News People An inspiration with deeds, and words: Nelson Mandela quotes
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An inspiration with deeds, and words: Nelson Mandela quotes

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Nelson Mandela quotes

In the dock at the 1964 Rivonia Trial, where he faced the gallows for acts of sabotage against the apartheid government, Nelson Mandela said he was prepared to give up his own life to secure democracy:

“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.”

Throughout his amazing life, he spoke on issues of racism, nation building and freedom. Here’s a selection of his most memorable statements.

PRISON: “A man who takes away another man’s freedom is a prisoner of hatred, he is locked behind bars of prejudice and narrow-mindedness.” “In my country we go to prison first and then become president.” “One of the things that made me long to be back in prison was that I had so little opportunity for reading, thinking and quiet reflection after my release.”

COURAGE: “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”

RACISM: “Racism is a blight on the human conscience.”

ON BECOMING PRESIDENT IN 1994: “Never, never and never again shall it be that this beautiful land will again experience the oppression of one by another and suffer the indignity of being the skunk of the world.”

NATION BUILDING: “You sometimes need a bulldozer, and sometimes a feather-duster.”

NEGOTIATING WITH THE ENEMY: “If you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy. Then he becomes your partner.”

ON “RETIRING FROM RETIREMENT” in 2004: “Thank you very much for your attention and thank you for being kind to an old man – allowing him to take a rest, even if many of you may feel that after loafing somewhere on an island and other places for 27 years the rest is not really deserved.” “Don’t call me, I’ll call you.”

BAD GOVERNANCE IN AFRICA: “We must face the matter squarely that where there is something wrong in how we govern ourselves, it must be said that the fault is not in our stars but in ourselves. We know that we have it in ourselves, as Africans, to change all this.”

MEETING THE SPICE GIRLS IN 1997: “They are my heroes … This is one of the greatest moments of my life.”

LEARNING LANGUAGE: “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.”

FREEDOM: “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.”

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