Quotes from Nelson Mandela

20 years ago today, on the 2nd February of 1990 South African State President F.W. de Klerk reversed the ban on the ANC (African National Congress) and other Anti-Apartheid organisations in the country. He also announced in the same speech that Nelson Mandela would shortly be released from prison. Nelson Mandela had been jailed for 27 years by the South African Apartheid government on charges that included involvement in planning armed action (4 acts of sabotage) and conspiracy to help other countries invade South Africa. Nelson Mandela admitted to the sabotage charges but denied the conspiracy charge. After being released from prison on the 11th of February 1990 Nelson Mandela was inaugurated as the first democratically elected leader of South Africa in 1994. Over the years Nelson Mandela has received more than 250 rewards and honors, including the Nobel Peace prize in 1993 and other rewards. In 1993 he was also named as the Person of the Year by Time Magazine. Over the years the Nelson Mandela character has been portrayed in movies and television by 12 different people. Most recently Nelson Mandela was played by Morgan Freeman in the movie Invictus (in 2009). In 1997 Nelson Mandela was played by Sidney Portier in the made for TV film Mandela and De Klerk. The role of F.W. De Klerk was played in this film by veteran actor Michael Caine.

Here a few quotes from Nelson Mandela:

“When the water starts boiling it is foolish to turn off the heat.”

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

“There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered.”

“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.”

“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.”

“There is no such thing as part freedom.”

“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.”

“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.”

“There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children.”

“Only free men can negotiate, prisoners can not enter into contracts. Your freedom and mine cannot be separated.”

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

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

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

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

“It is better to lead from behind and to put others in front, especially when you celebrate victory when nice things occur. You take the front line when there is danger. Then people will appreciate your leadership.”

“It always seems impossible until its done.”

“In my country we go to prison first and then become President.”

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

“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.”

“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.”

“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.”

“If the United States of America or Britain is having elections, they don’t ask for observers from Africa or from Asia. But when we have elections, they want observers.”

“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.”

“I dream of the realization of the unity of Africa, whereby its leaders combine in their efforts to solve the problems of this continent. I dream of our vast deserts, of our forests, of all our great wildernesses.”

“I dream of an Africa which is in peace with itself.”

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

“I cannot conceive of Israel withdrawing if Arab states do not recognize Israel, within secure borders.”

“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.”

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

“Does anybody really think that they didn’t get what they had because they didn’t have the talent or the strength or the endurance or the commitment?”

“Communists have always played an active role in the fight by colonial countries for their freedom, because the short-term objects of Communism would always correspond with the long-term objects of freedom movements.”

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

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

Related Links:
South Africa remembers news of Mandela’s release 20 years on – AFP
F.W’s watershed address recalled – News24
F.W. De Klerk and the End of Apartheid – The Independent

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Henno Kruger
Blogger, Desktop Activist, Twitter / Facebook Addict, Music Festival Addict, Avid lover of South African music, Founder and owner of Running Wolf's Rant and co-founder of SA Music Zone
Henno Kruger

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