“I stand here before you not as a prophet, but as a humble servant of you, the people.”

Nelson Mandela

“As I walked out the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if I didn't leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I'd still be in prison.”

Nelson Mandela

“I am not an optimist, but a great believer of hope.”

Nelson Mandela

“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

“I had no epiphany, no singular revelation, no moment of truth, but a steady accumulation of a thousand slights, a thousand indignities, a thousand unremembered moments, produced in me an anger, a rebelliousness, a desire to fight the system that imprisoned my people.”

Nelson Mandela

“A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination.”

Nelson Mandela

“I cannot pinpoint a moment when I became politicized, when I knew that I would spend my life in the liberation struggle. 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...His life is circumscribed by racist laws and regulations that cripple his growth, dim his potential, and stunt his life...I had no epiphany, no singular revelation, no moment of truth, but a steady accumulation of a thousand slights, a thousand indignities, a thousand unremembered moments, produced in me an anger, a rebelliousness, a desire to fight the system that imprisoned my people. There was no particular day on which I said, From henceforth I will devote myself to the liberation of my people; instead, I simply found myself doing so, and could not do otherwise.”

Nelson Mandela

“One day, George Mbekela paid a visit to my mother. “Your son is a clever young fellow,” he said. “He should go to school.” My mother remained silent. No one in my family had ever attended school and my mother was unprepared for Mbekela’s suggestion. But she did relay it to my father, who despite—or perhaps because of—his own lack of education immediately decided that his youngest son should go to school.

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.”

Nelson Mandela

“After climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb.” 

Nelson Mandela

“Part of being optimistic is keeping one's head pointed towards the sun, one's feet moving forward.”

Nelson Mandela

“People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love.”

Nelson Mandela

“Out of the motorcar (I learned later that this majestic vehicle was a Ford V8) stepped a short, thickset man wearing a smart suit.”

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

“Es de sentido común que un sistema legal inmoral e injusto sólo puede engendrar desprecio hacia sus normas y sus leyes. Llegamos”

Nelson Mandela


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