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100 Deep & Inspiring Nelson Mandela Quotes


Here is a list of 100 inspirational Nelson Mandela quotes that will change your life.

Nelson Mandela was a true great who lived his life in a selfless manner, he dedicated his life to being of service to the world and he made a profound impact on millions of peoples lives.

Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela was a South African anti-apartheid revolutionary, political leader, peace activist, and philanthropist who served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999.

1. “It always seems impossible until it’s done.” –  Nelson Mandela

2.  “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” –  Nelson Mandela

3. “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.” –  Nelson Mandela

4. “After climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb.” –  Nelson Mandela

5. “Money won’t create success, the freedom to make it will.” –  Nelson Mandela

6. “A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination.” –  Nelson Mandela

7. “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.” –  Nelson Mandela

8. “To deny people their human rights is to challenge their very humanity. ” –  Nelson Mandela

9. “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.” –  Nelson Mandela

10. “As long as poverty, injustice, and gross inequality persist in our world, none of us can truly rest.” –  Nelson Mandela

11. “Forget the past.” –  Nelson Mandela

12. “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.” –  Nelson Mandela

13. “Courageous people do not fear forgiving, for the sake of peace.” –  Nelson Mandela

14. “No country can really develop unless its citizens are educated.” –  Nelson Mandela

15. “There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children.” –  Nelson Mandela

16. “There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered.” –  Nelson Mandela

17. “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.” –  Nelson Mandela

18. “We pledge ourselves to liberate all our people from the continuing bondage of poverty, deprivation, suffering, gender and other discrimination.” –  Nelson Mandela

19. “After one has been in prison, it is the small things that one appreciates: being able to take a walk whenever one wants, going into a shop and buying a newspaper, speaking or choosing to remain silent. The simple act of being able to control one’s person.” –  Nelson Mandela

20. “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.” –  Nelson Mandela

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

22. “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.” –  Nelson Mandela

23. “If you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy. Then he becomes your partner.” –  Nelson Mandela

24. “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.” –  Nelson Mandela

25. “Let there be work, bread, water and salt for all.” –  Nelson Mandela

26. “I dream of an Africa which is in peace with itself.” –  Nelson Mandela

27. “I stand here before you not as a prophet, but as a humble servant of you, the people.” –  Nelson Mandela

28. “We can’t afford to be killing one another.” –  Nelson Mandela

29. “It is wise to persuade people to do things and make them think it was their own idea.” –  Nelson Mandela

30. “In my country, we go to prison first and then become President. ” –  Nelson Mandela

31. “I dream of an Africa which is in peace with itself.” –  Nelson Mandela

32.  “If you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy. Then he becomes your partner.” –  Nelson Mandela

33. “Only free men can negotiate. A prisoner cannot enter into contracts.” –  Nelson Mandela

34. “Any man or institution that tries to rob me of my dignity will lose.” –  Nelson Mandela

35. “There is no such thing as part freedom.” –  Nelson Mandela

36. “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.” –  Nelson Mandela

37. “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.” –  Nelson Mandela

38. “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.” –  Nelson Mandela

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

40. “Leaders in all spheres who are living with HIV should be encouraged, not coerced, to lead by example and disclose their HIV status.” –  Nelson Mandela

41. “I do not 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.” –  Nelson Mandela

42. “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.” –  Nelson Mandela

43. “In countries where innocent people are dying, the leaders are following their blood rather than their brains.” –  Nelson Mandela

44. “I can’t pretend that I’m brave and that I can beat the whole world.” –  Nelson Mandela

45. “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?” –  Nelson Mandela

46. “Nonviolence is a good policy when the conditions permit.” –  Nelson Mandela

47. “Unlike some politicians, I can admit to a mistake.” –  Nelson Mandela

48. “Let us give publicity to H.I.V./AIDS and not hide it, because the only way to make it appear like a normal illness like TB, like cancer, is always to come out and say somebody has died because of H.I.V./AIDS, and people will stop regarding it as something extraordinary.” –  Nelson Mandela

49. “Apart from life, a strong constitution, and an abiding connection to the Thembu royal house, the only thing my father bestowed upon me at birth was a name, Rolihlahla.” –  Nelson Mandela

50. “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.” –  Nelson Mandela

51. “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.” –  Nelson Mandela

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

53. “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.” –  Nelson Mandela

54. “I cannot say for certain if there is such a thing as love at first sight, but I do know that the moment I first glimpsed Winnie Nomzamo, I knew that I wanted to have her as my wife.” –  Nelson Mandela

55. “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.” –  Nelson Mandela

56. “My son has died of AIDS.” –  Nelson Mandela

57. “I was not a messiah, but an ordinary man who had become a leader because of extraordinary circumstances.” –  Nelson Mandela

58. “You know, you can only lead them from behind.” –  Nelson Mandela

59. “I realized quickly what Mandela and Tambo meant to ordinary Africans. It was a place where they could come and find a sympathetic ear and a competent ally, a place where they would not be either turned away or cheated, a place where they might actually feel proud to be represented by men of their own skin color.” –  Nelson Mandela

60. “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.” –  Nelson Mandela

61. “Sometimes, I feel like one who is on the sidelines, who has missed life itself.” –  Nelson Mandela

62. “When I came to Johannesburg from the countryside, I knew nobody, but many strangers were very kind to me. I then was dragged into politics, and then, subsequently, I became a lawyer.” –  Nelson Mandela

63. “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 our vast deserts, of our forests, of all our great wildernesses.” –  Nelson Mandela

64. “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.” –  Nelson Mandela

65. “As an attorney, I could be rather flamboyant in court. I did not act as though I were a black man in a white man’s court, but as if everyone else – white and black – was a guest in my court. When trying a case, I often made sweeping gestures and used high-flown language.” –  Nelson Mandela

66. “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.” –  Nelson Mandela

67. “When the water starts boiling it is foolish to turn off the heat.” –  Nelson Mandela

68. “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.” –  Nelson Mandela

69. “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.” –  Nelson Mandela

70. “I should tie myself to no particular system of society other than of socialism.” –  Nelson Mandela

71. “Never, never and never again shall it be that this beautiful land will again experience the oppression of one by another.” –  Nelson Mandela

72. “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. ” –  Nelson Mandela

73. “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.” –  Nelson Mandela

74. “If there is a country that has committed unspeakable atrocities in the world, it is the United States of America.” –  Nelson Mandela

75. “From the beginning, Mandela and Tambo were besieged with clients. We were not the only African lawyers in South Africa, but we were the only firm of African lawyers. For Africans, we were the firm of the first choice and last resort.” –  Nelson Mandela

76. “Intervention only works when the people concerned seem to be keen for peace.” –  Nelson Mandela

77. “The names of Dingane and Bambata, Hintsa and Makana, Squngthi and Dalasile, Moshoeshoe and Sekhukhuni, were praised as the glory of the entire African nation. I hoped then that life might offer me the opportunity to serve my people and make my own humble contribution to their freedom struggle.” –  Nelson Mandela

78. “By ancestry, I was born to rule.” –  Nelson Mandela

79. “I detest racialism, because I regard it as a barbaric thing, whether it comes from a black man or a white man.” –  Nelson Mandela

80. “There is nothing I fear more than waking up without a program that will help me bring a little happiness to those with no resources, those who are poor, illiterate, and ridden with terminal disease.” –  Nelson Mandela

81. “At the outset, I want to say that the suggestion that the struggle in South Africa is under the influence of foreigners or communists is wholly incorrect. I have done whatever I did because of my experience in South Africa and my own proudly felt African background, and not because of what any outsider might have said.” –  Nelson Mandela

82. “Our single most important challenge is therefore to help establish a social order in which the freedom of the individual will truly mean the freedom of the individual.” –  Nelson Mandela

83. “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.” –  Nelson Mandela

84. “I started to make a study of the art of war and revolution and, whilst abroad, underwent a course in military training. If there was to be guerrilla warfare, I wanted to be able to stand and fight with my people and to share the hazards of war with them.” –  Nelson Mandela

85. “I have always regarded myself, in the first place, as an African patriot.” –  Nelson Mandela

86. “Before I went to jail, I was active in politics as a member of South Africa’s leading organization – and I was generally busy from 7 A.M. until midnight. I never had time to sit and think.” –  Nelson Mandela

87. “Sabotage did not involve loss of life, and it offered the best hope for future race relations. Bitterness would be kept to a minimum and, if the policy bore fruit, democratic government could become a reality.” –  Nelson Mandela

88. “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.” –  Nelson Mandela

89. “I made a mistake by being ejected from the presidency. Next time, I will choose a Cabinet which will allow me to be life President.” –  Nelson Mandela

90. “Prison life, fortunately, I spent a lot of years, about 18 years with other prisoners, and, as I say, they enriched your soul.” –  Nelson Mandela

91. “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.” –  Nelson Mandela

92. “I was first imprisoned in Pretoria, and then, thereafter, I was taken to Robben Island. I stayed there for a couple of weeks. I was taken back to Pretoria when I was charged in the Rivonia trial, when I was then sent to Robben Island for life.” –  Nelson Mandela

93. “I cannot conceive of Israel withdrawing if Arab states do not recognize Israel, within secure borders.” –  Nelson Mandela

94. “I have been influenced in my thinking by both west and east.” –  Nelson Mandela

95. “There are many people in South Africa who are rich and who can share those riches with those not so fortunate who have not been able to conquer poverty.” –  Nelson Mandela

96. “The United States has made serious mistakes in the conduct of its foreign affairs, which have had unfortunate repercussions long after the decisions were taken.” –  Nelson Mandela

97. “Africans require, want, the franchise on the basis of one man one vote. They want political independence.” –  Nelson Mandela

98. “If you are poor, you are not likely to live long.” –  Nelson Mandela

99. “Let each know that for each the body, the mind, and the soul have been freed to fulfill themselves.” –  Nelson Mandela

100. “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.” –  Nelson Mandela

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