10 Most Inspiring Nelson Mandela Quotes
Written by Project Inspired | December 12, 2013
Last week, the world lost an extraordinarily inspirational man: Nelson Mandela. The South African president, politician and philanthropist was famously imprisoned for 27 years, but rose above everything he went through to become an important revolutionary and a teacher to both his people and the world. His loss has been felt everywhere, and his quotes, memories and stories have flooded the Internet over the last week. Here at PI, we wanted to honor the late leader by celebrating his brave life with 10 of his most inspirational quotes.
- “A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination.”
- “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.”
- “Education is the great engine of personal development. It is through education that the daughter of a peasant can become a doctor, that the son of a mine worker can become the head of the mine, that a child of farm workers can become the president of a great nation. It is what we make out of what we have, not what we are given, that separates one person from another.”
- “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 lies defeat and death.”
- “When I walked out of prison, that was my mission, to liberate the oppressed and the oppressor both. Some say that has now been achieved. But I know that that is not the case. The truth is that we are not yet free; we have merely achieved the freedom to be free, the right not to be oppressed. We have not taken the final step of our journey, but the first step on a longer and even more difficult road. 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. The true test of our devotion to freedom is just beginning.”
- “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.”
- “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.”
- “The presence of so many women from so many parts of our land underlines the weight of the pledge for women of South Africa to join hands with government for Unity, Peace and Development. The legacy of oppression weighs heavily on women. As long as women are bound by poverty and as long as they are looked down upon, human rights will lack substance. As long as outmoded ways of thinking prevent women from making a meaningful contribution to society, progress will be slow. As long as the nation refuses to acknowledge the equal role of more than half of itself, it is doomed to failure.”
- “It always seems impossible until it’s done.”
- “We must use time wisely and forever realize that the time is always ripe to do right.”
Do you have a favorite Mandela quote that we didn’t feature? Please share it in the comments below!