After being held as a political prisoner for 27 years, Nelson Mandela forgave his captors. It is his forgiveness and humility that united the world behind him, but more importantly, the nation of South Africa. Here are some of the most common and inspirational Nelson Mandela quotes.
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.
A winner is a dreamer who never gives up.
Action without vision is only passing time, vision without action is merely day dreaming, but vision with action can change the world.
After climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb.
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.
As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.
As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
Courageous people do not fear forgiving, for the sake of peace.
Difficulties break some men but make others. No axe is sharp enough to cut the soul of a sinner who keeps on trying, one armed with the hope that he will rise even in the end.
Do not judge me by my successes, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again.
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.
Educating all of our children must be one of our most urgent priorities. We all know that education, more than anything else, improves your chances of building better lives.
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 farm workers 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.
Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.
Everyone can rise above their circumstances and achieve success if they are dedicated to and passionate about what they do.
Fools multiply when wise men are silent.
Forgiveness liberates the soul. It removes fear. That is why it is such a powerful weapon.
From the poorest of countries to the richest of nations, education is the key to moving forward in any society.
I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul.
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.
I never lose. I either win or learn.
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.
If you want the cooperation of humans around you, you must make them feel they are important, and you do that by being genuine and humble.
If you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy. Then he becomes your partner.
It always seems impossible until it’s done.
It can be said that there are four basic and primary things that the mass of people in a society wish for: to live in a safe environment, to be able to work and provide for themselves, to have access to good public health and to have sound educational opportunities for their children.
It is not beyond our power to create a world in which all children have access to a good education.
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.
It is what we make out of what we have, not what we are given, that separates one person from another.
It reaffirmed my long held belief that education was the enemy of prejudice. These were men and women of science, and science had no room for racism.
Lead from the back — and let others believe they are in front.
Let’s recommit to work towards our common goal: a nation where all of us are winners, all of us have shelter, food, and education.
Live life as though nobody is watching, and express yourself as though everyone is listening.
Man’s goodness is a flame that can be hidden but never extinguished.
May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears.
No child in Africa, and in fact anywhere in the world, should be denied education.
No country can really develop unless its citizens are educated.
Any nation that is progressive is led by people who have had the privilege of studying.
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.
One of the most difficult things is not to change society — but to change yourself.
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
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.
People respond in accordance to how you treat them.
Poverty is not an accident. Like slavery and apartheid, it is man-made and can be removed by the actions of human beings.
Prison itself is a tremendous education in the need for patience and perseverance. It is above all a test of one’s commitment.
Real leaders must be ready to sacrifice all for the freedom of their people.
Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies.
Rhetoric is not important. Actions are.
Sometimes, it falls upon a generation to be great. You can be that great generation. Let your greatness blossom.
The greatest glory in living is not in falling, but in rising every time we fall.
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.
There can be no greater gift than that of giving one’s time and energy to help others without expecting anything in return.
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.
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.
We must use time wisely and forever realize that the time is always ripe to do right.
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.
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.
When a man is denied the right to live the life he believes in, he has no choice but to become an outlaw.
When people are determined they can overcome anything.
While poverty persists, there is no true freedom.
Without education, your children can never really meet the challenges they will face. So it’s important to give children education and explain that they should play a role for their country.
You can start changing our world for the better daily, no matter how small the action.
Your playing small does not serve the world. Who are you not to be great?