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Nelson Mandela Quotes

About Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela

Life: 1918 - ?

Country: za flag South-Africa

Profession: Activist; President;

Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela IPA: (born 18 July 1918) is a former President of South Africa, the first to be elected in fully representative democratic elections. Before his presidency, Mandela was an anti-apartheid activist and leader of the African National Congress. He spent 27 years in prison, much of it in a cell on Robben Island, for spearheading the struggle against apartheid.

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View Afrikaans quotes by this author.

Quotations

There are many people who feel that it is useless and futile for us to continue talking peace and non-violence - against a government whose only reply is savage attacks on an unarmed and defenceless people. And I think the time has come for us to consider, in the light of our experiences at this day at home, whether the methods which we have applied so far are adequate.

~ Nelson Mandela

Only free men can negotiate; prisoners cannot enter into contracts. Your freedom and mine cannot be separated.

~ Nelson Mandela

- Refusing to bargain for freedom after 21 years in prison, as quoted in TIME (25 February 1985)

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

~ Nelson Mandela

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.

~ Nelson Mandela

- Speech on the day of his release, Cape Town (11 February 1990)

I remember we adjourned for lunch and a friendly Afrikaner warder asked me the question, "Mandela, what do you think is going to happen to you in this case?" I said to him, "Agh, they are going to hang us." Now, I was really expecting some word of encouragement from him. And I thought he was going to say, "Agh man, that can never happen." But he became serious and then he said, "I think you are right, they are going to hang you."

~ Nelson Mandela

- All Things Considered (NPR) broadcast (27 April 2004)

Let's hope that Ken Osterbroek will be the last person to die.

~ Nelson Mandela

- Spoken shortly after Inkatha announced that they would participate in the 1994 elections. (The Bang-Bang Club p. 168)

The UN took a strong stand against apartheid; and over the years, an international consensus was built, which helped to bring an end to this iniquitous system. But we know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians.

~ Nelson Mandela

- Address at The International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People

The majority of South Africans, black and white, recognize that apartheid has no future. It has to be ended by our own decisive mass action in order to build peace and security. The mass campaign of defiance and other actions of our organization and people can only culminate in the establishment of democracy.

~ Nelson Mandela

- Our March to Freedom is Irreversible (1990)

There must be an end to white monopoly on political power, and a fundamental restructuring of our political and economic systems to ensure that the inequalities of apartheid are addressed and our society thoroughly democratized.

~ Nelson Mandela

- Our March to Freedom is Irreversible (1990)

Our march to freedom is irreversible. We must not allow fear to stand in our way.

~ Nelson Mandela

- Our March to Freedom is Irreversible (1990)

We speak here of the challenge of the dichotomies of war and peace, violence and non-violence, racism and human dignity, oppression and repression and liberty and human rights, poverty and freedom from want.

~ Nelson Mandela

- Nobel Prize acceptance speech (1993)

Today we are entering a new era for our country and its people. Today we celebrate not the victory of a party, but a victory for all the people of South Africa.

~ Nelson Mandela

- Inaugural speech (1994)

Perhaps it was history that ordained that it be here, at the Cape of Good Hope that we should lay the foundation stone of our new nation. For it was here at this Cape, over three centuries ago, that there began the fateful convergence of the peoples of Africa, Europe and Asia on these shores.

~ Nelson Mandela

- Inaugural speech (1994)

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.

~ Nelson Mandela

- Long Walk to Freedom (1995)

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

~ Nelson Mandela

- Long Walk to Freedom (1995)

I detest racialism because I regard it as a barbaric thing, whether it comes from a black man or a white man.

~ Nelson Mandela

- Long Walk to Freedom (1995)

It's a tragedy what is happening, what Bush is doing. All Bush wants is Iraqi oil. There is no doubt that the U.S. is behaving badly. Why are they not seeking to confiscate weapons of mass destruction from their ally Israel? This is just an excuse to get Iraq's oil.

~ Nelson Mandela

- Iraq War speech (2003)

What I am condemning is that one power, with a president [George W. Bush] who has no foresight, who cannot think properly, is now wanting to plunge the world into a holocaust.

~ Nelson Mandela

- Iraq War speech (2003)

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

~ Nelson Mandela
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