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35 Of The Most Inspirational Nelson Mandela Quotes

Last Updated: January 1, 2024 by Team

Nelson Mandela, often revered as one of the most iconic figures of the 20th century, was a symbol of peace, resistance, and reconciliation. Born on July 18, 1918, in the village of Mvezo in South Africa, Mandela became an instrumental figure in the fight against apartheid, South Africa’s brutal system of racial segregation.

A qualified lawyer, Mandela joined the African National Congress (ANC) in 1943, dedicating his life to the struggle against racial oppression in his country. His activism led to his imprisonment for 27 years, a period during which his reputation as a potent symbol of resistance to apartheid grew both in South Africa and internationally.

Mandela’s release from prison in 1990 marked a pivotal moment in South African history. He led negotiations to dismantle apartheid, fostering a peaceful transition to majority rule. In 1994, he became South Africa’s first Black president in a fully representative democratic election, embodying the hopes and dreams of millions.

Throughout his life and even after his presidency, Mandela remained a global advocate for peace and social justice. His legacy is not just in his political achievements, but also in his moral courage, his unyielding commitment to equality, and his belief in the power of forgiveness and reconciliation. Mandela passed away on December 5, 2013, but his influence continues to inspire movements for justice and freedom across the world.

Here, we have his very best quotes about love and compassion for others (who may or may not seem to “deserve” it), the greatest Nelson Mandela quotes about fear and overcoming hardships for the greater good, and more.

Nelson Mandela Quotes

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

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” – Nelson Mandela

“The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.” – Nelson Mandela

“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.” – 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

“Money won’t create success, the freedom to make it will.” – Nelson Mandela

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

“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

“Everyone can rise above their circumstances and achieve success if they are dedicated to and passionate about what they do.” – Nelson Mandela

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

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

“I am not a saint, unless you think of a saint as a sinner who keeps on trying.” – Nelson Mandela

“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

“Overcoming poverty is not a task of charity, it is an act of justice.” – Nelson Mandela

“Difficulties break some men but make others.” – Nelson Mandela

“When people are determined they can overcome anything.” – Nelson Mandela

“Real leaders must be ready to sacrifice all for the freedom of their people.” – Nelson Mandela

“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.” – Nelson Mandela

“I am not an optimist, but a great believer of hope.” – Nelson Mandela

“Courageous people do not fear forgiving, for the sake of peace.” – Nelson Mandela

“A winner is a dreamer who never gives up.” – Nelson Mandela

“We must use time wisely and forever realize that the time is always ripe to do right.” – Nelson Mandela

“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

“No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion.” – Nelson Mandela

“Man’s goodness is a flame that can be hidden but never extinguished.” – Nelson Mandela

“It is in your hands, to make a better world for all who live in it.” – Nelson Mandela

“There can be no greater gift than that of giving one’s time and energy to help others without expecting anything in return.” – Nelson Mandela

“Never, never and never again shall it be that this beautiful land will again experience the oppression of one by another.” – Nelson Mandela

“Freedom is indivisible; the chains on any one of my people were the chains on all of them, the chains on all of my people were the chains on me.” – Nelson Mandela

“Let freedom reign. The sun never set on so glorious a human achievement.” – Nelson Mandela

“After climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb.” – Nelson Mandela

“We must strive to be moved by a generosity of spirit that will enable us to outgrow the hatred and conflicts of the past.” – Nelson Mandela

“Let there be justice for all. Let there be peace for all.” – Nelson Mandela

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