Nelson Mandela was a South-African revolutionary leader who is regarded worldwide for his anti-apartheid movement. He was born in 1918 and was first in his family to receive formal education and eventually worked as a lawyer in Johannesburg. He joined anti-colonial politics and co-founded the youth wing of African National Congress.
He served a prison sentence of 27 years for sedition and sabotage campaign against the white-only government. During this time, he gained international fame and became a symbol of human equality. On his release, he was voted President in 1994, the first multiracial general election. He held the office of President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999. His government worked to uphold the human rights, combat poverty and expand healthcare system. He declined the second term and focused on his foundations' work towards the eradication of HIV/AIDS and poverty.
Nelson Mandela died on 5th December 2013 due to prolonged respiratory infection. Ten days of national mourning was announced on his death, and it saw public, politicians and even foreign representatives flock to the country to pay their last respect.
During his service towards the nation, he widely gained the title of the father of the nation and the founding father of democracy. Not just in his country but outside South Africa too, he was highly regarded, and continues to be. He is the most revered figure of all times. He is regarded as a messiah to the people of his race, and an anti-colonial, anti-racist hero.
Following are a few of the most inspiring Nelson Mandela quotes.
It always seems impossible until it's done.
Just because something seems impossible and has never been achieved by anyone, doesn't mean it cannot be achieved at all. Don't get disheartened just because something seems difficult. Take one step at a time and keep on working with a strong belief.
Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.
A nation or society or an individual cannot progress without education. Children must be provided with primary education, only then will they be capable enough to choose for themselves what is right and what is wrong, they will be able to build a career for themselves. It is a very important tool if you want to change people's lives. Education is the only way to do away with all the evils of the past and to improve the future with innovations.
Where you stand depends on where you sit.
Your opinions and views depend on where you stand in society. Your financial, social, political stature highly influences your thinking and perception.
Nonviolence is a good policy when the conditions permit.
Nonviolence is always a better option compared to violence. But there are times when it might not be effective. History is laden with examples when people were forced to fight to preserve their safety and dignity. Most of the freedom struggles saw battles and bloodshed, as a last resort to liberation.
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.
Don't settle down for small when you are capable of being greater. There is no passion and enthusiasm in working for easy goals. There is no excitement when you are staying within your comfort zone. It's only when you reach for harder goals you feel challenged and fulfilling the same fills you with the feeling achievement and victory.
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.
You cannot eliminate fear altogether. It is a natural response of your body to any things that have the potential to harm you. However, quitting because you are afraid is not a given. You are courageous only when you are determined enough to overcome your fear and not quit.
There is no easy walk to freedom anywhere, and many of us will have to pass through the valley of the shadow of death again and again before we reach the mountaintop of our desires.
It is not easy to revolt against the status quo. Past has shown that, whenever people have fought for their fundamental rights for freedom, it has been filled with riots, sacrifices and deaths.
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.
This is what a true leader should be. Giving your team credit for success boosts their morale and encourages them to work better. And taking the front line when the situation gets tougher, makes them feel like you have their back. That will earn you their respect.
I am confident that nobody... will accuse me of selfishness if I ask to spend time, while I am still in good health, with my family, my friends and also with myself.
He is trying to explain the importance of a family. Wanting to spend more time with your family and friends is not selfish. Life is too short not to spend it with the people you love and care for. Always try to take some time for them and also for yourself. Spend some time doing what you love.
When the water starts boiling it is foolish to turn off the heat.
It is about persistence and maintaining momentum, especially when time becomes crucial.
I stand here before you not as a prophet, but as a humble servant of you, the people.
He is an epitome of a great leader. A leader shouldn't have any arrogance or think his followers are inferior to him in any way. He should be driven by the feeling of able to serve others. His primary purpose is to make the lives of his followers better.
Continue reading some of the best and top Nelson Mandela quotes on Education, Leadership, Freedom, Equality, Peace and Success....
Running taught me valuable lessons. In cross-country competition, training counted more than intrinsic ability, and I could compensate for a lack of natural aptitude with diligence and discipline. I applied this in everything I did.
Training and discipline can trump natural talents and skills. Work harder on things which you are not naturally good at. A person who is born with talent will eventually lose it if not worked on. If you are not born with some specific skill, you can always become good at it through sheer practice.
Whatever position I occupied, it was the result of colleagues - of my comrades in the movement - who had decided in their wisdom to use me for the purpose of focusing the attention of the country and the international community on me.
Nelson Mandela is trying to stress the fact that a man's success does not solely depend upon himself. As one man's effort might not suffice without the assistance of his comrades. Without the backing of his fellow men in the movement, he wouldn't have been able to gain popularity for their cause nationally and internationally.
Prison life, fortunately, I spent a lot of years, about 18 years with other prisoners, and, as I say, they enriched your soul.
Instead of viewing prison as a form of punishment inflicted upon him by the white supremacists, he used that time to grow his mental and emotional faculties. He didn't let the punishment break his character and soul. Instead, he learnt from other prisoners and enriched his character.
It is wise to persuade people to do things and make them think it was their own idea.
One of the major tasks of a wise leader is to influence people's thinking and change their perception. One must not mistake the process as an authoritative manipulation, but it should be seen as a community coming together under strong leadership and each fighting for a greater cause.
A fundamental concern for others in our individual and community lives would go a long way in making the world the better place we so passionately dreamt of.
It means that a simple concern for a fellow human being can help improve the conditions of a nation. Just by showing sympathy and care for the people of our country can lead to the development of a better society.
I have retired, but if there's anything that would kill me it is to wake up in the morning not knowing what to do.
Our purpose is what makes us feel alive. It fills us with enthusiasm and hope every morning. This is the reason why we wake up every day and dedicate ourselves to work.
I can't pretend that I'm brave and that I can beat the whole world.
Truth is no one is brave enough to fight all the evils in the world, to stand up against every guy who intends to oppress others. We need to choose our battles and set our priorities. Having said that, none of us is weak that they can't fight against that one thing that is stripping them away of their freedom and dignity.
Let each know that for each the body, the mind and the soul have been freed to fulfill themselves.
The lines were part of his inaugural speech as President in 1994. He acknowledges their newfound freedom and tells his countrymen to use this freedom to fulfil their dreams. He implies that for a person to become his best version, he needs to be physically and mentally completely free. Only then can he learn without inhibitions. Only then can freely search for his purpose and follow it with all his might.
A winner is a dreamer who never gives up.
Dreams are what keeps hope alive. A dream is the first step towards the realization of a goal. In the toughest and darkest times, it is your dream that will show you your way out. So, don't stop dreaming.
Co-author: Shreya Arya
A digital marketing enthusiast with experience in HR and hospital management, Shreya has wide interests ranging from philosophy, psychology to latest trends in automation. She is also a freelance content writer and loves lending beautiful words to ideas and feelings.