Best Nelson Mandela Quotes I Wish I Had Read

Are you looking for Nelson Mandela quotes? If yes, you have come to the right place.

This man needs no introduction. Nelson Mandela was the first democratic elected President of South Africa. He was quite a charismatic leader and the face of Anti-Apartheid movement and fought against racial discrimination throughout his life. He served a long time in prison due to his actions but that didn’t stop him.

He didn’t lose hope and continued to fight. When he was freed, he was hailed as a hero who led the country into a free and equal future. It was his determination and focus that even after serving 30 years in prison, he got out and worked for the people.

We have compiled a list of Nelson Mandela quotes for you to read.

Enjoy!

Nelson Mandela Quotes

Anger

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

 

You will achieve more in this world through acts of mercy than you will through acts of retribution.

 

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… Man’s goodness is a flame that can be hidden but never extinguished.

 

Resentment is a method of self-harm.

 

I was a young man who attempted to make up for his ignorance with militancy.

 

When you are young and strong…you can stay alive on your hatred.

 

In another conversation I said, ‘Tell me the truth. When you were leaving prison after twenty-seven years and walking down that road to freedom, didn’t you hate them all over again?’ And he said, ‘Absolutely I did, because they’d imprisoned me for so long. I was abused. I didn’t get to see my children grow up. I lost my marriage and the best years of my life. I was angry. And I was afraid, because I had not been free in so long. But as I got closer to the car that would take me away, I realized that when I went through that gate, if I still hated them, they would still have me. I wanted to be free. And so I let it go.

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Courage

I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.

 

Courage is not the absence of fear — it’s inspiring others to move beyond it.

 

The brave man is not the one who has no fears, he is the one who triumphs over his fears.

 

Courageous people do not fear forgiving, for the sake of peace. Let your courage rise with danger.

 

Does anybody really think that they didn’t get what they had because they didn’t have the talent or the strength or the endurance or the commitment?

 

The human body has an enormous capacity for adjusting to trying circumstances. I have found that one can bear the unbearable if one can keep one’s spirit strong, even when one’s body is being tested. Strong convictions are the secret of surviving deprivation. Your spirit can be full even when your stomach is empty.

Education

Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.

 

Without education, your children can never really meet the challenges they will face. So it’s very important to give children education and explain that they should play a role for their country.

 

Running taught me valuable lessons. In cross-country competition, training counted more than intrinsic ability, and I could compensate for a lack of natural aptitude with diligence and discipline. I applied this in everything I did.

 

Like all Xhosa children, I acquired knowledge mainly through observation. We were meant to learn through imitation and emulation, not through questions. When I first visited the homes of whites, I was often dumbfounded by the number and nature of questions that children asked of their parents—and their parents’ unfailing willingness to answer them. In my household, questions were considered a nuisance; adults imparted information as they considered necessary.

 

There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children.

 

Education is the great engine of personal development. It is through education that the daughter of a peasant can become a doctor, that the son of a mineworker can become the head of the mine, that a child of farmworkers can become the president of a great nation. It is what we make out of what we have, not what we are given, that separates one person from another.

 

No country can really develop unless its citizens are educated.

 

On the first day of school, my teacher, Miss Mdingane, gave each of us an English name and said that from thenceforth that was the name we would answer to in school. This was the custom among Africans in those days and was undoubtedly due to the British bias of our education. The education I received was a British education, in which British ideas, British culture, British institutions, were automatically assumed to be superior. There was no such thing as African culture. Africans of my generation—and even today—generally have both an English and an African name. Whites were either unable or unwilling to pronounce an African name, and considered it uncivilized to have one. That day, Miss Mdingane told me that my new name was Nelson. Why she bestowed this particular name upon me I have no idea. Perhaps it had something to do with the great British sea captain Lord Nelson, but that would be only a guess.

 

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It was ANC policy to try to educate all people, even our enemies: we believed that all men, even prison service warders, were capable of change, and we did our utmost to try to sway them.

Empathy

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.

 

It is said that no one truly knows a nation until one has been inside its jails. A nation should not be judged by how it treats its highest citizens, but its lowest ones.

 

I learned that to humiliate another person is to make him suffer an unnecessarily cruel fate. Even as a boy, I defeated my opponents without dishonoring them.

 

Appearances matter — and remember to smile.

 

I always knew that deep down in every human heart, there was mercy and generosity.

 

People respond in accordance to how you relate to them. If you approach them on the basis of violence, that’s how they’ll react. But if you say, ‘We want peace, we want stability,’ we can then do a lot of things that will contribute towards the progress of our society.

 

I wondered–not for the first time–whether one was ever justified in neglecting the welfare of one’s own family in order to fight for the welfare of others. Can there be anything more important than looking after one’s aging mother? Is politics merely a pretext for shirking one’s responsibilities, an excuse for not being able to provide in the way one wanted?

 

One of the things I learned when I was negotiating was that until I changed myself, I could not change others.

 

Our human compassion binds us the one to the other – not in pity or patronizingly, but as human beings who have learnt how to turn our common suffering into hope for the future.

 

Man’s goodness is a flame that can be hidden but never extinguished.

 

There are so many men and women who hold no distinctive positions but whose contribution towards the development of society has been enormous.

 

Prison life, fortunately, I spent a lot of years, about 18 years with other prisoners, and, as I say, they enriched your soul.

 

There is little to be said in favour of poverty, but it was often an incubator of true friendship. Many people will appear to befriend you when you are wealthy, but precious few will do the same when you are poor.

 

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.

 

We were expected to destroy one another and ourselves collectively in the worst racial conflagration. Instead, we as a people chose the path of negotiation, compromise and peaceful settlement. Instead of hatred and revenge we chose reconciliation and nation-building.

 

I detest racialism, because I regard it as a barbaric thing, whether it comes from a black man or a white man.

 

Without language, one cannot talk to people and understand them; one cannot share their hopes and aspirations, grasp their history, appreciate their poetry, or savor their songs.

 

I shall stick to our vow: never, never under any circumstances, to say anything unbecoming of the other…The trouble, of course, is that most successful men are prone to some form of vanity. There comes a stage in their lives when they consider it permissible to be egotistic and to brag to the public at large about their unique achievements.

 

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I am not the only one who did not want revenge. Almost all my colleagues in prison did not want revenge, because there is no time to do anything else except to try and save your people.

 

It was a useful reminder that all men, even the most seemingly cold-blooded, have a core of decency, and that if their heart is touched, they are capable of changing.

 

It is never my custom to use words lightly. If twenty-seven years in prison have done anything to us, it was to use the silence of solitude to make us understand how precious words are and how real speech is in its impact on the way people live and die.

 

Since my release, I have become more convinced than ever that the real makers of history are the ordinary men and women of our country; their participation in every decision about the future is the only guarantee of true democracy and freedom.

 

You sharpen your ideas by reducing yourself to the level of the people you are with and a sense of humor and a complete relaxation, even when you’re discussing serious things, does help to mobilize friends around you. And I love that.

Freedom

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.

 

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

 

The titanic effort that has brought liberation to South Africa, and ensured the total liberation of Africa, constitutes an act of redemption for the black people of the world.

 

Let each know that for each the body, the mind and the soul have been freed to fulfil themselves.

 

And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

 

I cherish my own freedom dearly, but I care even more for your freedom.

 

Banning not only confines one physically, it imprisons one’s spirit. it induces a kind of psychological claustrophobia that makes one yearn not only for freedom of movement but spiritual escape…This insidious effect of bans was that at a certain point one began to think that the opponent was not without but within.

 

I have walked that long road to freedom. I have tried not to falter; I have made missteps along the way. But I have discovered the secret that after climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb. 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.

 

Freedom is indivisible; the chains on any one of my people were the chains on all of them, the chains on all of my people were the chains on me.

 

A child is born free.

 

While poverty persists, there is no true freedom.

 

Some mornings I walked out into the courtyard and every living thing there, the seagulls and wagtails, the small trees, and even the stray blades of grass seemed to smile and shine in the sun. It was at such times, when I perceived the beauty of even this small, closed-in corner of the world, that I knew that someday my people and I would be free.

 

We know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians.

 

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.

 

There is no easy walk to freedom anywhere, and many of us will have to pass through the valley of the shadow of death again and again before we reach the mountaintop of our desires.

 

I have never cared very much for personal prizes. A person does not become a freedom fighter in the hope of winning awards.

 

Only free men can negotiate, prisoners can’t enter in contracts. Money won’t create success, the freedom to make it will.

 

There is no such thing as part freedom.

 

I will not leave South Africa, nor will I surrender. Only through hardship, sacrifice and militant action can freedom be won. The struggle is my life. I will continue fighting for freedom until the end of my days.

 

As long as many of our people still live in utter poverty, as long as children still live under plastic covers, as long as many of our people are still without jobs, no South African should rest and wallow in the joy of freedom.

 

The truth is that we are not yet free; we have merely achieved the freedom to be free, the right not to be oppressed. We have not taken the final step of our journey, but the first step on a longer and even more difficult road. 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. The true test of our devotion to freedom is just beginning.

 

I knew as well as I knew anything that the oppressor must be liberated just as surely as the oppressed. A man who takes away another man’s freedom is a prisoner of hatred, he is locked behind the bars of prejudice and narrow- mindedness. I am not truly free if I am taking away someone else’s freedom, just as surely as I am not free when my freedom is taken from me. The oppressed and the oppressor alike are robbed of their humanity.

 

A critical, independent and investigative press is the lifeblood of any democracy. The press must be free from state interference. It must have the economic strength to stand up to the blandishments of government officials. It must have sufficient independence from vested interests to be bold and inquiring without fear or favour. It must enjoy the protection of the constitution, so that it can protect our rights as citizens.

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It will forever remain an accusation and a challenge to all men and women of conscience that it took as long as it has, before all of us stood up to say enough is enough.

 

It was not lack of ability that limited my people, but lack of opportunity

 

To be free is to not merely cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others

Hope

May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears. 

 

Forget the past.

 

If there are dreams about a beautiful South Africa, there are also roads that lead to their goal. Two of these roads could be named Goodness and Forgiveness.

 

I dream of the realization of the unity of Africa, whereby its leaders combine in their efforts to solve the problems of this continent

 

I dream of an Africa which is in peace with itself.

 

Your victory has demonstrated that no person anywhere in the world should not dare to dream of wanting to change the world for a better place.

 

I never lost hope that this great transformation would occur.

 

It is a simple tale, but its message is an enduring one: virtue and generosity will be rewarded in ways that one cannot know.

 

If there are dreams about a beautiful South Africa, there are also roads that lead to their goal. 

 

Two of these roads could be called Goodness and Forgiveness.

 

The task at hand will not be easy, but you have mandated us to change South Africa from a land in which the majority lived with little hope, to one in which they can live and work with dignity, with a sense of self-esteem and confidence in the future.

 

We tried in our simple way to lead our life in a manner that may make a difference to those of others.

 

Even if you have a terminal disease, you don’t have to sit down and mope. Enjoy life and challenge the illness that you have.

Justice

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.

 

During my lifetime I have dedicated myself to this struggle of the African people. 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.

 

Our daily deeds as ordinary South Africans must produce an actual South African reality that will reinforce humanity’s belief in justice, strengthen its confidence in the nobility of the human soul, and sustain all our hopes for a glorious life for all.

 

Especially for those of us who lived in single cells, you had the time to sit down and think, and we discovered that sitting down just to think is one of the best ways of keeping yourself fresh and able, to be able to address the problems facing you, and you had the opportunity, also, of examining your past.

 

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

 

When a man is denied the right to live the life he believes in, he has no choice but to become an outlaw.

 

For a revolution is not just a question of pulling a trigger; its purpose is to create a fair just society.

 

Why is it that in this courtroom I face a white magistrate, am confronted by a white prosecutor and escorted into the dock by a white orderly? Can anyone honestly and seriously suggest that in this type of atmosphere the scales of justice are evenly balanced?

 

Let there be justice for all. Let there be peace for all. Let there be work, bread, water and salt for all. Let each know that for each the body, the mind and the soul have been freed to fulfill themselves.

 

Where globalization means, as it so often does, that the rich and powerful now have new means to further enrich and empower themselves at the cost of the poorer and weaker, we have a responsibility to protest in the name of universal freedom.

 

If the United States of America or Britain is having elections, they don’t ask for observers from Africa or from Asia. But when we have elections, they want observers.

 

In countries where innocent people are dying, the leaders are following their blood rather than their brains.

 

We fought injustice wherever we found it, no matter how large, or how small, and we fought injustice to preserve our own humanity.

 

Like slavery and apartheid, poverty is not natural. It is people who have made poverty and tolerated poverty, and it is people who will overcome it. And overcoming poverty is not a gesture of charity. It is an act of justice. It is the protection of a fundamental human right, the right to dignity and a decent life.

 

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In its proper meaning equality before the law means the right to participate in the making of the laws by which one is governed, a constitution which guarantees democratic rights to all sections of the population, the right to approach the court for protection or relief in the case of the violation of rights guaranteed in the constitution, and the right to take part in the administration of justice as judges, magistrates, attorneys-general, law advisers and similar positions.

 

In the absence of these safeguards the phrase ‘equality before the law’, in so far as it is intended to apply to us, is meaningless and misleading.

Leadership

I stand here before you not as a prophet, but as a humble servant of you, the people.

 

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

 

I was not a messiah, but an ordinary man who had become a leader because of extraordinary circumstances.

 

Quitting is leading too.

 

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

 

I like friends who have independent minds because they tend to make you see problems from all angles.

 

Real leaders must be ready to sacrifice all for the freedom of their people.

 

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… Great peacemakers are all people of integrity, of honesty, but humility.

 

As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.

 

Sometimes it falls on a generation to be great. You can be that great generation. Let your greatness blossom.

 

I am the captain of my soul.

 

Whatever position I occupied, it was the result of colleagues – of my comrades in the movement – who had decided in their wisdom to use me for the purpose of focusing the attention of the country and the international community on me.

 

Lead from the front — but don t leave your base behind.

 

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. Then people will appreciate your leadership.

 

You’re playing small does not serve the world. Who are you not to be great?

 

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.

 

A winner is a dreamer who never gives up.

 

There are times when a leader must move out ahead of the flock, go off in a new direction, confident that he is leading his people the right way.

 

As a leader, one must sometimes take actions that are unpopular, or whose results will not be known for years to come.

 

Like the gardener, a leader must take responsibility for what he cultivates; he must mind his work, try to repel enemies, preserve what can be preserved, and eliminate what cannot succeed.

 

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.

 

A good leader can engage in a debate frankly and thoroughly, knowing that at the end he and the other side must be closer, and thus emerge stronger. You don’t have that idea when you are arrogant, superficial, and uninformed.

 

To be the father of a nation is a great honor, but to be the father of a family is a greater joy.

Life

When a man is denied the right to live the life he believes in, he has no choice but to become an outlaw.

 

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.

 

A good head and good heart are always a formidable combination. But when you add to that a literate tongue or pen, then you have something very special.

 

What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead.

 

Live life as though nobody is watching, and express yourself as though everyone is listening.

 

We owe our children – the most vulnerable citizens in any society – a life free from violence and fear.

 

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It always seems impossible until it’s done.

 

life has a way of forcing decisions on those who vacillate.

 

I have retired, but if there’s anything that would kill me it is to wake up in the morning not knowing what to do.

 

Tread softly, breathe peacefully, laugh hysterically

 

Life has a way of forcing decisions on those who vacillate. If wealth is a magnet, poverty is a kind of repellent.

 

It is what we make out of what we have, not what we are given, that separates one person from another.

 

I love playing and chatting with children…feeding and putting them to bed with a little story, and being away from the family has troubled me throughout my…life. i like relaxing at the house, reading quietly, taking in the sweet smell that comes from the pots, sitting around a table with the family and taking out my wife and children. when you can no longer enjoy these simple pleasures something valuable is taken away from your life and you feel it in your daily work.

 

It is most unusual to return to a place that has changed in ways you yourself have altered.

 

Nothing is black or white.

 

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

 

We must use time creatively, and forever realize that the time is always ripe to do right

 

One cannot be prepared for something while secretly believing it will not happen.

 

There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered.

 

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

 

After climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb.

 

I have often wondered whether a person is justified in neglecting his own family to fight for opportunities for others.

 

There is a universal respect and even admiration for those who are humble and simple by nature, and who have absolute confidence in all human beings irrespective of their social status.

 

Although I am a gregarious person, I love solitude even more.

 

It is in the character of growth that we should learn from both pleasant and unpleasant experiences.

 

Difficulties break some men but make others.

 

Men have different capacities and react differently to stress. But the stronger ones raised up the weaker ones, and both became stronger in the process.

 

No, no, no, everything is all right. I have regular medical check-ups and they say I won’t die this week.

 

I have never regarded any man as my superior, either in my life outside or inside prison.

 

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, my friends and also with myself.

 

She married a man who soon left her; that man became a myth; and then that myth returned home and proved to be just a man after all.

Optimism

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.

 

There are few misfortunes in this world that you cannot turn into a personal triumph if you have the iron will and the necessary skill.

 

I am not an optimist, but a great believer of hope.

Politics

Where you stand depends on where you sit.

 

Know your enemy — and learn about his favorite sport.

 

We forgive but not forgotten.

 

A blind pursuit of cheap popularity has nothing to do with revolution. When the water starts boiling it is foolish to turn off the heat.

 

Success in politics demands that you must take your people into confidence about your views and state them very clearly, very politely, very calmly, but nevertheless, state them openly.

 

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Although Verwoerd thought Africans were lower than animals, his death did not yield us any pleasure. Political assassination is not something I or the ANC ever supported. It is a primitive way of contending with an opponent.

 

A Nation should not be judged by how it treats its highest citizens, but it’s lowest ones

 

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.

 

Communists have always played an active role in the fight by colonial countries for their freedom, because the short-term objects of Communism would always correspond with the long-term objects of freedom movements.

 

Democracy meant all men were to be heard, and a decision was taken together as a people. Majority rule was a foreign notion. A minority was not to be crushed by a majority.

 

In some ways, it is easier to be a dissident, for then one is without responsibility.

 

Politics can be strengthened by music, but music has a potency that defies politics.

 

Violence was the only weapon that would destroy apartheid. Non-violence is a good policy when conditions permit.

 

A man who takes away another man’s freedom is a prisoner of hatred, he is locked behind the bars of prejudice and narrow-mindedness.

 

If the ANC does to you what the apartheid government did to you, then you must do to the ANC what you did to the apartheid government.

 

In South Africa, to be poor and black was normal, to be poor and white was a tragedy.

 

Intervention only works when the people concerned seem to be keen for peace.

 

I did not enjoy the violence of boxing so much as the science of it. I was intrigued by how one moved one’s body to protect oneself, how one used a strategy both to attack and retreat, how one paced oneself over a match.

Struggle

I realized that they could take everything from me except my mind and my heart. They could not take those things. Those things I still had control over. And I decided not to give them away

 

Although we had no hope of defeating the enemy in the battlefield, nevertheless, we fought back to keep the idea of liberation alive.

 

A new world will be won not by those who stand at a distance with their arms folded, but by those who are in the arena, whose garments are torn by storms and whose bodies are maimed in the course of the contest.

 

But the hard facts were that fifty years of non-violence had brought the African people nothing but more and more repressive legislation, and fewer and fewer rights

 

I do not deny, however, that I planned sabotage. I did not plan it in a spirit of recklessness nor because I have any love of violence. I planned it as a result of a calm and sober assessment of the political situation that had arisen after many years of tyranny, exploitation and oppression of my people by the Whites

 

There are thousands of people who feel that it is useless and futile for us to continue talking peace and non-violence — against a government whose only reply is savage attacks on an unarmed and defenseless people. And I think the time has come for us to consider, in the light of our experiences at this day at home, whether the methods which we have applied so far are adequate.

 

I must deal immediately and at some length with the question of violence. Some of the things so far told to the Court are true and some are untrue. I do not, however, deny that I planned sabotage. I did not plan it in a spirit of recklessness, nor because I have any love of violence. I planned it as a result of a calm and sober assessment of the political situation that had arisen after many years of tyranny, exploitation, and oppression of my people by the Whites.

 

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.

 

The struggle is my life. I will continue fighting for freedom until the end of my days.

 

Friends, comrades and fellow South Africans, I greet you all in the name of peace, democracy and freedom for all. I stand here before you not as a prophet but as a humble servant of you, the people. Your tireless and heroic sacrifices have made it possible for me to be here today. I therefore place the remaining years of my life in your hands.

 

I had no specific belief except that our cause was just, was very strong and it was winning more and more support.

 

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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.

 

If you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy. Then he becomes your partner.

 

No single person can liberate a country. You can only liberate a country if you act as a collective.

 

Peace is the greatest weapon for development that any person can have.

 

I could not imagine that the future I was walking toward could compare in any way to the past that I was leaving behind.

 

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 will live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal for which I hope to live for and to see realized. But my lord, if it needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.

 

A freedom fighter learns the hard way that it is the oppressor who defines the nature of the struggle, and the oppressed is often left no recourse but to use methods that mirror those of the oppressor. At a point, one can only fight fire with fire.

 

When the history of our times is written, will we be remembered as the generation that turned our backs in a moment of global crisis or will it be recorded that we did the right thing?

 

It is not our diversity which divides us; it is not our ethnicity, or religion or culture that divides us. Since we have achieved our freedom, there can only be one division amongst us: between those who cherish democracy and those who do not.

 

We have not taken the final step of our journey, but the first step on a longer and even more difficult road.

 

Prison is a still point in a turning world, and it is very easy to remain in the same place in jail while the world moves on.

 

I have walked that long road to freedom. I have tried not to falter; I have made missteps along the way. But I have discovered the secret that after climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb. 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.

 

I was called a terrorist yesterday, but when I came out of jail, many people embraced me, including my enemies, and that is what I normally tell other people who say those who are struggling for liberation in their country are terrorists. I tell them that I was also a terrorist yesterday, but, today, I am admired by the very people who said I was one.

 

Those who conduct themselves with morality, integrity and consistency need not fear the forces of inhumanity and cruelty.

 

Never, never and never again shall it be that this beautiful land will again experience the oppression of one by another and suffer the indignity of being the skunk of the world.

 

If I had my time over I would do the same again, so would any man who dares call himself a man.

Success

Do not judge me by my successes, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again.

 

It is not where you start but how high you aim that matters for success.

 

Once a person is determined to help themselves, there is nothing that can stop them.

 

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

 

I am not what happened to me; I am what I choose to become.

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