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Difference Between Nelson Mandela and Mahatma Gandhi

Nelson Mandela vs Mahatma Gandhi

Nelson Mandela and Mahatma Gandhi are two names associated with the political history of South Africa and India respectively. Both were different in their attitudes and character. It is interesting to note that they have never met each other. It is said that Nelson Mandela is a follower of the principles of Mahatma Gandhi.

It is interesting to note that Nelson Mandela’s political career began in the year 1949 after Gandhi secured the independence of India. Mandela won the election in 1948 as the Afrikaner National Party stamped its authority over ‘apartheid’. It is interesting to note that Mahatma Gandhi also worked for the removal of the guilt of looking people of the lower classes as untouchables.

Nelson Mandela was elected as the first president of South Africa to be elected in a fully representative democratic election. On the other hand, Mahatma Gandhi never contested in any election prior to or after the independence of India.

Mahatma Gandhi used non-violent, non-cooperation to oust the British from India. Nelson Mandela too clung firmly to the principles of non-violence for more than ten years and followed in the foot steps of Mahatma Gandhi.

One of the main differences between Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela is that Gandhi was never awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace. On the other hand, Nelson Mandela was awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace.  Mandela was given the Gandhi Award for non-violence from the World Movement for Non-violence. Interestingly this award was presented by Ms. Ela Gandhi, the grand daughter of Mahatma Gandhi.

Mandela is often referred to as ‘the Gandhi of South Africa’. On the other hand, Mandela described Gandhi as ‘the archetypical anti-colonial revolutionary’ leader. These are the important differences between Nelson Mandela and Mahatma Gandhi.


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