Inspiring quotes from Nelson Mandela

Even though he was (and still is) in hospital in a critical condition, we think it’s pretty amazing that Nelson Mandela celebrated his 95th birthday on the 18th of July! Here are our favourite 18 quotes by the great Madiba.

Nelson Mandela

Mandela, at the 7th annual Mandela lecture in Johannesburg, 2009. (AP Photo)

  1. “It always seems impossible until it’s done.”
  2. “If you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy. Then he becomes your partner.” – Long Walk to Freedom
  3. “I have always believed that exercise is the key not only to physical health but to peace of mind.” – Long Walk to Freedom
  4. “Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies.”
  5. “No one truly knows a nation until one has been inside its jails. A nation should not be judged by how it treats its highest citizens but its lowest ones.”
  6. “Do not judge me by my successes, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again.”
  7. “What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead.” – 90th birthday celebration of Walter Sisulu,18 May 2002
  8. “The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” – Long Walk to Freedom
  9. “Our children are our greatest treasure. They are our future. Those who abuse them tear at the fabric of our society and weaken our nation.” – National Men`s March, 1997
  10. “There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find ways in which you yourself have altered.” – A Long Walk to Freedom
  11. “No one is born hating another person because of the colour 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.” – Long Walk to Freedom.
  12. “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.” – Long Walk to Freedom
  13. “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” – University of the Witwatersrand South Africa, 2003
  14. “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.”
  15. “A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination.” – Long Walk to Freedom
  16. “We must use time wisely and forever realise that the time is always ripe to do right.”
  17. “Death is something inevitable. When a man has done what he considers to be his duty to his people and his country, he can rest in peace. I believe I have made that effort and that is, therefore, why I will sleep for the eternity.” – From an interview for the documentary Mandela, 1994
  18. “Man’s goodness is a flame that can be hidden but never extinguished.”


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