Nelson Mandela inspire & motive quotes | best quotes collection

Nelson Mandela is one of the heroes of the modern age. An icon of freedom and the epitome of forgiveness and statesmanship, he is a larger than a life figure in today’s world. Here are a few wonderful quotes from this eloquent and charismatic man who led South Africa through its freedom struggle and first years as a democratic nation.

As we reflect on Nelson Mandela’s life, we should take the time to consider the great man’s words of wisdom. Here’s our list of the best Mandela quotes.

  • A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination.
  • A man is never more truthful than when he acknowledges himself a liar.
  • 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.
  • A winner is a dreamer who never gives up.
  • After climbing a great hill, one only finds that the are many more hills to climb.
  • Although I am a gregarious person, I love solitude even more.I welcome the opportunity to be by myself, to plan, to think, to the plot. – In his autobiography “Long Walk to Freedom”.
  • As a leader of a mass organization, one must listen to the people.
  • As I am former prisoner number 46664, there is a special place in my heart for all those that are denied access to their basic human rights. – Closing ceremony of the XV International AIDS Conference, Bangkok, Thailand, 16 July 2004
  • As I walked […] toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if I did not leave my bitterness & hatred behind, I would still be in prison.
  • As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.
  • Courage is 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.
  • Difficulties break some men but make others. No axe is sharp enough to cut the soul of a sinner who keeps on trying.
  • Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.
  • Every community in our country has a fundamental right to be free from fear.
  • Extremists on all sides thrive, fed by the blood lust of centuries gone by.
  • 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.
  • Gone forever are the days when harsh and wicked laws provide the oppressors with years of peace and quiet.
  • Greed and power has turned brother against brother.
  • History will judge us by the difference we make in the everyday lives of children.
  • Human beings have got the ability to adjust to anything.
  • I am fundamentally an optimist. Whether that comes from nature or nurture, I cannot say.

  • I am not a saint unless you think a saint is a sinner who keeps trying.
  • I am the product of Africa and her long-cherished view of rebirth that can now be realized so that all of her children may play in the sun.
  • I cannot over-emphasise the value we place on a free, independent and outspoken press in the democratic South Africa we hope to build.
  • I could not imagine that the future I was walking toward could compare in any way to the past that I was leaving behind.
  • I detest racialism because I regard it as a barbaric thing, whether it comes from a black man or a white man.
  • I have a special attachment to the people who befriended me during times of distress.
  • I have never cared very much for personal prizes. A person does not become a freedom fighter in the hope of winning awards.
  • I have spent all my life dreaming of a golden age in which all problems will be solved and our wildest hopes fulfilled.
  • I knew as well as I knew anything that the oppressor must be liberated just as surely as the oppressed.
  • I saw that it was not just my freedom that was curtailed, but the freedom of everyone who looked like I did.
  • I shall neither impose my own customs on others nor follow any practice which will offend my comrades.
  • I waited for over seventy years to cast my first vote. I chose to do it near the grave of John Dube.
  • I was made, by the law, a criminal, not because of what I had done, but because of what I stood for.
  • I was shaken but pretended that I was supremely confident of the victory of the liberation movement.
  • If the ANC does to you what the Apartheid Government did to you, then do to the ANC what you did to the Apartheid Government.
  • 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.
  • If wealth is a magnet, then poverty is a kind of repellent. Yet poverty often brings out the true generosity of others.
  • 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 to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy. Then he becomes your partner.

  • In my country, we go to prison first and then become President.
  • It always seems impossible until its done.
  • It is an achievement for a man to do his duty on Earth irrespective of the consequences.
  • It is in your hands, to make a better world for all who live in it.
  • It is not the kings and generals that make history but the masses of people.
  • 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.
  • It is what we make out of what we have, not what we are given, that separates one person from another.
  • It was during those long & lonely years that my hunger for the freedom of my people became a hunger for the freedom of all people.
  • Lead from the back — and let others believe they are in front.
  • Let there be justice for all. Let there be peace for all. Let there be work, bread, water and salt for all.
  • Men and women, all over the world, right down the centuries, come and go. Some leave nothing behind. Not even their names.
  • Money won’t create success. The freedom to make it will.
  • Never, never and never again shall it be that this beautiful land will again experience the oppression of one by another
  • No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion.
  • No one truly knows a nation until he has been inside its jails. A nation should not be judged by how it treats its highest citizens but its lowest.
  • One cannot be prepared for something while secretly believing it will not happen.
  • One of the things I learned when I was negotiating was that until I changed myself, I could not change others.
  • Only free men can negotiate. Prisoners cannot enter into contracts.
  • Our greatest fear is not that we are inadequate, but that we are powerful beyond measure.
  • Our march to freedom is irreversible. We must not allow fear to stand in our way.
  • Our people have the right to hope, the right to a future, the right to life itself – Nelson Mandela in 1992
  • Overcoming poverty is not a task of charity, it is an act of justice. Like slavery and Apartheid, poverty is not natural.
  • 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
  • Poverty is not an accident. Like slavery and Apartheid, it is man-made and can be removed by the actions of human beings.
  • Prison not only robs you of your freedom, it attempts to take away your identity.
  • Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies.
  • Significant progress is always possible if we ourselves try to plan every detail of our lives and actions.
  • Since we have achieved our freedom, there can only be one division amongst us: between those who cherish democracy and those who do not.
  • The authorities liked to say that we received a balanced diet; it was indeed balanced — between the unpalatable and the inedible.
  • The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.
  • 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.
  • The children who sleep on the streets, reduced to begging to make a living, are a testimony to an unfinished job.
  • The color of my skin is beautiful, like the soil of Mother Africa.
  • The curious beauty of African music is that it uplifts even as it tells a sad tale.
  • The death of a human being, whatever may be his station in life, is always a sad and painful affair.
  • The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.
  • The habit of attending to small things and of appreciating small courtesies is one of the important marks of a good person
  • The human soul and human body have an infinite capacity of adaptation and it is amazing just how hardened one can come to be
  • There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children.
  • There is no passion for being found playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.
  • There is no such thing as part freedom.
  • There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered.

  • 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.
  • To be a father of a nation is a great honor, but to be the father of a family is a greater joy. But it was a joy I had far too little of.
  • To be an African in South Africa means that one is politicized from the moment of one’s birth, whether one acknowledges it or not.
  • To go to prison because of your convictions and be prepared to suffer for what you believe in, is something worthwhile.
  • Together we must set out to correct the defects of the past.
  • Unlike some politicians, I can admit to a mistake.
  • Until I was jailed, I never fully appreciated the capacity of memory, the endless string of information the head can carry
  • We do not want freedom without bread, nor do we want bread without freedom.
  • We know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians.
  • We must all strive to be inspired by a deep-seated love of our country, without regard to race, color, gender or station in life.
  • We must strive to be moved by a generosity of spirit that will enable us to outgrow the hatred and conflicts of the past.
  • We must use time wisely and forever realize that the time is always ripe to do right.
  • We too will die but that which we collectively contribute to our national cultural identity will live forever beyond us
  • Western civilization has not entirely rubbed off my African background
  • 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
  • When a deep injury is done to us, we never heal until we forgive
  • When a man is denied the right to live the life he believes in, he has no choice but to become an outlaw.
  • When I walked out of prison, that was my mission – to liberate the oppressed and the oppressor both.
  • When the water starts boiling it is foolish to turn off the heat.
  • When they finally let me retire I want to be a full-time artist.
  • You may succeed in delaying, but never in preventing the transition of South Africa to a democracy.
  • You take the front line when there is a danger. Then people will appreciate your leadership.
  • You will achieve more in this world through acts of mercy than you will through acts of retribution.

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