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Andrew Russell  

Author of "The Leadership We Need: Lessons for Today from Nelson Mandela" and Story-Teller

Andrew Russell was born in Cape Town in 1964, the year Nelson Mandela was sent to Robben Island. He completed his schooling in 1982 – the same year Mandela was moved off Robben Island to Pollsmoor Prison.

In 2006 Russell founded a sports related charity called sport4kids, raising funds and collecting sports equipment for young disadvantaged boys and girls looking for opportunities to participate in sport. The charity has just completed funding one youngster on a bursary at a High School in Cape Town.

In July 2018, Christo Brand, one of Nelson Mandela’s former prison guards, asked Russell to be his Business Manager and they set out on an exciting adventure into the unknown to introduce the world to Christo and share his story.

In October 2023 Russell published his book, "The Leadership We Need – Lessons for Today from Nelson Mandela". A portion of the proceeds from the sale of every copy of his book will go to sport4kids. Russell will be a guest lecturer on the Queen Mary 2 next month. He has addressed a number of different groups both here in South Africa and in the USA during a speaking tour there in November 2023. These included U Mass Boston, The Henry Ford Museum and the San Antonio Spurs amongst others.

He is also the editor of the second edition of Christo Brand’s book called Doing life with "Mandela: My Prisoner, My Friend" which was published in September 2022.

Speech Topics


South Africa’s Long Journey to Freedom

In this talk Andrew will cover three sections:

  • A brief history of South Africa.
  • Andrew’s own journey growing up as a white English-speaking South African; experiencing the dismantling of the oppressive system of apartheid; taking part in South Africa’s first free and fair democratic elections, and witnessing Nelson Mandela become President of South Africa.
  • Nelson Mandela’s journey which began in the small rural Eastern Cape village of Mvezo and ended with him being buried back in the Eastern Cape in the village in which he spent the happiest years of his life, Qunu.

Nelson Mandela – The Leadership We Need

Nelson Mandela played many roles throughout his life. In this talk Andrew will discuss five of these roles: educator, gardener, reconciler, strategist and leader. He will also discuss how Mandela managed to survive 27 ½ years in prison. And why in these current times of global strife and uncertainty, we need role models we can turn to for inspiration, guidance and genuine leadership. Nelson Mandela remains the default setting for world leadership. How come when he passed away there was such an outpouring of grief from billions of people across the world? What was it that made this man such an outstanding and unique leader? Come with Andrew on a journey of discovery into the life of Nelson Mandela – the rural Eastern Cape boy who became a reluctant president.

The Leadership We Need - A Practical, Interactive Leadership Session

The three aims of the session:

  • Understand more about each participant’s own leadership style and qualities.
  • Learn something about Nelson Mandela’s leadership style and the qualities he possessed, and how we can implement some of these in our own lives.
  • Leave the participants with three challenges.

Andrew will ask participants to participate in a number of practical and hands-on ways by answering questions and discussing different leadership scenarios.

There are so many qualities of Nelson Mandela’s leadership. We will focus on just three:

  • A readiness to serve others.
  • Humility.
  • Perserverance and Commitment.

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