Life Lessons from Nelson Mandela: Do you talk the talk – and walk the walk?

There has been an overwhelming positive and negative reaction to the release of the book: Life Lessons from Nelson Mandela about lockdown.

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The power of social media

Within hours, hundreds, if not thousands, of comments were posted all over social media, Facebook, Twitter, and in the newspapers. This once again confirms the power of social media today.

Research opportunity 

Although all the media coverage initially was quite a shock, the academic and researcher in me, fortunately, kicked in.

From a research point of view, every comment represents at least 1000 other people with the same ideas, values, and mindset. This was an ideal opportunity to learn more.

The questions that arose were: What are all these people trying to say? What is going on beneath the surface? What can we learn from this? Where do you/I stand? Is there something we need to do? What is the call to action?

I decided to use all this information as a ‘research project’ to learn more about the people, in their current situations.

Learning to understand

The process followed the following steps:

  • Analysing each comment
  • Identifying underlying trends and messages
  • Personally, contacting each person behind the comment (as far as possible)
  • Questionnaire: to find out where each person stood
  • Identifying underlying problems
  • Identifying possible solutions.
  • Identifying a new plan of action: Call to action.

The results:

By analysing the comments, we found two primary groups, namely positive and negative comments and feedback.

Group 1: Positive feedback

Positive feedback came from people who had followed the daily Life Lessons from Nelson Mandela posts on the website, LinkedIn, and Facebook. These comments also included people who actually read the book.

The subjects of the comments included:

  • Thank you for the insight”
  •  “This opened my eyes to deeper understanding.”
  •  “Enjoyed every step of the way.”
  •  “Nelson Mandel was truly an extraordinary man.”
  •  “Very few people will be able to understand the Madiba-wisdoms as it comes from such a deep place of universal understanding.”
  • “Thank you for sharing.” Etc…

Group 2: Negative feedback

Here we found four different themes:

  • Theme 1: Anger and outrage

This group was outraged because of the sentence on the back of the book that read: “Nelson Mandela entered prison as a terrorist and murderer.

Although this statement was true for that time, I made the mistake by not giving context to the information on the back cover.  After an apology, this was removed from the book cover, and explained in the content of the book.  

  • Theme 2: Nelson Mandela and white people

The next group was angry because I am white: The following comments were received:

  • You cannot write about Nelson Mandel, because you are white.”
  • Nelson Mandela belongs to black people – not to your kind.”
  • “You just want to make money…”
  • “What are you trying to achieve by using a black hero?”
  • Theme 3: Nelson Mandela seen as a ‘traitor’.

This group was very angry about the attention that Nelson Mandela got, and is still getting: Comments included:

  • Nelson Mandela is a traitor of all black people.”
  • Nelson Mandela let his people down – he should have killed all the whites.”
  •  “Nelson Mandela should have been assassinated — he betrayed his people by not killing all the whites.”
  • Theme 4: Comments about farm murders and religion

These comments primarily came from white readers: Comments included:

  • Why do you, as a white, support the ANC while you know that they just want to take everything away from our people?”
  •  “Why do you support the blacks – hundreds of farm murders are taking place and the ANC is doing nothing?”
  •  “What do you want to achieve by supporting a black leader like Nelson Mandela and the ANC?”
  • “Why do you support Nelson Mandela? You know he wasn’t a Christian?”


The deduction we can make is that people are trying to say something. There are unresolved, deeper-lying negative issues that bubble up to the surface with the slightest provocation/trigger. Underlying pain, resentment, judgment, anger, hate, racism, entitlement, religious prejudice, ignorance, vengeance, blaming, and shaming, are all seeking resolution.

Importance of paying attention

It is important to pay attention to these issues as this is prevalent on a personal, group, community, tribal, political, business, religious, and even national level, Remember, each comment represents at least one thousand people. These kinds of underlying negative forces, keep people and organisations, even a whole country, back. It even sabotages any movement forward.  

Fortunately, the psychologist and healer in me kicked in. 

Follow up

I decided to personally follow up on each comment. (as far as possible.) Personal messages were sent via Messenger to the two groups:

Group 1: Positive comments

The following message was sent via Messenger:

“Hi – thanks for your positive comments on the book: ‘Life Lessons from Nelson Mandela’about lockdown’. Could you please help us to further understand the process by answering the following questions?”

  1. Do you think Nelson Mandela and universal wisdom are still applicable today?
  2. What life lessons have you personally learnt from Nelson Mandela?
  3. What values do you think we should be teaching our children, the next generation, and our current leaders?”

Results: Group 1: Feedback

Answer rate: 87%. Nearly all the people we contacted answered the questions and gave suggestions.

Feedback received: Answers to these questions included:

  1. Yes, these are universal wisdoms and applicable to everyone
  2. I have learnt: Love, forgiveness, and keeping an open mind an open heart.
  3. Children should be taught these universal wisdoms at home and at school. Especially because religion in homes and schools is not necessarily prominent. Current leaders need to understand these wisdoms if we want to move forward.

Group 2: Negative comments

The following message was sent via Messenger:

“Hi – thanks for your comment on the book: Life Lessons from Nelson Mandela about lockdown. The issue you were angry about, has been rectified. Could you please help us to further understand the process by answering the following questions?

  1. Do you think Nelson Mandela and universal wisdoms are still applicable today?
  2. What life lessons have you learnt from Nelson Mandela?
  3. What values do you think we should be teaching our children, the next generation, and current leaders?”

Results: Group 2

Answer rate: 0%. Nobody answered the questions or gave any feedback.

The two comments received, were aimed at ‘telling me where to get off’, in a language we cannot repeat here.  😊

This leaves us with the question: Although it is easy to talk to talk – can you walk the walk?


To summarise the following:

  • There is a larger group who are struggling with personal and collective negativity, pain, hurt, loss, concerns, grievances, and inequities from the presents and past. They are primarily in the struggle and survival mode. These are people primarily driven by the past.
  • There is a smaller group of people who have broken free from negativity, pain, past inequities, who are open to learning and ready to move forward. These are peopledriven by a positive vision of the future.

The question is: What do we need to do?

Before we can think of answering this question, we first need a bit of background


Currently, humanity is going through a shift. This is not only a mind-shift, but also a power-shift. This power shift is a shift in consciousness, a shift in awareness that reaches right down to our DNA-blueprint.

Global DNA is changing

 This means that, on a global scale, our DNA-blueprint is changing. It is upgrading to a new version of success, happiness, and progress.  Something like upgrading to Success-DNA 2.0

  • Influence of Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown

The Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown have changed everything. We can metaphorically see this a universal pause, gifted to humanity in order to sort themselves out. There is now a before Covid-19 (BC) and after Covid-19 (AC) and lockdown.

It is important to take note that some will be able to make this shift and make the’ upgrade’ – while others will stay behind.  

  • Authentic Leadership

Nelson Mandela is one of the real, authentic leaders who set the example of how to break free and make the leap to the next level. He called this process: The Long Walk to Freedom

It is however important to understand where Madiba was coming from before we can understand the importance of the wisdom he left for us, and steps we can follow. We also need to ask if this wisdom is still applicable today.

  • Where was Nelson Mandela coming from?

Below we find the natural progression of human consciousness and understanding. Not everyone has the ability to make these shifts in their lifetime. This has nothing to do with your financial, academic, or social status. It has everything to do with your level of mindful awareness and universal consciousness. Those who stay behind, cannot understand the higher echelons of wisdom. They then think these people are ‘crazy’.  

Levels of consciousness & understanding

Levels of consciousness and understanding.

Nelson Mandela could rise above the lower levels of the tribal mind and blind faith, in search of a deeper knowing and understanding. This opened the door to universal wisdom. Very few people reach this level of maturity. This explains why very few leaders today reach the level of wisdom. It also explains why fewer people really understand the life lessons Nelson Mandela has left for us. Madiba, like other authentic leaders, set a benchmark and standards for all of us to follow. Not only are teaching these wisdoms applicable today – it is a necessity if we want to secure a positive future.   

  • Overcoming the tribal mind and blind faith.

Tribal faith is also blind faith governed by disconnect and fear. Once you can break through the brain-barrier and fear-factor, you can start thinking for yourself. Here you find the individual mind and objective thinking. This opens the door to a higher mind with deeper knowing and understanding. The ultimate goal is to connect to Universal Truth, in short – universal wisdom. We then live a life directed by the universal mind with universal faith and wisdom as our compass. This is the level Nelson Mandela and other authentic leaders could sustain.

However, a still deeper change is taking place

The restoration of human consciousness

Currently, the whole of humanity is going through a power shift – right down to a DNA level. We are finding and recovering our disconnected and lost DNA success-blueprint, as we speak. We are becoming more and more aware of our Universal/God-given power and potential encoded as our unique DNA-blueprint being returned to its original form.

We are even going through a genetic shift – a rebirth. This is happening without many people begin aware of these processes in play. Below you find an artist’s representation of this genetic shift[i]

We can identify four steps

  1. Homo sapiens animalis: Animalistic nature; ‘monkey see – monkey do’ stage. Especially found in small children
  2. Homo sapiens sapiens: Surviving in the urban jungle. Power, positions and possessions are important. Need to keep up with the ‘Joneses’. External motivation.
  3. Homo sapiens individualis: Have outgrown tribal mind. Can think independently. Are open-minded and open-hearted. Internal compass and inspiration
  4. Homo sapiens spiritualis. A spiritual wise human being returning to our original DNA-blueprint. Showing the way.

Where do you currently stand?

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Genetic migration of humanity. Animalistic to spiritualisation

Who will move forward – who will stay behind?

Below you find a short summary of some of the traits of the two groups of who will be able to move forward and who will stay behind.

People who will stay behind People who will move forward
People who are fixated, inflexible and rigid; Brain blindness/paradigm blindness; Over investment in the old paradigm/tribal mind; Have too much to lose if they shift; Lack of deeper understanding and higher intelligence; Unresolved emotional problems and anxiety; Shadow ego-self is too strong and won’t let go; Angry and resentful about the past; Angry about new developments they didn’t create; A need to protect themselves and what they have; Unaware of their emotional & mental health and resilience; Part of the problem; Can’t keep up with change; Lazy; React without thinking; Self-centred and ego-driven; Driven by insecurity and fear   People who are: Flexible. Prepared to let go of the old and allow new in; Open-minded and open-hearted; Understand nothing lasts forever; Excited to learn something new; Intelligent and mature; Emotionally stable; Mature; Seek solutions; Devise action plans; Show the way Strong vision of future; Have personal calling; Understand their purpose; Bridgebuilders and catalysts for good; Aware of their emotional & mental health and resilience; Decided to be part of the solution; Can Create synergy; Wise leaders – they can ‘show the way’. Vigilant; Listen and do; Driven by internal inspiration, purpose, and vision  

Just imagine what it would be like living in a family, community, team, organization, and even a country where everyone was open, open-minded, open-hearted, ready to learn, and move to the next level? Below you find our artist’s view of these two paths.

What can we do?

From this process, we can identify a few things that can be done

  • Address the issues: We need to take cognisance of the underlying personal, emotional, political, religious, racial, and collective issues and negativity. This can and will pull a team, group, community, business, company, and even a country down. Leaders are faced with the challenge to address these issues by creating a space where issues can be addressed and resolved.

Note: We have developed a method to help real, authentic leaders with this daunting task.

Life lesson: Nelson Mandela set the example, with the help of Desmund Tutu, and created the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). This played a vital part in the transition and healing of South Africa as a country. It will once again, take some drastic action to turn a country like South Africa around from a ‘junk status’ to a flourishing African power to be reckoned with. Outside investors and job creation alone are not going to do the trick. The change needs to come from within – from the hearts and minds of the people.  The ANC, under the leadership of Nelson Mandela, succeeded in doing this once before. The ANC can do it again – if it is a priority.

  • Develop the positive group: Focus on growing the group of positive people who have already broken the tribal mold. These are people who are now searching for something new. These are the people who are ready to make the leap, to move to a higher level of understanding, and who are prepared to ‘upgrade’ to Success-DNA 2.0. My focus lies in growing this group by presenting new cutting edge information, books, and courses. Subscribe here for more information to be sent to you


Although these are fundamental, even grave issues that need to be dealt with, there is always something each one of us can do. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Become still – stop struggling, reacting, worrying, blaming, and/or shaming. Ask the question: What is the truth about everything that is going on? Listen. Truth sets you free.  
  • Make a choice: Do you talk the talk – and – walk the walk?
  • Seek new uplifting information: Our focus at the Centre for Power Intelligence is to develop ‘power people’. The Power Intelligence Leadership Academy (currently being updated) provides cutting edge assessment, training, courses, webinars, coaching, and mentoring. Subscribe and more information will be sent to you
  • Get your house in order: The aim is to help and assist people, teams, companies, and organisations to recover their DNA Success-blueprint while creating a new level of success, health, wealth, and happiness that benefits all.
  • Read something new: The book Life Lessons from Nelson Mandela about lockdown is available HERE  
  • Enroll for new courses: In celebration of Nelson Mandela’s birthday on 18 July, we are launching the course: Ten lessons from Nelson Mandela about life and Leadership, on Monday 13 July. Make sure you stay connected HERE.
  • To stay in the loop and for more information on how to recover your DNA success-blueprint, subscribe HERE. (You will also receive a free E-book: A glimpse into the life of an authentic leader.  )

The lesson I have learnt is: Nothing is ever as it seems…

Stay informed – Stay connected

Stay safe

Brenda Hattingh  

[i] Hattingh, Brenda. (2012.). New Success DNA. What you should know and how to          develop it. Currency Communications Pty.Ltd.: Johannesburg