wyly wrote:but the OP was most influential political/military leaders, so it isn't that important that Mohammad's ideology was continued by others but that it was and his influence is still being felt to this day.
That doesn't matter. Mohammed's direct influence was only felt on the Arabian Peninsula, and he is a good candidate for "most influential political/military leader of the Middle East." Although there is only one degree of separation between him and the other "rightly guided" caliphs, it was those others that were responsible for spreading Islam to North Africa.
Hannibal has historical fame and that's it, he briefly terrorized the Romans until the Romans obliterated him and Carthage from history, neither he or Carthage left any lasting influence. Your earlier offer of Usman dan Fodio would be a much better choice than Hannibal.
As I've already said, I'm treating sub-Saharan Africa and North Africa as separate entities.
Rhodes is very good choice a blatant imperialist that shaped southern africa, I was trying to think of one colonizers but none came to mind...Mandela's influence will shape coming generations of Africans his respect is around the world is significant even if the current dictators of Africa now are uninfluenced by him.
You're confusing respect from bleeding-heart European and American liberals for respect from people who actually have the capacity to shape national and international politics. Mandela's legacy has no influence in Africa beyond the borders of South Africa, and even there it has been severely weakened by the antics of people such as Thabo Mbeki. His influence on Europeans and Americans is the result of the 80s propaganda campaign on the part of the ANC and its ideological allies, which have successfully managed to convince a whole bevy of Westerners that a man who happened to be in the right place at the right time, and who acted his part adequately, is one of the greatest leaders the world has seen.
Potemkin wrote:Both Gandhi and Mandela are the 'feel good' candidates. Their actual achievements and long-term legacy were and will be not as great as some people would like to think. It tends to be the ruthless bastards who leave a lasting legacy, not the nice guys.
I quite certainly agree. Gandhi is just as equally overrated as is Mandela. The most influential Indian leader would be somebody like Ashoka or the Buddha, or possibly one of the Mughal Emperors.
As societies mature our moral zietgeist change, behavior that was acceptable 50, 40, or as little as 10 years ago are no longer acceptable. So the murderous bastards from history who we tend to label as "The Great" no longer bestow that honor on, now we call them mass murders, dictators, tyrants, or the latest terms "the accused" or " the defendant". Like Jesus, Buddha, Confucius, Mohammad, Martin Luther the message really does have a longer influence and appeal than violence. Appreciation of Mandela and Gandhi's appeal/philosophy will grow with time.