Nelson Mandela as Negotiator: What Can We Learn from Him?

Harold I. Abramson
Touro College – Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Center


31 Ohio St. J. on Disp. Resol. 19 (2016)
Touro Law Center Legal Studies Research Paper Series No. 16-22


This article considers how “the greatest negotiator of the twentieth century,” Nelson Mandela, approached negotiating the unbanning of the African National Congress (ANC), the dismantling of apartheid, and his own freedom after twenty-seven years of imprisonment. He employed classically good negotiation practices in the face of intense and violent opposition while confined in prison for life. If he could be successful, why cannot lawyers succeed when facing less daunting disputes?

This article focuses on the period starting in 1985, when Mandela refused an offer to be released if he would condemn violence, until 1990, when President de Klerk gave his historic unbanning speech, Mandela was freed, and he gave his first speech as a free man.

Nelson Mandela as Negotiator- What Can We Learn from Him?

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