Nelson Mandela (1918-2013)

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

“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 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.”

“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.”

“It always seems impossible until it’s done.”

“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.”

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

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

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

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

“The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.”

“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.”

“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.”

“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.”

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

“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.”

“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.”

“Where you stand depends on where you sit.”

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

“I am the captain of my soul.”

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

“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.”

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

“Appearances matter — and remember to smile.”

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

“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.”

“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.”

“Nothing is black or white.”

“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.”

“We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, handsome, talented and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be?”

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

“Sometimes it falls upon a generation to be great, you can be that generation”

“Quitting is leading too.”

“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.”

“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.”

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

“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.”

“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”

“A winner is a dreamer who never gives up.”

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

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

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

“Know your enemy — and learn about his favorite sport.”

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

“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.”

“Keep your friends close — and your rivals even closer.”

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

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

“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.”

“The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”

“Freedom would be meaningless without security in the home and in the streets.”

“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 fulfil themselves.”

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

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