Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela (18 July 1918 – 5 December 2013) was a South African anti-apartheid revolutionary, political leader, and philanthropist who served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999. He was the country’s first black head of state and the first elected in a fully representative democratic election. This collection of inspirational Nelson Mandela quotes on leadership, forgiveness, courage, education, children, and about freedom will empower you.
53 Best Nelson Mandela Quotes
- “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 and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.” – Nelson Mandela
- “The greatest glory in living is not in falling, but in rising every time we fall.” – Nelson Mandela
- “There is nothing I fear more than waking up without a program that will help me bring a little happiness to those with no resources, those who are poor, illiterate, and ridden with a terminal disease.” – Nelson Mandela
“And if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love.” – Nelson Mandela
- “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.” – Nelson Mandela
- “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.” – Nelson Mandela
- “A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination.” – Nelson Mandela
“After climbing a great hill. One only finds that there are many more hills to climb.” – Nelson Mandela
- “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.” – Nelson Mandela
- “Sometimes, it falls upon a generation to be great. You can be that great generation. Let your greatness blossom.”- Nelson Mandela
- “Poverty is not an accident. Like slavery and apartheid, it is man-made and can be removed by the actions of human beings.”- Nelson Mandela
“Courage is not the absence of fear – it’s inspiring others to move beyond it.” – Nelson Mandela
- “There can be no greater gift than that of giving one’s time and energy to helping others without expecting anything in return.” – Nelson Mandela
- “What counts 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.” – Nelson Mandela
“Overcoming poverty is not a gesture of charity, it is an act of justice.” – Nelson Mandela
- “We know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians.” – Nelson Mandela
- “And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.” – Nelson Mandela
- “There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you have altered.” – Nelson Mandela
- “When a man is denied the right to live the life he believes in, he has no choice but to become an outlaw.” – Nelson Mandela
“May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears.” – Nelson Mandela
- “Part of being optimistic is keeping one’s head pointed toward the sun, one’s feet moving forward.” – Nelson Mandela
- “Real leaders must be ready to sacrifice all for the freedom of their people.” – Nelson Mandela, Nelson Mandela quotes on leadership
- “We commit ourselves to the construction of a complete, just, and lasting peace.” – Nelson Mandela
- “It is what we make out of what we have given, not what we are given, that separates one person from another.” – Nelson Mandela
“While poverty persists, there is no true freedom.” – Nelson Mandela
- “No single person can liberate a country. You can only liberate a country if you act as a collective.” – Nelson Mandela
- “Give a child love, laughter and peace.” – Nelson Mandela, Nelson Mandela quotes about children
- “If you want the cooperation of humans around you, you must make them feel they are important, and you do that by being genuine and humble.” – Nelson Mandela
- “We need to exert ourselves that much more, and break out of the vicious cycle of dependence imposed on us by the financially powerful: those in command of immense market power and those who dare to fashion the world in their own image.” – Nelson Mandela
“Forget the past.” – Nelson Mandela
- “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.”- Nelson Mandela
- “Courageous people do not fear forgiving, for the sake of peace.” – Nelson Mandela, Nelson Mandela quotes about fear
- “Never, never and never again shall it be that this beautiful land will again experience the oppression of one by another.” – Nelson Mandela
“Let there be work, bread, water and salt for all.” – Nelson Mandela
- “In my country, we go to prison first and then become President.” – Nelson Mandela
- “There is no easy walk to freedom anywhere.” – Nelson Mandela, Nelson Mandela quotes about freedom
- “We can change the world and make it a better place. It is in your hands to make a difference.” – Nelson Mandela
- “As long as poverty, injustice and gross inequality persist in our world, none of us can truly rest.” – Nelson Mandela
“People respond in accordance to how you treat them.” – Nelson Mandela
- “To deny people their human rights is to deny their very humanity.” – Nelson Mandela
- “Action without vision is only passing time, vision without action is merely daydreaming, but vision with action can change the world.” – Nelson Mandela
- “I dream of the realization of the unity of Africa, whereby its leaders combine in their efforts to solve the problems of this continent.” – Nelson Mandela
- “Without education, your children can never really meet the challenges they will face. So it’s very important to give children education and explain that they should play a role for their country.” – Nelson Mandela, Nelson Mandela quotes about education
Few Interesting Facts About Nelson Mandela
- Nelson Mandela was the president of South Africa from 1994-1999. He was the first black president of South Africa, and the first president to be elected in a fully representative election.
- Nelson Mandela’s government focused on destroying the Apartheid government in the country, which had focused on racial segregation enforced by the law.
- In school, Mandela studied law and became one of South Africa’s first black lawyers.
- In the 1950s, he was elected leader of the youth wing of the African National Congress (ANC) liberation movement.
- When the government prohibited the ANC for racial reasons, Mandela organized a secret military movement.
- Nelson Mandela was imprisoned from 1962-1990 for treason and conspiracy against the government. He was sentenced to life in prison but was released early when the ANC became legal again.
- While he was in prison, Mandela was a symbol to rally behind for the oppressed in South Africa who were fighting for rights.
- Mandela is considered the father of Modern South Africa. He was instrumental in tearing down the oppressive government and installing democracy.
- Mandela received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993 for peacefully destroying the Apartheid regime and laying the foundation for democracy. In addition to the Nobel Peace Prize, he won over 250 other awards.
- After retirement from politics, Mandela started the Nelson Mandela Foundation that focused on combating HIV/AIDS and supported rural development and school construction.
- In 2009, the United Nations proclaimed Mandela’s birthday (July 18th) to be Nelson Mandela International Day. The holiday asks people to spend 67 minutes doing something good for others, which represents the 67 years he spent working toward change.