Nelson Mandela’s death on Thursday at the age of 95 resonated deeply with the entire world.
South African president Zuma informed his nation of Mandela by stating, “Our nation has lost its greatest son, yet what made Nelson Mandela great was precisely what made him human. We saw in him what we seek in ourselves, and in him we saw so much of ourselves.”
Mandela’s courageous battle to guide South Africa through the horrors of Apartheid, before finally becoming the country’s president, is one of the most astounding quests in history.
What helped to cement Mandela’s status as an inspiration to people around the globe was his astute, articulate and inspiring speeches.
The Nobel Peace Prize winner certainly had a way with words, and his countless proclamations were filled to the brim with quotes.
All of which were embodied his defiant spirit and which also helped to guide people through their own personal times of toil.
Here are some of Mandela’s most inspiring quotes:
Mandela on death:
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.
April 1964: While facing the death penalty, Nelson Mandela made the following speech towards the end of his trial:
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 will live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for. But, my lord, if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.
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.
Discussing optimism in his autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom:
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.
We recall our terrible past so that we can deal with it, to forgive where forgiveness is necessary, without forgetting; to ensure that never again will such inhumanity tear us apart; and to move ourselves to eradicate a legacy that lurks dangerously as a threat to our democracy.
Here are some other incredible words of wisdom from the great man:
“Difficulties break some men but make others. No axe is sharp enough to cut the soul of a sinner who keeps on trying, one armed with the hope that he will rise even in the end…”
“Real leaders must be ready to sacrifice all for the freedom of their people.”
“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.”
“Do not judge me by my successes, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again.”
“A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination.”
What are your memories of Nelson Mandela?