We Need Each Other – Desmond Tutu

 “We are made to be dependent on one another.”

Desmond Tutu said this in a speech made during Leadercast. He spoke live from the Cape Town location and was beamed into 130 plus nations.

Tutu told stories of how Nelson Mandela had valued people on the way to becoming an extraordinary leader.

Nelson Mandela transitioned from an angry man to one who walked in forgiveness. His classroom for this development was 27 years in prison! The man who emerged to lead a nation, displaying no public bitterness or spite.

Mandela would do such things as have tea with the widow of the architect of apartheid. He was known for thanking the cooks in person in the kitchen following official functions. He even did this in Tutu’s home the night before he was “released” from prison officially. In the face of such a historic event, Mandela valued people and knew that we need each other.

Tutu commented on these events by saying, “imagine a world in which the values of human beings outweighed politics and economics. Imagine if Africa had presidents with these attributes.”

I’ve spoken before in this blog about my gratitude to Desmond Tutu for his part in changing this nation, and changing my family.

The room was electric as Tutu spoke. To be learning about leadership from a nation builder is something I will never forget.

One of my biggest takeaways was how he used Mandela as an example but did not tell his own stories. Desmond Tutu has plenty of his own examples, but is content to elevate Mandela and downplay himself.


He then described leadership in these words:

“Good leaders listen and are not factional. They listen to all. They act in the good of all

“Good leaders are servants of the people they lead.”

“Good leaders have nothing to hide are accountable.”

“Good leaders lead – not take popular decisions.”

“Good leaders are there to navigate, to guide, and to support.  Good leaders know the way.”


And in conclusion he added…


“Good leaders know when to retire.”

There is a lot of truth in that final statement. Tutu then giggled and walked off the stage.

This had been rumored to be his final public speech, so perhaps this was the end to his public career…knowing when to retire.

The world needs more Nelson Mandela’s and more Desmond Tutu’s.

But, even more than that, the world needs you and me doing our part.

Because we need each other.