Quotes from Nelson Mandela, 1918-2013

In his own words

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“Let freedom reign. The sun never set on so glorious a human achievement.”

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“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.”

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“In my country we go to prison first and then become President.”

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“I am fundamentally an optimist. Whether that comes from nature or nurture, I cannot say. Part of being optimistic is keeping one’s head pointed toward the sun, one’s feet moving forward. There were many dark moments when my faith in humanity was sorely tested, but I would not and could not give myself up to despair. That way lays defeat and death.”

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“Overcoming poverty is not a task of charity, it is an act of justice. Like Slavery and Apartheid, poverty is not natural. It is man-made and it can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings. Sometimes it falls on a generation to be great. YOU can be that great generation. Let your greatness blossom.”

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“Great anger and violence can never build a nation. We are striving to proceed in a manner and towards a result, which will ensure that all our people, both black and white, emerge as victors.”

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“We are fighting for a society where people will cease thinking in terms of colour.”

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“I had no epiphany, no singular revelation, no moment of truth, but a steady accumulation of a thousand slights, a thousand indignities and a thousand unremembered moments produced in me an anger, a rebelliousness, a desire to fight the system that imprisoned my people. There was no particular day on which I said, Henceforth I will devote myself to the liberation of my people; instead, I simply found myself doing so, and could not do otherwise.”

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“I am not a saint, unless you think of a saint as a sinner who keeps on trying.”

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“Lead from the back — and let others believe they are in front.”

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“I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.”

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“A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination.”

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“I remember we adjourned for lunch and a friendly Afrikaner warder asked me the question, “Mandela, what do you think is going to happen to you in this case?” I said to him, “Agh, they are going to hang us.” Now, I was really expecting some word of encouragement from him. And I thought he was going to say, “Agh man, that can never happen.” But he became serious and then he said, “I think you are right, they are going to hang you.”

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“No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”

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“When the water starts boiling it is foolish to turn off the heat.”

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“Everyone can rise above their circumstances and achieve success if they are dedicated to and passionate about what they do.”

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“I can rest only for a moment, for with freedom come responsibilities, and I dare not linger, for my long walk is not yet ended.”

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“Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies.”

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“I hate race discrimination most intensely and in all its manifestations. I have fought it all during my life; I fight it now, and will do so until the end of my days.”

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“We must use time wisely and forever realize that the time is always ripe to do right.”

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“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.”

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 “When a man has done what he considers to be his duty to his people and his country, he can rest in peace.”

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Thank you

Nelson Mandela

1918-2013

Rest in peace

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Mandela with children

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Invictus

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll.
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

William Ernest Henley, 1875

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Mandela with Thatcher

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About the Author: CFACT Ed

  • kuhnkat

    Unfortunately, this Communist made the mistake that all others have made. Thinking his faulty ideology and idealism can actually make things better. He and fellow travelers managed to take South Africa from a successful apartheid state with moderate violence to a failing hell hole with some of the worst violence in the world.

    Why are we supposed to idolize people who have made the world WORSE just because they killed a lot of people and mouthed some inspiring words??