39 Empowerment Quotes By Nelson Mandela

nelson mandelaAs we reflect on the legacy of Mr. Nelson Mandela as a man and leader perhaps we should ask, “What more can I do to make this one life better for those who have less?”

“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.” –  From an interview for the documentary Mandela, 1994

“We dedicate this day to all the heroes and heroines in this country and the rest of the world who sacrificed in many ways and surrendered their lives so that we could be free.

“Few things make the life of a parent more rewarding and sweet as successful children.” – Nelson Mandela

“It always seems impossible until it’s done.”   

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.

“Do not judge me by my successes, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again.”   

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

 I stand here before you not as a prophet but as a humble servant of you, the people. Your tireless and heroic sacrifices have made it possible for me to be here today. I therefore place the remaining years of my life in your hands. – First day of his release, Cape Town (11 February 1990)

I hate race discrimination most intensely and in all its manifestations. I have fought it all during my life; I fight it now, and will do so until the end of my days. Even although I now happen to be tried by one whose opinion I hold in high esteem, I detest most violently the set-up that surrounds me here. It makes me feel that I am a black man in a white man’s court. This should not be – First court statement, 1962

Our children are our greatest treasure. They are our future. Those who abuse them tear at the fabric of our society and weaken our nation. – National Men`s March, 1997

“There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find ways in which you yourself have altered.” – A Long Walk To Freedom, 1994.

 “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.” – 90th birthday celebration of Walter Sisulu, Walter Sisulu Hall, Johannesburg,18 May 2002

 “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.” – Long Walk to Freedom

 “Let there be work, bread, water and salt for all.” – Nelson Mandela

 Never, never and never again shall it be that this beautiful land will again experience the oppression of one by another and suffer the indignity of being the skunk of the world – Nelson Mandela, Inaugural Address, Pretoria 9 May 1994.

“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 with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for, and to see realised. But my Lord, if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.”- Defence statement during the Rivonia Trial, 1964

 “Lead from the back – and let others believe they are in front.” – Nelson Mandela

“You sharpen your ideas by reducing yourself to the level of the people you are with and a sense of humour and a complete relaxation, even when you’re discussing serious things, does help to mobilise friends around you. And I love that.” – From an interview with Tim Couzens, Verne Harris and Mac Maharaj for Mandela: The Authorised Portrait , 2006, 13 August 2005

“I was called a terrorist yesterday, but when I came out of jail, many people embraced me, including my enemies, and that is what I normally tell other people who say those who are struggling for liberation in their country are terrorists. I tell them that I was also a terrorist yesterday, but, today, I am admired by the very people who said I was one.” – Larry King Live, 16  May 2000

 The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” – Long Walk to Freedom

Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” – University of the Witwatersrand South Africa, 2003

 “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.” – Long Walk to Freedom.

“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

“If you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy. Then he becomes your partner.” Long Walk to Freedom

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. – Nelson Mandela

This is one of the most important moments in the life of our country. I stand here before you filled with deep pride and joy: — pride in the ordinary, humble people of this country. You have shown such a calm, patient determination to reclaim this country as your own, – and joy that we can loudly proclaim from the rooftops — free at last!  – Victory Speech, 1994

I have always believed that exercise is the key not only to physical health but to peace of mind. – Long Walk to Freedom 

A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination.

The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.

I always knew that someday I would once again feel the grass under my feet and walk in the sunshine as a free man.  

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.

Any man that tries to rob me of my dignity will lose.

You may succeed in delaying, but never in preventing the transition of South Africa to a democracy.

The authorities liked to say that we received a balanced diet; it was indeed balanced — between the unpalatable and the inedible.

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 rest only for a moment, for with freedom comes responsibilities, and I dare not linger, for my long walk is not yet ended.  

I really wanted to retire and rest and spend more time with my children, my grandchildren and of course with my wife. But the problems are such that for anybody with a conscience who can use whatever influence he may have to try to bring about peace, it’s difficult to say no. [Talking to Newsweek about why he continues to be active in social and political issues, 2002] 

We must use time wisely and forever realize that the time is always ripe to do right.

We are not anti-white, we are against white supremacy … we have condemned racialism no matter by whom it is professed. – Nelson Mandela, defence statement during the Treason Trial, 1961

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Jim Woods is president of The Jim Woods Group. A management consulting firm. Go here to see his work www.jimwoodsgroup.com. He advises and speaks to organizations large and small on how to increase top line growth in times of uncertainty and complexity. Some of his speaking and consulting clients include: U.S. Army, MITRE Corporation, Pitney Bowes, Whirlpool, and 3M. See more at his website www.jimwoodsgroup.com.

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