“Overcoming poverty is not a task of charity, it is an act of justice. Like Slavery and Apartheid, poverty is not natural. It is man-made and it can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings. Sometimes it falls on a generation to be great. YOU can be that great generation. Let your greatness blossom.”

Nelson Mandela

“He nodded for us to rise. I tried to catch his eye, but he was not even looking in our direction. His eyes were focused on the middle distance. His face was very pale, and he was breathing heavily. We looked at each other and seemed to know: it would be death, otherwise why was this normally calm man so nervous? And then he began to speak.”

Nelson Mandela

“Difficulties break some men but make others”

Nelson Mandela

“The arbitrary and meaningless tests to decide black from Coloured or Coloured from white often resulted in tragic cases where members of the same family were classified differently, all depending on whether one child had a lighter or darker complexion. Where one was allowed to live and work could rest on such absurd distinctions as the curl of one’s hair or the size of one’s lips.”

Nelson Mandela

“On the first day of school, my teacher, Miss Mdingane, gave each of us an English name and said that from thenceforth that was the name we would answer to in school. This was the custom among Africans in those days and was undoubtedly due to the British bias of our education. The education I received was a British education, in which British ideas, British culture, British institutions, were automatically assumed to be superior. There was no such thing as African culture. Africans of my generation—and even today—generally have both an English and an African name. Whites were either unable or unwilling to pronounce an African name, and considered it uncivilized to have one. That day, Miss Mdingane told me that my new name was Nelson. Why she bestowed this particular name upon me I have no idea. Perhaps it had something to do with the great British sea captain Lord Nelson, but that would be only a guess.”

Nelson Mandela

“I AM THE MASTER OF MY FATE AND THE CAPTAIN OF MY DESTINY.”

Nelson Mandela

“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

“One cannot be prepared for something while secretly believing it will not happen.”

Nelson Mandela

“Appearances matter — and remember to smile.”

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

“For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances freedom to others. 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 rest only for a moment, for with freedom come responsibilities, and I dare not linger, for my long walk is not yet ended.”

Nelson Mandela

“Like the gardener, a leader must take responsibility for what he cultivates; he must mind his work, try to repel enemies, preserve what can be preserved, and eliminate what cannot succeed.”

Nelson Mandela

“A friend of mine once saw Mandela in a South African airport and told me this story. The president had noticed a lady who was walking by with her daughter, a beautiful five- or six-year-old girl, with blond hair and blue eyes. Mandela walked up to this little girl and leaned down and shook her hand, and he said, “Do you know who I am?” And the child smiled and said, “Yes, you are President Mandela.” Mandela said, “Yes, I am your president. And if you work very hard in school and you learn a lot and you are nice to everybody, you too could grow up to be President of South Africa.”

Nelson Mandela

“When the water starts boiling it is foolish to turn off the heat.”

Nelson Mandela

“Un luchador por la libertad aprende, por el camino más duro, que es el opresor el que define la naturaleza de la lucha.”

Nelson Mandela


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