To better guide our youth towards excellence, happiness and freedom, Elimu offers you five character traits of great leaders from which we should draw inspiration

I. The determination and commitment of Nelson Mandela

Changing the world is obviously not an easy thing to do. Along the way, there will be setbacks and oppositions to all your plans, regardless of the goal. This is why determination is an essential trait. The ability to stick to a plan, and to persevere in the face of opposition is a necessary trait that all great leaders share.
Former South African President Nelson Mandela, who spent 28 years in prison for his protests against apartheid in his native country, demonstrated that the amazing transformations that can be achieved by standing up for our beliefs and being ready to work hard for it.

II. The visionary leadership of Marcus Garvey

The ability to conceive of reality in a new way is another characteristic of a great leader. He must be ready to stand out from the crowd, and even be ridiculed for his new ideas and thoughts in order to make a difference. Many revolutionary thinkers were often considered strange or even crazy, but they never let the disapproval of the crowd stop them from acting in a revolutionary way.
Marcus Garvey, is often called the father of black nationalist movements in Africa and the Americas. He was perceived by some black leaders as a controversial figure. However, his vision of a new world in which black people would be masters of their own destiny served as the inspiration for the creation of more than 30 countries on the African continent and several of the main black organizations in the United States and In the Caribbean.

III. The spiritual basis of Malcolm X

A surprising number of the planet’s great leaders had a strong religious or spiritual background. Indeed, many of them became leaders after a conversion or a religious revelation. The conversation of Malcolm X, human rights activist and revolutionary thinker and his devotion to Islam is one of the best examples. It was his dedication to the spiritual tradition that transformed him from a petty burglar, arrested in 1945, to a great leader.
While devotion to a specific religion might not be a requirement for all changemakers, it is impossible to discount the positive effect that adherence to a spiritual tradition seems to have had on leaders of the past. Perhaps even non-religious people could benefit from daily practice, especially community practice, to help keep them grounded and inspired by something bigger than themselves.

IV. The inspiration of Martin Luther King Jr

The ability to inspire others to action is key to spreading positive ideas. Throughout history, great leaders have been praised for their ability to inspire and motivate others. Nothing great happens alone, and everyone needs a community behind them to make things happen. To bring this community together, you need to be able to articulate your goals and explain to others why they should achieve their dreams on their own.

Martin Luther King Jr. is perhaps the best example of such inspiration. Known for his ability to make words motivational and empowering, MLK’s message for freedom and equality has inspired an entire nation.

V. The self-confidence of Sojourner Truth

Portrait of African-American orator and civil rights activist Sojourner Truth (1797 – 1883), 1860s. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

It is often claimed that the diverse experiences of people of color are unimportant or invalid. Other races and groups often express surprise when we speak loudly. It’s in these times in particular that it’s important to look to those who have come before us to bequeath us the confidence we need, like Sojourner Truth, best known for his “Ain’t I A Woman” speech.
What many people do not know is that this famous speech was given spontaneously, before a large audience of people attending the 1851 Women’s Rights Convention in Akron, Ohio.
Former slave Sojourner Truth was acutely aware of the likelihood that her speech would not be well received. Still, she was confident enough to stand up and speak her truth no matter what.

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