45 Nelson Mandela Quotes (Life of Integrity)

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Best Nelson Mandela Quotes

Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world Nelson Mandela Quotes

Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world. 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 Quotes
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
Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies Nelson Mandela Quotes
Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies. Nelson Mandela
>A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination
A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination.  Nelson Mandela
Do not judge me by my successes judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again Nelson Mandela Quotes
Do not judge me by my successes, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again. Nelson Mandela
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 Quotes
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
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
 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.  Nelson Mandela
To deny people their human rights is to challenge their very humanity Nelson Mandela Quotes
To deny people their human rights is to challenge their very humanity.Nelson Mandela
It is in your hands, to make a better world for all who live in it
It is in your hands, to make a better world for all who live in it. Nelson Mandela
There is no such thing as part freedom Nelson Mandela Quotes
There is no such thing as part freedom.  Nelson Mandela
There can be no keener revelation of a society's soul than the way which it treats its children Nelson Mandela Quotes
There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way which it treats its children.  Nelson Mandela
Forget the past Nelson Mandela Quotes 
Forget the past.  Nelson Mandela
I detest racism, because I regard it as a barbaric thing, whether it comes from a black man or a white man Nelson Mandela Quotes
I detest racism, because I regard it as a barbaric thing, whether it comes from a black man or a white man.  Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela Quotes on Change

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 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. Nelson Mandela
Our human compassion binds us the one to the other--not in pity or patronizingly, but as human beings who have learned how to turn our common suffering into hope for the future.
Our human compassion binds us the one to the other–not in pity or patronizingly, but as human beings who have learned how to turn our common suffering into hope for the future.  Nelson Mandela
 There are so many men and women who hold no distinctive positions but whose contribution towards the development of society has been enormous Nelson Mandela Quotes
 There are so many men and women who hold no distinctive positions, but whose contribution towards the development of society has  been enormous.  Nelson Mandela
If you want to make peace with your enemy you have to work with your enemy Then he becomes your partner Nelson Mandela Quotes
If you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy. Then he becomes your partner. 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 Quotes
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
There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered.
There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered.  Nelson Mandela
Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.
Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.  Neslon 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 only rest for a moment, for with freedom come responsibilities, and I dare not linger, for my long walk is not ended
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 only rest for a moment, for with freedom come responsibilities, and I dare not linger, for my long walk is not ended. Nelson Mandela
Never, never, never, and never again shall it be that this beautiful land will again experience the oppression of one by another.
Never, never, never, and never again shall it be that this beautiful land will again experience the oppression of one by another. Nelson Mandela
We pledge ourselves to liberate all people from the continuing bondage of poverty, deprivation, suffering, gender, and other discrimination. 
We pledge ourselves to liberate all people from the continuing bondage of poverty, deprivation, suffering, gender, and other discrimination.  Nelson Mandela
If there are dreams for a beautiful South Africa, there are also roads that lead to their goal.  Two of these roads could be named goodness and forgiveness.
If there are dreams for a beautiful South Africa, there are also roads that lead to their goal.  Two of these roads could be named goodness and forgiveness.  Nelson Mandela
Money won't create success, but the freedom to make it will.
Money won’t create success, but the freedom to make it will. Nelson Mandela
Let freedom reign.  The sun never set on so glorious a human achievement. 
Let freedom reign.  The sun never set on so glorious a human achievement.  Neldon Mandela

Nelson Mandela Quotes on Leadership

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
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. Nelson Mandela
It always seems impossible until its done.
It always seems impossible until its done. Nelson Mandela
I am fundamentally an optimist. Whether that comes from nature or nurture,...
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
Courageous People do not fear forgiving for the sake of peace. 
Courageous People do not fear forgiving for the sake of peace.  Nelson Mandela
I was not a messiah, but an ordinary man who had become a leader because of extraordinary circumstances. 
I was not a messiah, but an ordinary man who had become a leader because of extraordinary circumstances.  Nelson Mandela
Running taught me valuable lessons.
Running taught me valuable lessons. In cross-country competition, training counted more than intrinsic ability, and I could compensate for lack of natural aptitude with diligence and discipline. I applied this in everything I did. Nelson Mandela
No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin
No one is born hating another person because of the color 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
It is better to lead from behind and to put others in front,...
It is better to lead from behind and to put others in front, especially when you celebrate victory when nice things occur.  You take the front line when there is danger.  Then people appreciate your leadership.  Nelson Mandela
There are times when a leader must move out ahead of the flock, go off in a new direction, confident that he is leading his people the right way.
There are times when a leader must move out ahead of the flock, go off in a new direction, confident that he is leading his people the right way. Nelson Mandela
Whatever position I occupied, it was the result of colleagues...
Whatever position I occupied, it was the result of colleagues – of my comrades in the movement – who had decided in their wisdom to use me for the purpose of focusing the attention of the country and the international community on me.  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.
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 
If you have any quotes from Nelson Mandela that you would like to see us add to our list, please leave them in the comment section below.

Nelson Mandela Biography

The purpose of this section is to give a very brief overview of his life, struggles, and achievements toward improving racism and ending aparthied.  His life and impact cannot be conveyed in the 500 words that I have here.  To find out more about him, I encourage you to visit NelsonMandela.org, Wikipedia, or Google “Nelson Mandela.”

Rolihlahla Mandela was born in Mvezo on July 18 ,1918. His father, Nkosi Mphakanyiswa Gadla Mandela, was the principal counselor to King of the Thembu people, Jongintaba Dalindyebo.

Growing up he heard the elders’ stories of his ancestors’ bravering during their resistance.  Even at a young age, he wanted to become of part of his people’s struggle for freedom. 

He was given the name Nelson in elementary school, to conform with the custom of giving schoolchildren “Christian” names. He graduated secondary school from Clarkebury Boarding Institute.

Rolihlahla attended University College at Fort Hare.  He was involved in student protests and was expelled as a result of his activity.  He was able to complete his undergrad work from the University of South Africa and received his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1943.

He helped to form the The African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL) in 1944.  He quickly became an influential member of the organization.

He was selected as the National Volunteer-in-Chief of the Defiance Campaign in 1952.  During that same year, he established South Africa’s first black-owned law firm–Mandela & Tambo.  In 1952 he also received a six-month ban from talking to more than one person at a time or attending meetings.

In 1963 Mandela was put on trial for sabotage.  Facing the death penalty He gave his “I am Prepared to Die Speech.”  Of the many famous words he spoke that day, were “

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.”

In all, he was imprisoned from 1962 to 1990.  He continued to work to end apartheid during that imprisonment.  While he was imprisoned, he was offered three conditional offers to be released.  He rejected each one.  His final, unconditional release came on Sunday, February 11, 1990.  He was elected African National Congress President and immediately began working on official talks to end white minority rule in South Africa.

He won the Nobel Peace Price in 1993 (jointly with white South African President Frederik Willem de Klerk). 

Nelson Mandela voted in an official election for the first time in his life in 1994. On May 10 of that year, he became South Africa’s first democratically elected president.

Mandela died on December 5, 2013.  His life is best summed up by the passage on NelsonMandela.org

Nelson Mandela never wavered in his devotion to democracy, equality and learning. Despite terrible provocation, he never answered racism with racism. His life is an inspiration to all who are oppressed and deprived; and to all who are opposed to oppression and deprivation.”

Must Read


A Long Walk to Freedom: The Autobiography of Nelson Mandela

Further Reading

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