Nelson Mandela was born July 18, 1918 in Mvezo, a village not in the Human Design software but close enough to Durban to give a reliable Chart. So I’ve used Durban as his birthplace.
Of the five Types in Human Design, Nelson Mandela is a Projector, a Type with the potential to direct the energies of the ones around him, provided he is invited to do so and feels that his qualities are recognized. Projectors have the ability – and the need – to stand back from the general goings-on, sense where the collective energy needs to move and then offer their guidance and, in the case of Nelson Mandela, also inspiration.
He has the Channel of Logical Leadership (7-31), with the Sun, which represents 70% of our energy, in Gate 62, giving him the capacity to look far ahead and envision and communicate in a logical way the steps needed to reach a future that will be bright for all. When he steps into leadership, the strong placement of Jupiter and unconscious Pluto in the Gate of Humanity (15) encourage him to do so with humility and in service of his highest ideals.
The question of integrity in leadership – and in a deeper sense: what being a leader really means – must have accompanied him throughout his life. With his 5/1 Profile, others will have expected him to lead, whereas in his interior life he may have harbored doubts if he was the right person to implement the new values he sensed coming from his being. His purpose in life, described by his incarnation theme of Obscuration, is to bring in new values in a way that is only later recognized by the general public. Inner reflection could give him confidence, clarity and realignment with his own inspiration. He needed these to take on the role of the leader and hold up the banner of inspiration. It is quite possible that he had a secret way to access his guiding Spirit.
In the first half of his life, until 1961, I would say that Nelson Mandela was learning to find his inner resources; that which he could rely on in the face of changing circumstances. Once he found them, they were like a rock-solid foundation, enabling him to be the role model of integrity and unification that he was.
When he was elected president in 1994, Saturn had a chance to test him: Will you use your power primarily for your own benefit? Or can you apply the Mana you now have to empower and teach others by giving them the highest example, and then retreat from your position when the time is right? I think history makes it clear that Nelson Mandela passed that test gloriously.