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Nelson Mandela is one of the most inspiring, influential, and beloved figures in history. He was an activist, politician, and philanthropist, who fought for the rights of all South Africans and became the first democratically-elected President of South Africa in 1994. He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993 for his commitment to peace and human rights.
Mandela’s activism started early in life when he joined the African National Congress (ANC) in 1944 at the age of 23. Throughout his life, he fought against apartheid, an oppressive system of racial segregation in South Africa, and advocated for a multi-racial society. He served 27 years in prison under apartheid leadership, mostly at Robben Island, during which time he became the symbol of resistance against the government’s racially-discriminatory policies.
50 Nelson Mandela Quotes
Here are some of the best quotes about Nelson Mandela, one of the world’s most beloved leaders and humanitarians. These Nelson Mandela quotes act as a reminder of his legacy and the values he held close to his heart. We hope these quotes will inspire you to make a positive difference in the world and help create a more just and equitable society.
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20 Nelson Mandela Quotes
1. “A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination.”
2. “I am the captain of my soul.”
3. “A winner is a dreamer who never gives up.”
4. “It is our light, not our darkness, that most frighten us.”
5. “Money won’t create success, the freedom to make it will.”
6. “It always seems impossible until it’s done.”
7. “Overcoming poverty is not a gesture of charity. It is an act of justice.”
8. “To deny people their human rights is to challenge their very humanity.”
9. “As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.”
10. “After climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb.”
11. “Let there be justice for all. Let there be peace for all. Let there be work, bread, water, and salt for all.”
12. “Live life as though nobody is watching, and express yourself as though everyone is listening.”
13. “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
14. “Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies.”
15. “I like friends who have independent minds because they tend to make you see problems from all angles.”
16. “There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children.”
17. “The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”
18. “There is no passion to be found playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.”
19. “When a man is denied the right to live the life he believes in, he has no choice but to become an outlaw.”
20. “For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.”
15 Quotes of Nelson Mandela
21. “As I have said, the first thing is, to be honest with yourself. You can never have an impact on society if you have not changed yourself.”
22. “As I walked out the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if I didn’t leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I’d still be in prison.”
23. “I have taken a moment here to rest, to steal a view of the glorious vista that surrounds me, to look back on the distance I have come. But I can only rest for a moment, for with freedom come responsibilities, and I dare not linger, for my long walk is not ended.”
24. “It is better to lead from behind and to put others in front, especially when you celebrate victory when nice things occur. You take the front line when there is danger.”
25. “Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.”
26. “The power of education extends beyond the development of skills we need for economic success. It can contribute to nation-building and reconciliation.”
27. “Everyone can rise above their circumstances and achieve success if they are dedicated to and passionate about what they do.”
28. “As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
29. “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”
30. “If you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy. Then he becomes your partner.”
31. “The greatest glory in living lies not in falling, but in rising every time we fall.”
32. “Our single most important task is to help establish wide access to education for all.”
33. “Lead from the back — and let others believe they are in front.”
34. “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.”
35. “I am confident that nobody…will accuse me of selfishness if I ask to spend time, while I am still in good health, with my family.”
15 Quotes About Nelson Mandela
36. “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.”
37. “A fundamental concern for others in our individual and community lives would go a long way in making the world the better place we so passionately dreamt of.”
38. “You will achieve more in this world through acts of mercy than you will through acts of retribution.”
39. “No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion.”
40. “Man’s goodness is a flame that can be hidden but never extinguished.”
41. “We must use time wisely and forever realize that the time is always ripe to do right.”
42. “It is what we make out of what we have, not what we are given, that separates one person from another.”
43. “I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it.”
44. “I am not a saint unless you think of a saint as a sinner who keeps on trying.”
45. “Do not judge me by my successes, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again.”
46. “A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination.”
47. “The brave man is not the one who has no fears, he is the one who triumphs over his fears.”
48. “A leader…is like a shepherd. He stays behind the flock, letting the most nimble go out ahead, whereupon the others follow, not realizing that all along they are being directed from behind.”
49. “Sometimes, it falls upon a generation to be great. You can be that great generation. Let your greatness blossom.”
50. “It is important to emphasize that we cannot refer to any particular religion as the most peaceful, since all major religions have at some point, Human.”
5 Learning Lessons from Nelson Mandela
Nelson Mandela was a South African anti-apartheid revolutionary and politician who served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest leaders in history, and his life and work have inspired people around the world. Here are a few lessons that can be learned from Mandela’s life and legacy:
1. Forgiveness is Powerful
Mandela was imprisoned for 27 years for his opposition to South Africa’s racist and discriminatory policies. After his release, he could have sought revenge against those who had wronged him, but instead, he chose the path of forgiveness and reconciliation. This helped to heal the wounds of the past and pave the way for a more peaceful and prosperous future for South Africa.
2. Leadership is about Service
Mandela always put the needs of others before his own. He was willing to sacrifice his own freedom and well-being in order to fight for justice and equality. His leadership was characterized by humility, compassion, and a deep commitment to improving the lives of others.
3. Education is Crucial
Mandela recognized the importance of education in breaking the cycle of poverty and inequality. He placed a great emphasis on learning and believed that education was the key to building a better future for all South Africans.
4. Courage is Essential
Mandela faced many challenges and dangers in his fight against apartheid, but he never let fear hold him back. He stood up for what he believed in and was willing to take great risks in pursuit of his goals.
5. Unity is Strength
Mandela understood that the only way to achieve lasting change was to bring people together. He worked to unite people of all races, religions, and backgrounds in the struggle against apartheid, and he continued to promote unity and cooperation after taking office as President.
Overall, Mandela’s life and legacy teach us that it is possible to overcome adversity and achieve great things through forgiveness, leadership, education, courage, and unity.