Nelson Mandela quotes and sayings
July 18, 1918
December 5, 2013
The calm and tolerant atmosphere that prevailed during the elections depicts the type of South Africa we can build. It set the tone for the future. We might have our differences, but we are one people with a common destiny in our rich variety of culture, race and tradition.
To deny people their human rights is to challenge their very humanity.
The time has come to accept in our hearts and minds that with freedom comes responsibility.
Freedom can never be taken for granted. Each generation must safeguard it and extend it. Your parents and elders sacrificed much so that you should have freedom without suffering what they did. Use this precious right to ensure that the darkness of the past never returns.
The world remains beset by so much human suffering, poverty and deprivation. It is in your hands to make of our world a better one for all, especially the poor, vulnerable and marginalised.
Love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.
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.
Our freedom is also incomplete, dear compatriots, as long as we are denied our security by criminals who prey on our communities, who rob our businesses and undermine our economy, who ply their destructive trade in drugs in our schools, and who do violence against our women and children.
Where you stand depends on where you sit.
I believe that in the end that it is kindness and accommodation that are all the catalysts for real change.
If I am your leader, you have to listen to me and if you don't want to listen to me, then drop me as your leader.
True reconciliation does not consist in merely forgetting the past.
From the poorest of countries to the richest of nations, education is the key to moving forward in any society.
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.
I have found Jews to be more broad-minded than most whites on issues of race and politics, perhaps because they themselves have historically been victims of prejudice.
It's in your hands to make the world a better place.
Give a child love, laughter and peace, not AIDS.
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.
Today we are a nation at peace with itself, united in our diversity, not only proclaiming but living out the contention that South Africa belongs to all who live in it. We take our place amongst the nations of the world, confident and proud in being an African country.
I learned to have the patience to listen when people put forward their views, even if I think those views are wrong. You can't reach a just decision in a dispute unless you listen to both sides.
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.
As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
I could not imagine that the future I was walking toward could compare in any way to the past that I was leaving behind.
It is not a question of patronizing philanthropy towards disabled people. They do not need the patronage of the non-disabled. It is not for them to adapt to the dominant and dominating world of the so-called non-disabled. It is for us to adapt our understanding of a common humanity; to learn of the richness of how human life is diverse; to recognize the presence of disability in our human midst as an enrichment of our diversity.
Be a life long student, read as many books as possible.
Therefore, we must not look at the African people, even before they met whites, as if they had something unique, which was not to be found in other societies.
As we judge others so are we judged by others. The suspicious will always be tormented by suspicion.
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.
The virtue and the strength of UWC is that it provides small, but powerful cells of innovation, catalysts for change, breaking barriers of habit and opening broader vistas of experience for both pupils and educationalists.
Sport has the power to inspire and unite people. In Africa, soccer enjoys great popularity and has a particular place in the hearts of people. That is why it is so important that the FIFA World Cup will, for the first time ever, be hosted on the African continent in 2010. We feel privileged and humbled that South Africa has been given this singular honor of being the African host country.
There are few misfortunes in this world that you cannot turn into a personal trimuph if you have the iron will and the neccessary skill.
It is the dictate of history to bring to the fore the kind of leaders who seize the moment, who cohere the wishes and aspirations of the oppressed. Such was Steve Biko, a fitting product of his time; a proud representative of the re-awakening of a people.
The freedom we enjoy is a richly textured gift handcrafted by ordinary folk.
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 mobilise friends around you. And I love that.
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.
Being black and speaking properly are not mutually exclusive. My father was an African, and he spoke beautifully at home. Nelson Mandela speaks beautifully. Should Mandela put his hat on backwards and say, 'Yo, homey, this is Nelson. Yo, Winnie, yo, this is def'?
I have often wondered whether a person is justified in neglecting his own family to fight for opportunities for others.
A society that does not value its older people denies its roots and endangers its future. Let us strive to enhance their capacity to support themselves for as long as possible and, when they cannot do so anymore, to care for them.
Lead from the front - but don t leave your base behind.
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.
I understand that the legal position is under review in South Africa and that there will soon be a broader set of organizations to which donors can give and claim tax deductions.
I've never had a single moment of depression, because I know my cause will triumph.
If you want to preach a revolutionary message, wear a suit.
Right. So you go into Darfur and you go into South Africa, you get rid of the white government there. You put sanctions on them. You stand behind Nelson Mandela - who was bankrolled by communists for a time, had the support of certain communist leaders. You go to Ethiopia. You do the same thing.
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.
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.
It is my greatest wish that the Children's Fund should continue to be a beacon of hope and light.
I went as an observer, not a participant, for I do not think that I ever spoke. I wanted to understand the issues under discussion, evaluate the arguments, see the calibre of the men involved.
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.
The path of those who preach love, and not hatred, is not easy. They often have to wear a crown of thorns.
You see, when there is danger, a good leader takes the front line. But when there is celebration, a good leader stays in the back room. If you want the cooperation of human beings around you, make them feel that they are important. And you do that by being humble.
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.
Live life as though nobody is watching, and express yourself as though everyone is listening.
Apartheid is a crime against humanity. Israel has deprived millions of Palestinians of their liberty and property. It has perpetuated a system of gross racial discrimination and inequality. It has systematically incarcerated and tortured thousands of Palestinians, contrary to the rules of international law. It has, in particular, waged a war against a civilian population, in particular children.
There is little favorable to be said about 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. If wealth is a magnet, poverty is a kind of repellent. Yet, poverty often brings out the true generosity in others.
We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us, it's in everyone.
Let us not be tempted by those who try to find the unique qualities in a particular group. In this case, among South Africa indigenous people, it reflected what has been evidenced throughout the world.
Together as a nation, we have the obligation to put sunshine into the hearts of our little ones. They are our precious possessions. They deserve what happiness life can offer.
There is nothing to popularize a person. Only humility, which is the ability to remain in the background and to put others in the front light.
The world is truly round and seems to start and end with those we love.
The Church was as concerned with this world as the next: I saw that virtually all of the achievements of Africans seemed to have come about through the missionary work of the Church.
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.
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.
As long as women are bound by poverty and as long as they are looked down upon, human rights will lack substance.
It is what we make out of what we have, not what we are given, that separates one person from another.
I really wanted to retire and rest and spend more time with my children, my grandchildren and of course with my wife. But the problems are such that for anybody with a conscience who can use whatever influence he may have to try to bring about peace, it's difficult to say no.
My greatest hero is Nelson Mandela. What a man. Incarcerated for 25 years, he was released in 1990 and he hasn't reoffended. I think he's going straight, which shows you prison does work.
At the southern tip of the continent, a rich reward is in the making, an invaluable gift is in the preparation, for those who suffered in the name of all humanity when they sacrificed everything - for liberty, peace, human dignity and human fulfillment. The value of our shared reward will and must be measured by the joyful peace which will triumph, because of the common humanity that bonds both black and white into one human race, will have said to each one of us that we shall all live like the children of paradise.
The Children's Hospital will be a credible demonstration of the commitment of African leaders to place the rights of children at the forefront. Nothing less would be enough.
Justice and I became friends, though we were opposites in many ways - he was extroverted, I was introverted; he was lighthearted, I was serious.
I told my cellmates about the oppression of the whites and apartheid. I helped organize hunger strikes and the like in my prison.
Appearances matter and remember to smile.
Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.
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.
The Good News borne by our risen Messiah who chose not one race, who chose not one country, who chose not one language, who chose not one tribe, who chose all of humankind!
No power on this earth can destroy the thirst for human dignity.
Freedom is meaningless if people cannot put food in their stomachs, if they can have no shelter, if illiteracy and disease continue to dog them.
We understand and promote the notion that while children need to be guided they also have an entrenched right to be whatever they want to be and that they can achieve this only if they are given the space to dream and live out their dreams.
I pay tribute to the endless heroism of youth.
The relations between a man and his or her god is a personal matter; you can't go out and challenge the belief of people in a superior being.
In judging our progress as individuals we tend to concentrate on external factors such as one's social position, influence and popularity, wealth and standard of education... But internal factors may be even more crucial in assessing one's development as a human being. Honesty, sincerity, simplicity, humility, pure generosity, absence of vanity, readiness to serve others - qualities which are within easy reach of every soul - are the foundation of one's spiritual life.
You have a limited time to stay on earth. You must try to use that period for the purpose of transforming your country into what you desire it to be: a democratic, non-racial, non-sexist country. And that is a great task.
There are countless people who went to jail and aren't bitter at all, because they can see that their sacrifices were not in vain, and the ideas for which we lived and sacrificed are about to come to fruition. And that removes the bitterness from their hearts.
The history of struggle is rich with stories of heroes and heroines - some of them leaders, some of them followers, all of them deserve to be remembered.
During the years I lived here, the people of Alexandra ignored tribal and ethnic distinctions. Instead of being Xhosas, or Sothos, or Zulus, or Shangaans, we were Alexandrans. We were one people, and we undermined the distinctions that the apartheid government tried so hard to impose. It saddens and angers me to see the rising hatred of foreigners.
Giving is the essence of the great religions of the world - whether you are discussing the Muslim, Hindu, Jewish or Christian religion. It is an essential fundamental principle of all religions, whatever stage of development a society has reached, to sympathize with others and to promote that spirit of equality.
Our fear is not that we are inadequate, but that we are powerful beyond measure.
Marcus Tullius Cicero
Lucius Annaeus Seneca
A. P. J. Abdul Kalam
Lee Kuan Yew
John C. Calhoun
John le Carre
James Howard Kunstler
John of Kronstadt
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