The Great Heart And Wisdom Of Nelson Mandela

nelson mandela

Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela nobel peace prize winner of 1993, president of South Africa from 1994 to 1999 who led the peaceful transition from a white-only rule into one of democracy after serving 27 years in prison for “high treason”, sabotage and other crimes while he was leading the anti-apartheid movement.  Through many public appearances especially those televised in the past two decades, he became internationally recognized and admired as something more than an activist.  He spoke in favour of reconciliation even after being imprisoned for 27 years. He was an intellectual who had grown into a leader of peace and became a man of wisdom and honour and something more still…a gentleman with a great heart and majestic spirit.  Below are some quotes I have compiled of this truly inspiring man.

“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.”

“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.”

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

“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.”

“A leader. . .is like a shepherd. He stays behind the flock, letting the most nimble go out ahead, whereupon the others follow, not realizing that all along they are being directed from behind.”

“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.”

“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.”

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

“It is never my custom to use words lightly. If twenty-seven years in prison have done anything to us, it was to use the silence of solitude to make us understand how precious words are and how real speech is in its impact on the way people live and die.”

“If there are dreams about a beautiful South Africa, there are also roads that lead to their goal.  Two of these roads could be named Goodness and Forgiveness.”

“When a man has done what he considers to be his duty to his people and country, he can rest in peace.  I believe I have made that effort and that is, therefore, why I will sleep for the eternity.”

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