The CEO of the Nelson Mandela Foundation, Mr. Sello Hatang, acknowledged Memela Pratt, led by Anne Pratt, for their support of the NMF and pointed out that Memela Pratt and Associates appeared as a donor in the latest annual report of the Foundation. Anne enabled by her strong team were committed over time to the Mandela Brand of Leadership. Click on the link at the end of the page below to view an excerpt from the 2013:2014 Nelson Mandela Foundation Annual Report.
2020 Perspective of Our Advocacy of Mandela and his Foundation
“Just 13 Words from Nelson Mandela Fortified my Moral Courage to ‘do the right thing’ and led me to Harvard to Impact Leadership Excellence and Better our World.” – Anne Pratt.
Anne Pratt, a co-founding Partner of Memela Pratt & Associates, a highly rated, top reputation Executive Leadership Search and Advisory firm in South Africa, recommits financial and professional support as a Mandela Legacy Advocate for and with the Nelson Mandela Foundation (NMF). Mandela’s leadership legacy is an empirical case for HOPE for our divided nations and our fragile and chaotic world.
Pratt a finalist in the 2009 BWA Nedcor South African businesswoman of the year award. Pratt, her close friend, business partner, Totsie Memela, and their company Memela Pratt & Associates, have nurtured a long-standing, collaborative, and warm relationship with the Nelson Mandela Foundation. They supported important NMF events that affirm and reinforce Mandela’s brand of leadership, his life, and his legacy. The NMF, founded by Nelson Mandela in 1999, is a non-profit organization focused on essential leadership aspects: memory, dialogue, and legacy work.
Pratt has hopeful convictions for leadership, citing that Mandela’s paradigm of leadership is key to the successful transformation of South Africa from a police state to a globally respected democratic New South Africa and worldwide. What makes Mandela so influential, revered, loved, respected, and admired?
Mandela’s fortified moral courage is just one aspect. Always one to stand tall for freedom, dignity, human rights, and respect, in October 1963, Mandela, along with ten other co-accused, went on the ‘trial that changed South Africa,’ in the High Court in Pretoria. He never lost the opportunity of the moment and stood firm on his principles and values. Even while facing the potential death penalty, he sent a clear message to South Africans and the world in a global media coverage trial. From the dock, Mandela condemned the South African legal system as one that is illegitimate. In 1980, from his prison cell during his 27 years of incarceration, Mandela launched a Supreme Court appeal against his correctional officers (prison warders) for failing to deliver his letters to his much-loved wife, Winnie Mandela.
“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” – Nelson Mandela.
Exercising leadership must be viewed in a context, a moment in history, a moment in time. Who would have thought, and how different the account and moment is looking back in time. When exercising leadership, we need to take a firm position and stand and decide which side of history we are on. In 2016 in South Africa, a Sunday Times article revealed the role of the CIA in his arrest in 1962, referencing him as “the world’s most dangerous communist outside of the Soviet Union.” Post his release, Mandela became a global champion of change, and the USA embraced him with dignity and respect.
Mandela’s ability to accept his own and our human imperfections and frailties, his ability to see the ‘bigger picture, and purpose,’ while being willing to stand firm on principles and to ‘discipline’ with loving support, led him to support those that others continue to judge. What can we learn from this action?
“I learned to find peace amidst the turmoil, a need to forgive others for their wrongdoing. And then I realized, in times of crisis and life’s adversity, no matter why things go wrong or who we depend on, we quietly blame, shame, and punish ourselves. The hardest thing was then to forgive me.” – Anne Pratt
In June 2005, former Deputy President and subsequently President of South Africa, Jacob Zuma, looked down and out and was mired in debt. Then-President Thabo Mbeki, Mandela’s successor, fired Zuma as deputy president of South Africa. Zuma’s financial adviser, convicted of fraud and corruption, and Zuma himself was facing charges. A rescue intervention came from Nelson Mandela, who bailed Zuma out with a cheque for 1m Rand, an amount that was then worth about £80,000. Observers say it was Zuma’s shady associations linked to fraud and corruption, that motivated Mandela to intervene to help both Zuma – a fellow struggle comrade and former Robben Island prisoner – and protect the good reputation of the ANC. Interestingly, the KPMG audit report quotes from an internal bank memo from 1998 that allegedly refers to Mandela and the ANC treasurer having disciplined Zuma over his financial affairs. An act of Mandela’s love, forgiveness, non-judgment, and discipline combined.
“One of the things I learned when I was negotiating was that until I changed myself, I could not change others.”- Nelson Mandela.
It was not all high politics either. Economics and financial education were important too. New laws in South Africa give career preferences and opportunities to those previously disadvantaged. Fellow co-accused, Mac Maharaj, completed an MBA while serving his 12-year sentence on Robben Island and became a Board Director of several high profile companies in South Africa, including FirstRand Holding Group, FirstRand Bank.
Mandela’s human interconnectedness and generosity of spirit, ubuntu, evoked many acts of kindness and generosity in return, from revered friends worldwide. Just two examples include: Oprah Winfrey in 2007 built the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa, often termed the ‘miracle’ school, which serves the needs of underprivileged girls who come from traumatic, impoverished backgrounds, from all nine provinces across South Africa. The school extends the concept of traditional ‘education’ called by Mandela as ‘the most powerful weapon to change the world.’ It gives them a formal education and training in emotional, physical, and spiritual lessons in Leadership at the University of Life. Several young girls have gone on to Oxford, Cambridge, Stanford, and other leading universities to ‘pay it forward.’ Post Mandela’s passing in 2013, the Canadian government donated R 25 million to the Nelson Mandela Children’s hospital. Breaking ground at its site in Parktown, Johannesburg, in 2014, the hospital received financial support from a host of South African and international philanthropists and organizations, including the Bill Gates Foundation, Kellogg Foundation, Islamic Relief Worldwide, and industrialist Eric Samson.
Mandela’s moral courage, multiple intelligences, the human gift of our common humanity, and his leadership legacy apply today. As the COVID-19 global pandemic shines a spectacular spotlight on the 2020 challenges of a worldwide health crisis, inextricably linked with a worldwide economic meltdown, and an international call to action to navigate the turmoil turbulence, Mandela reminds us: “It’s in Our Hands.”
Is it not time to “Awaken Our Inner Mandela?”