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Quotes About (Clickable):

Nelson Mandela quotes on Freedom, Education, Life and Society



Quotes About Nelson Mandela


 

“Mandela was a conciliator and reconciliator, not because he thought it was smart politics or would be a welcome change from the krag dadigheid of his Afrikaner predecessors. His actions were the disarmingly simple outcome of an intricate and nuanced set of personal values. Consequently, while Mandela’s opponents, including many within the ANC, might have disagreed with his decisions, they had to accord them some grudging respect. A Mandela standpoint might be unpopular, but one mostly had to admire the palpable moral logic behind it.

That is not to say that Mandela was a naïve idealist. He knew that pragmatism sometimes meant shelving morality, at least temporarily. But the generally consistent values that drove Mandela’s actions crucially helped restore faith in government by a citizenry that had been alienated by decades of government venalit y and turpitude. For example, Mandela did not pause to weigh the benefits of a complicit silence towards a powerful, oil-rich state, when the Nigerian government hanged the activist Ken Saro-Wiwa. He immediately called for the Commonwealth to suspend Nigeria, although this arguably diminished South Africa’s influence on the continent.”

– Nelson Mandela, Columnist William Saunderson-Meyer, in “Zuma’s dangerous moral diffidence” in The Witness (3 October 2009)

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Nelson Mandela Quotes on Education


 

Nelson Mandela Quotes about Education

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

– Nelson Mandela


“No one is born hating another person because of the colour 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.”

– Nelson Mandela


“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.”

– Nelson Mandela

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Nelson Mandela Quotes on Freedom

Nelson Mandela Quotes on Freedom

 

“Only free men can negotiate; prisoners cannot enter into contracts. Your freedom and mine cannot be separated.”

– Nelson Mandela


“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.”

– Nelson Mandela


“When I walked out of prison, that was my mission, to liberate the oppressed and the oppressor both. Some say that has now been achieved. But I know that that is not the case. 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.”

– Nelson Mandela


“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.”

– Nelson Mandela


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

– Nelson Mandela


“We know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians; without the resolution of conflicts in East Timor, the Sudan and other parts of the world.”

– Nelson Mandela


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

– Nelson Mandela


“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


“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.”

― Nelson Mandela

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Nelson Mandela Quotes on Life

Nelson Mandela Quotes about Life

“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.”

– Nelson Mandela


“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.”

– Nelson Mandela


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

– Nelson Mandela


“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


“Any man that tries to rob me of my dignity will lose.”

– Nelson Mandela


“I have always believed that exercise is the key not only to physical health but to peace of mind.”

– Nelson Mandela


“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.”

– Nelson Mandela


“Let it never be said by future generations that indifference, cynicism or selfishness made us fail to live up to the ideals of humanism which the Nobel Peace Prize encapsulates. Let the strivings of us all, prove Martin Luther King Jr. to have been correct, when he said that humanity can no longer be tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war. Let the efforts of us all, prove that he was not a mere dreamer when he spoke of the beauty of genuine brotherhood and peace being more precious than diamonds or silver or gold. Let a new age dawn!”

– Nelson Mandela, Nobel Peace Prize Acceptance Address (10 December 1993)


“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.”

– Nelson Mandela


“Part of being optimistic is keeping one’s head pointed toward the sun, one’s feet moving forward.”

– Nelson Mandela


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

– Nelson Mandela

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Nelson Mandela Quotes on Morality & Ethics


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

– Nelson Mandela


“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.”

– Nelson Mandela, I am Prepared to Die (1964)


“Those who should be ashamed are they who impoverish others. Whose life testifies to the truth that there is no shame in being persecuted: Those who should be ashamed are they who persecute others. Whose life proclaims the truth that there is no shame in being conquered: Those who should be ashamed are they who conquer others. Whose life testifies to the truth that there is no shame in being dispossessed: Those who should be ashamed are they who dispossess others. Whose life testifies to the truth that there is no shame in being oppressed: Those who should be ashamed are they who oppress others.”

– Nelson Mandela, At his speech in Moria, on 3 April 1994


“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.”

― Nelson Mandela


“It is fit and proper to raise the question sharply, what is this rigid color-bar in the administration of justice? 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?”

– Nelson Mandela, I am Prepared to Die (1964)


“I will tell Your Worship why: the real purpose of this rigid color-bar is to ensure that the justice dispensed by the courts should conform to the policy of the country, however much that policy might be in conflict with the norms of justice accepted in judiciaries throughout the civilized world.”

– Nelson Mandela, I am Prepared to Die (1964)

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Nelson Mandela Quotes on Society

Nelson Mandela Quotes on Society

 

“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.”

– Nelson Mandela


“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 defenceless 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.”

– Nelson Mandela


“But the violence which we chose to adopt was not terrorism. We who formed Umkhonto were all members of the African National Congress, and had behind us the ANC tradition of non-violence and negotiation as a means of solving political disputes. We believe that South Africa belongs to all the people who live in it, and not to one group, be it black or white. We did not want an interracial war, and tried to avoid it to the last minute. If the Court is in doubt about this, it will be seen that the whole history of our organization bears out what I have said, and what I will subsequently say, when I describe the tactics which Umkhonto decided to adopt.”

– Nelson Mandela


“In Natal, apartheid is a deadly cancer in our midst, setting house against house, and eating away at the precious ties that bound us together. This strife among ourselves wastes our energy and destroys our unity. My message to those of you involved in this battle of brother against brother is this: take your guns, your knives, and your pangas, and throw them into the sea! Close down the death factories. End this war now!”

– Nelson Mandela, Speech to a Rally, Durban (25 February 1990)


“Why is it that in this day and age, human beings still butcher one another simply because they dared to belong to different religions, to speak different tongues, or belong to different races? Are human beings inherently evil? What infuses individuals with the ego and ambition to so clamour for power that genocide assumes the mantle of means that justify coveted ends? These are difficult questions, which, if wrongly examined can lead one to lose faith in fellow human beings. And there is where we would go wrong. Firstly, because to lose faith in fellow humans is, as the Archbishop would correctly point out, to lose faith in God and in the purpose of life itself. Secondly, it is erroneous to attribute to the human character a universal trait it does not possess – that of being either inherently evil or inherently humane. I would venture to say that there is something inherently good in all human beings, deriving from, among other things, the attribute of social consciousness that we all possess. And, yes, there is also something inherently bad in all of us, flesh and blood as we are, with the attendant desire to perpetuate and pamper the self. From this premise arises the challenge to order our lives and mould our mores in such a way that the good in all of us takes precedence. In other words, we are not passive and hapless souls waiting for manna or the plague from on high. All of us have a role to play in shaping society.”

– Nelson Mandela, At his speech in Moria, on 3 April 1994


“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.”

– Nelson Mandela, During his interview at Larry King Live, (16 May 2000)

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The Sacred Warrior Segments


He is the archetypal anticolonial revolutionary. His strategy of noncooperation, his assertion that we can be dominated only if we cooperate with our dominators, and his nonviolent resistance inspired anticolonial and antiracist movements internationally in our century.

Gandhi remained committed to nonviolence; I followed the Gandhian strategy for as long as I could, but then there came a point in our struggle when the brute force of the oppressor could no longer be countered through passive resistance alone. We founded Umkhonto we Sizwe and added a military dimension to our struggle. Even then, we chose sabotage because it did not involve the loss of life, and it offered the best hope for future race relations. Militant action became part of the African agenda officially supported by the Organization of African Unity (O.A.U.) following my address to the Pan-African Freedom Movement of East and Central Africa (PAFMECA) in 1962, in which I stated, “Force is the only language the imperialists can hear, and no country became free without some sort of violence.”

Gandhi himself never ruled out violence absolutely and unreservedly. He conceded the necessity of arms in certain situations. He said, “Where choice is set between cowardice and violence, I would advise violence… I prefer to use arms in defense of honor rather than remain the vile witness of dishonor …”

…Gandhi rejects the Adam Smith notion of human nature as motivated by self-interest and brute needs and returns us to our spiritual dimension with its impulses for nonviolence, justice and equality.

He exposes the fallacy of the claim that everyone can be rich and successful provided they work hard. He points to the millions who work themselves to the bone and still remain hungry.

He stepped down from his comfortable life to join the masses on their level to seek equality with them. “I can’t hope to bring about economic equality… I have to reduce myself to the level of the poorest of the poor.”

As we find ourselves in jobless economies, societies in which small minorities consume while the masses starve, we find ourselves forced to rethink the rationale of our current globalization and to ponder the Gandhian alternative.

 

– Nelson Mandela,  “The Sacred Warrior” — essay on Mohandas Gandhi in TIME magazine (3 January 2000)

Speech at a rally in Cuba


We have long wanted to visit your country and express the many feelings that we have about the Cuban revolution, about the role of Cuba in Africa, southern Africa, and the world. The Cuban people hold a special place in the hearts of the people of Africa. The Cuban internationalists have made a contribution to African independence, freedom, and justice, unparalleled for its principled and selfless character.

We admire the achievements of the Cuban revolution in the sphere of social welfare. We note the transformation from a country of imposed backwardness to universal literacy. We acknowledge your advances in the fields of health, education, and science.

We too are also inspired by the life and example of Jose Marti, who is not only a Cuban and Latin American hero but justly honoured by all who struggle to be free.

We also honour the great Che Guevara, whose revolutionary exploits, including on our own continent, were too powerful for any prison censors to hide from us. The life of Che is an inspiration to all human beings who cherish freedom. We will always honour his memory.

I must say that when we wanted to take up arms we approached numerous Western governments for assistance and we were never able to see any but the most junior ministers. When we visited Cuba we were received by the highest officials and were immediately offered whatever we wanted and needed. That was our earliest experience with Cuban internationalism.

Long live the Cuban revolution! Long live Comrade Fidel Castro!

– Nelson Mandela, Speech at a rally in Cuba marking the 32nd anniversary of the Cuban Revolution (26 July 1991)

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War



If there is a country that has committed unspeakable atrocities in the world, it is the United States of America. They don’t care for human beings.

What I am condemning is that one power, with a president [George W. Bush] who has no foresight, who cannot think properly, is now wanting to plunge the world into a holocaust.

– Nelson Mandela

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