The world lost a great and inspirational leader earlier this month when Nelson Mandela passed away.
In Part One of this series we took a brief look at his remarkable life in order to begin making connections between his actions and the strong personality traits we see on his face.
By analyzing his young face, as often happens, we were able to identify a number of traits that contributed to his effectiveness as an important leader of South Africa’s anti-apartheid movement.
In Part Two we study photos taken later in his life and see shifts in the structure of his face. Interestingly, while his young face lacked traits we might have expected to see in such a powerful figure, in his mid- and later-life years many of these showed up.
A skeptic who doesn’t know how to read faces might suggest I am imagining or fabricating the personality traits I’m pointing out on Mandela’s face. In fact, I’m not. What is remarkable to me is that this face includes so many features (and therefore aspects of his personality) that could work together and contribute so directly and effectively to his anti-apartheid mission.
For example, note the juncture of his two lips, the place where the upper lip meets the lower lip. This tells us he was not class conscious. He simply didn’t see one group of people as better than another.
Note also the size of his mouth. It’s wide, side to side, for the size of his face which indicates a generosity of spirit, a willingness to give and give.
Also, the structure of his jaw below his ears indicates he was able to summon up all sorts of energy and work tirelessly. He was a marathoner, not a sprinter. No one should have been surprised that he spent his entire life pursuing his goal.
Now look at those amazing creases in his cheeks. They tell us two important things about him…that he was driven by the need to be loved and respected, and that he felt a strong need to change the world. The way those sit on his face indicates that he not only thought about improving the world, he was willing to put that into action.
Mandela’s neck, an indicator of his determination, varied in size throughout his life. It started of average thickness, then became much heavier (when he took up the mantle against apartheid and organized people against it), and then shrank to more modest proportions. (We get a good sense about his determination from this 1960’s photo of him before he was put in prison.)
Besides his need to give and pay attention to others’ needs, his upper lip also indicates that Mandela could withstand tremendous discomfort. For some people pain and discomfort brings them to their knees. For Nelson Mandela, it stimulated him and brought him to life.
Note the wide base of his nose, a sign of being open to new thinking, new ideas and new approaches.
His cheeks house another very telling trait: He had an almost wide-eyed idealistic view of life. With this trait he saw in his mind how wonderful life could be and, because of his other qualities, just couldn’t help himself from wanting to make the world better. This trait brought out a competitiveness in him that caused him to work to make it better.
Finally, leaders often have very wide foreheads because they like (and need) to manage people and run the show. When he was young Mandela’s forehead could have been wider. As he grew older, as seen in the pictures here, his forehead widened, reflecting an expanding natural talent in this area.
As face readers, it’s exciting to see so many salient prominent features converge on one face. And yet this is the face of a remarkable individual who was able to bring out radical change affecting millions of people and even the world.
Nelson Mandela’s face is truly as remarkable as he was.
FOR MORE IMAGES OF NELSON MANDELA:
FOR MORE ON NELSON MANDELA’S LIFE, SEE
Photo courtesy of Daniel Bowen and Creative Commons vs Flickr