Nelson Mandela is one of the history’s most inspirational figures. A passionate believer in the potential of people of all backgrounds and origin and equal rights, Mandela possessed a firm trust in the capacity of honesty, empathy and dialogue to heal the most intractable and deepest wounds.

In 1993, he earned a Noble Prize and the next year became South Africa’s first black president following a 20-year anti-apartheid campaign.

He was a man who lived his entire life in a selfless manner. May his quotes have an impact on everyone to believe in yourself in order to live the life courageously and make a good impact on the globe. 

Quotes by Nelson Mandela:

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

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

3.”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.”

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

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

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

7.”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.”

8.”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 a danger. Then people will appreciate your leadership.”

9.” To deny people their human rights is to challenge their very humanity.”

10.”No country can really develop unless its citizens are educated.” 

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

12.”Courageous people do not fear forgiving, for the sake of peace.”

13.”We pledge ourselves to liberate all our people from the continuing bondage of poverty, deprivation, suffering, gender and other discrimination.”

14.”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.”

15.”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.”  

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

17.”A good leader can engage in a debate frankly and thoroughly, knowing that at the end he and the other side must be closer, and thus emerge stronger. You don’t have that idea when you are arrogant, superficial, and uninformed.”

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

19.”I should tie myself to no particular system of society other than of socialism.”

20.”Our human compassion binds us the one to the other – not in pity or patronizingly, but as human beings who have learned how to turn our common suffering into hope for the future.”

21.”After one has been in prison, it is the small things that one appreciates: being able to take a walk whenever one wants, going into a shop and buying a newspaper, speaking or choosing to remain silent. The simple act of being able to control one’s person.”

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

23.”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.”

24.”There are many people who feel that it is useless and futile to continue talking about peace and non-violence against a government whose only reply is savage attacks on an unarmed and defenseless people.”

25.”I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs are, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.” 

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

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

28.”Our daily deeds as ordinary South Africans must produce an actual South African reality that will reinforce humanity’s belief in justice, strengthen its confidence in the nobility of the human soul, and sustain all our hopes for a glorious life for all.”

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

30.”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.”

31.”Even if you have a terminal disease, you don’t have to sit down and mope. Enjoy life and challenge the illness that you have.”

32.”Only free men can negotiate. A prisoner cannot enter into contracts.”

33.”People respond in accordance to how you relate to them. If you approach them on the basis of violence, that’s how they’ll react. But if you say, ‘We want peace, we want stability,’ we can then do a lot of things that will contribute towards the progress of our society.”

34.”I stand here before you not as a prophet, but as a humble servant of you, the people.”

35.”Running taught me valuable lessons. In cross-country competition, training counted more than intrinsic ability, and I could compensate for a lack of natural aptitude with diligence and discipline. I applied this in everything I did.”

36.”Leaders in all spheres who are living with HIV should be encouraged, not coerced, to lead by example and disclose their HIV status.”

37.”By ancestry, I was born to rule.”

38.”There is no such thing as part freedom.” 

39.”I realized quickly what Mandela and Tambo meant to ordinary Africans. It was a place where they could come and find a sympathetic ear and a competent ally, a place where they would not be either turned away or cheated, a place where they might actually feel proud to be represented by men of their own skin color.”

40.”There are times when a leader must move out ahead of the flock, go off in a new direction, confident that he is leading his people the right way.”

41.”I am confident that nobody… will accuse me of selfishness if I ask to spend time, while I am still in good health, with my family, my friends and also with myself.”

42.”Unlike some politicians, I can admit to a mistake.”

43.”Sometimes, I feel like one who is on the sidelines, who has missed life itself.”

44.”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.”

45.”You know, you can only lead them from behind.”

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

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

48.”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.”

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

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

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

52.”To deny people their human rights is to challenge their very humanity.”

53.”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.”

54.”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.”

55.”No country can really develop unless its citizens are educated.”

56.”As long as poverty, injustice and gross inequality persist in our world, none of us can truly rest.”

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

58.”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.”

59.”We pledge ourselves to liberate all our people from the continuing bondage of poverty, deprivation, suffering, gender and other discrimination.” 

60.”A good leader can engage in a debate frankly and thoroughly, knowing that at the end he and the other side must be closer, and thus emerge stronger. You don’t have that idea when you are arrogant, superficial, and uninformed.”

61.”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.”

62.”Where globalization means, as it so often does, that the rich and powerful now have new means to further enrich and empower themselves at the cost of the poorer and weaker, we have a responsibility to protest in the name of universal freedom.”

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

64.”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.”

65.”Any man or institution that tries to rob me of my dignity will lose.”

66.”Our daily deeds as ordinary South Africans must produce an actual South African reality that will reinforce humanity’s belief in justice, strengthen its confidence in the nobility of the human soul, and sustain all our hopes for a glorious life for all.”

67.”When a man is denied the right to live the life he believes in, he has no choice but to become an outlaw.”

68.”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.”

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

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

71.”Lead from the back — and let others believe they are in front.”

72.”I am not a saint unless you think of a saint as a sinner who keeps on trying.”

73.”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.”

74.”As I have said, the first, thing is to be honest with yourself. You can never have an impact on society if you have not changed yourself… Great peacemakers are all people of integrity, of honesty, but humility.”

75.”As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.”

76.”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.”

77.”It is said that 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.”

78.”A winner is a dreamer who never gives up.” 

79.” Once a person is determined to help themselves, there is nothing that can stop them.”

80.”Your playing small does not serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.”

81.”It is music and dancing that make me at peace with the world.”