Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date



African History | Arts and Humanities | History | Leadership Studies | Other Political Science | Other Psychology | Other Social and Behavioral Sciences | Political History | Political Science | Psychology | Social and Behavioral Sciences


The purpose of this paper is to examine salient factors accounting for South Africa’s relatively peaceful transition from apartheid state to nonracial democracy, focusing on the political personalities of South African leaders P.W. Botha, F.W. de Klerk, and Nelson Mandela. Following a brief overview of situational variables, the paper describes the political personalities of Mandela and De Klerk as assessed by the Millon-Type Political Personality Checklist (MPPC). The study shows that one cannot fully account for political developments in South Africa’s transition without considering (a) the interaction between situational variables and the political personalities of Nelson Mandela and F.W. de Klerk and (b) synergistic features in the personalities of these two leaders.