Don’t let them go
Sometimes you might have the tendencies to just let your ‘enemies go’. You want to avoid them so that things would get better and you would feel more comfortable. Those are natural tendencies we exhibit to protect ourselves and our emotions. The great novelist and one of my favorites, Mario Puzo said “Keep your friends close but your enemies closer”. This is exactly what Mandela did.
In Richard Stengel’s book ‘Mandela’s Way: Lessons on life’, he shared how Mandela kept Mangosuthu Buthelezi, the Zulu leader very close despite having a lot of disagreement. Mandela always had the feeling that your enemies cannot be left on their own and should always be watched with both eyes.
Concerning Buthelezi, Mandela said he was so dangerous that he needed to ‘keep an eye on him’. It was without surprise then that when he became President, he chose Buthelezi as member of his cabinet. Richard Stengel says that “Mandela knew there was no fail-safe method preempting attacks by rivals”.
Mandela did not keep them close because he wanted to; he kept them close because he needed to. That’s the kind of approach we should all have concerning our supposed rivals or enemies.
We might not necessarily have to smile with them but as Mandela did we need to keep them close. Imagine if Buthelezi was left alone, he would have plotted against Mandela or made him experience a tough time in power. But Mandela knew beyond emotions, he knew beyond friendship, he knew what he had to do to maintain peace.
It was not convenient but he did it anyway. In your leadership seat, there are people you might not relate with, some you disagree with but bring them close. Make sure that all the Buthelezi’s around you are watched with a close eye. It’s better to see danger from a close distance than a far one, that way you might have the chance to avoid it.