africa

- Was Nelson Mandela considered a hero to South Africa. He displays his heroic characteristics as being very wise, a brave leader and highly respected and loved nationally. People think of Nelson Mandela as the South African version of Martin Luther King Jr. This is correct. He is known for bringing peace to South Africa, which was racially segregated and believed in participating in human rights globally. No one was ever as brave and confident as Nelson Mandela was. It is not easy changing a world for the better without the chaos and difficulties, but Mr....   [tags: South Africa, Nelson Mandela]

Strong Essays
796 words (2.3 pages)

Essay on Leadership Traits

- Leadership Traits As a growing debate, the question at hand is whether great leaders are born with specific leadership traits, or if one can be taught certain traits over time. According to ( the approach of listing leadership qualities, often termed "trait theory of leadership", assumes certain traits or characteristics will tend to lead to effective leadership. I believe that leadership traits such as honest, competent, initiative, inspiring, hardworking, intelligent, and the ability to lead the masses, are some of the leadership traits one should possess....   [tags: Leadership]

Strong Essays
710 words (2 pages)

South Africa's Historical Complexity Essay

- South Africa's Historical Complexity After having studied Cape Town, South Africa for the past months, I have had the opportunity to come face to face with a place whose culture and history outdoes most other places in the world. Their respect for their historical past and their want to preserve it is remarkable. In 1948, the South African government began to limit the freedom of black Africans. In fact, it was at this point in history that the government officially launched a system of apartheid....   [tags: South Africa History Historical Essays Papers]

Strong Essays
987 words (2.8 pages)