The question of whether the South African and American political environments have been dominated mostly by personality-based politics as opposed to issue-based politics is important to address. The argument in this paper is that although there is not a cold separation between personalities and issues, in the case of South Africa, while issues have largely defined politics, there has also been a great focus on personality-based politics. As for the United States of America (US), issues are primarily prioritised to the extent that there is a powerful personality to champion the issue. While the two countries have different experiences, they offer lessons to learn from each other.