Mandela: In His Own Words
On this day of his birth, it seems fitting to let Madiba’s own words be our beacon.
For more information on the incredible life of Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, and what you can do in honor of his life today, Nelson Mandela International Day, go to The Nelson Mandela Foundation. It is in our hands now.
“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.”
“If you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy. Then he becomes your partner.”
“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.”
“It always seems impossible until it’s done.”
“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 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.
“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.”
“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”
“We must use time wisely and forever realize that the time is always ripe to do right.”
“Man’s goodness is a flame that can be hidden but never extinguished.”
“Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies.”
“I like friends who have independent minds because they tend to make you see problems from all angles.”
“A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination. When people are determined they can overcome anything.”
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Photo Courtesy of Ben Sutherland/Flickr