Selected biographical summaries of a number of african leaders might show some patterns and show that there is no single stereotype that fits all:
- Jomo Kenyatta (~1889 - 22 August 1978) was the leader of Kenya from independence in 1963 to his death in 1978, serving first as Prime Minister (1963-64) and then as President (1964-78).
- Hastings Kamuzu Banda (c. March or April 1898 - 25 November 1997) was appointed prime minister of Nyasaland in 1963 and led the country to independence as Malawi a year later. Two years later, he proclaimed Malawi a republic with himself as president. He later declared Malawi a one-party state under the Malawi Congress Party (MCP). In 1970, the MCP made him the party’s President for Life. In 1971, he became President for Life of Malawi itself.
- Julius Nyerere (13 April 1922 - 4 October 1999) was the first Prime Minister of Tanganyika, then President from 1962-1964 when Tanganyika joined with Zanzibar and he became President of the United Republic of Tanzania until he resigned in 1985.
- Nelson Rohihlala Mandela after serving 27 years as a political prisoner, became democratic South Africa's first President in 1994, resigned after one term in 1999 and died in 2013 at the age of 95.
- Kenneth David Kaunda (born 28 April 1924), also known as KK, served as the first President of Zambia, from 1964 to 1991, when he was defeated in an election. Zambia has since then had 3 more peacefully elected presidents.
- Samuel Daniel Shafiishuna Nujoma (born 12 May 1929) was the first President of Namibia from 1990 to 2005. He led the South-West Africa People's Organization (Swapo) and remained President of Swapo from its founding in 1960 until 2007.
- Kwame Nkrumah: verseeing Ghana's independence from British colonization in 1957, Nkrumah was the first Prime Minister and first President until removed in a military coup in 1966.
- Sir Seretse Khama, Kbe (1 July, 1921 - 13 July, 1980). Born into the most powerful royal family of the then British Protectorate of Bechuanaland, and educated in Africa and in the United Kingdom, he returned home - with a popular but controversial (white) bride - to lead his country's independence movement. He became Prime Minister in 1965. In 1966, Botswana gained independence and Khama became its first president, until his death in 1980. His son, Ian Khama is the present, 4th president of Botswana, but has no children so there is little risk of a hereditary presidency.
- Moshoeshoe II (May 2, 1938 - January 15, 1996), was king of Lesotho from 1966, exiled by Prime Minister Leabua Jonathan in 1970 and deposed in 1990. He returned to rule from 1995 until his death in a car accident in 1996.
- Benedicto Kiwanuka. In 1958 he was elected President General of Uganda's Democratic Party, which won a majority in the March 1961 legislative elections, and he became Chief Minister in the Uganda Legislative Council. Uganda achieved internal self-government on March 1, 1962 and Benedicto Kiwanuka became Uganda's first Prime Minister. However, his party lost new elections in April 1962 to an alliance of Milton Obote's Uganda People's Congress and the Buganda traditionalist party, Kabaka Yekka. Uganda achieved full independence on October 9, 1962, with Obote as the first Prime Minister. Benedicto Kiwanuka was imprisoned in 1969 by Obote's government and murdered by Idi Amin's army.
- Apolo Milton Obote (28 December 1925 - 10 October 2005) was Prime Minister of Uganda from independence in 1962 to 1966 and President of from 1966 to 1971. He was overthrown by Idi Amin in 1971, but regained power from 1980-5 after Amin's 1979 overthrow. His second rule was marred by repression and the deaths of many civilians as a result of a civil war.
- António Agostinho Neto (September 17, 1922 - September 10, 1979) served as the first President of Angola (1975–1979), after having led the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (Mpla) in the war for independence (1961–1974). Until his death, he led the Mpla in the civil war (1975–2002).
- Robert Gabriel Mugabe (21 February 1924 - ) having manouevred his way to leadership of Zimbabwe's biggest political party during the 1966-80 war for independence, became Prime Minister in 1980 and President from 1987 to the present, in spite of being outvoted in 2000, 2002, 2008 and 2013.