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36 dignifying quotes from the late Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela was the first black president of South Africa who aided in the eradicaiton of the apartheid system in his country. His early campaign of peaceful, non-violent defiance against the South African government and its racist policies landed him in prison for almost three decades;and it made him the the face of the anti-apartheid movement internationally.

Born on 18 July 1918, Nelson Mandela was a champion for peace, civil rights and social justice, landing him the Nobel Peace prize in 1993, while influencing generations of South Africans and people around the world.

Today, we reflect on his legacy and collected 38 (including images) of the things that he said:

On freedom:

On freedom:
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"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."

"Freedom is indivisible; the chains on any one of my people were the chains on all of them, the chains on all of my people were the chains on me."

 

On forgiveness:

On forgiveness:
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"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."

"Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies."

"You will achieve more in this world through acts of mercy than you will through acts of retribution."

 

On fear and courage:

On fear and courage:
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"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."

"Courageous people do not fear forgiving, for the sake of peace."

 

On oppression:

"When a man is denied the right to live the life he believes in, he has no choice but to become an outlaw."

 

About the goodness of mankind:
"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. Even in the grimmest times in prison, when my comrades and I were pushed to our limits, I would see a glimmer of humanity in one of the guards, perhaps just for a second, but it was enough to reassure me and keep me going. Man’s goodness is a flame that can be hidden but never extinguished."

"Peace is the greatest weapon for development that any person can have."

 

About the importance of education:

About the importance of education:
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"We all know that education, more than anything else, improves our chances of building better lives."

"A good head and good heart are always a formidable combination. But when you add to that a literate tongue or pen, then you have something very special."

"Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world."

"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 mineworker can become the head of the mine, that a child of farmworkers 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."

 

On communication:
"Without language, one cannot talk to people and understand them; one cannot share their hopes and aspirations, grasp their history, appreciate their poetry, or savor their songs."

"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."

 

On hope and optimisim:

On hope and optimisim:
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"May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears."

"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."

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

 

About the importance of personal attitude:
"One cannot be prepared for something while secretly believing it will not happen."

"It is not where you start but how high you aim that matters for success."

 

On perseverance:

On perseverance:
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"Do not judge me by my successes, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again."

"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."

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

 

...and determination:

...and determination:
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"A winner is a dreamer who never gives up."

"Once a person is determined to help themselves, there is nothing that can stop them."

"I am not a saint, unless you think of a saint as a sinner who keeps on trying."

 

On living life to the fullest:

On living life to the fullest:
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"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. Your playing small does not serve the world. There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you."

"Live life as though nobody is watching, and express yourself as though everyone is listening."

"It is what we make out of what we have, not what we are given, that separates one person from another."

 

On personal growth:
"There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered."

 

On leadership:

On leadership:
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"I can't pretend that I'm brave and that I can beat the whole world. But as a leader, you cannot let people know. You must put up a front."

"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."

"A leader... is like a shepherd. He stays behind the flock, letting the most nimble go out ahead, whereupon the others follow, not realizing that all along they are being directed from behind."

"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 will appreciate your leadership."

"If you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy. Then he becomes your partner."

"No single person can liberate a country. You can only liberate a country if you act as a collective."

 

On being a positive influence:

On being a positive influence:
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"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."

"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."

"As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others"

 

On equality:

"During my lifetime I have dedicated myself to this struggle of the African people. 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."

"For a revolution is not just a question of pulling a trigger; its purpose is to create a fair just society."

"It is said that 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."

 

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Love in truth doesn't need any other adjectives it doesn't require modifiers it doesn't require the condition of perfection it only asks that you show up and do your best

Love in truth doesn't need any other adjectives it doesn't require modifiers it doesn't require the condition of perfection it only asks that you show up and do your best

Do your thing do it unapologetically don't be discouraged by criticism you probably already know what they're going to say pay no mind to the fear of failure it's far more valuable than success

Do your thing do it unapologetically don't be discouraged by criticism you probably already know what they're going to say pay no mind to the fear of failure it's far more valuable than success

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