Nelson Mandela

BY ISN STAFFDecember 5, 2013

Our global community mourns the loss of Nelson Mandela, a saintly figure whose struggle for peace and justice in South Africa and beyond has inspired millions.  Below is a collection of quotations from Mandela’s writings and speeches that we found especially inspiring today  We invite you to share quotations you find meaningful or reflections on Mandela’s legacy.

Nelson MandelaOn Leadership
“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.”

“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.”

“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.”

“I was not a messiah, but an ordinary man who had become a leader because of extraordinary circumstances.”

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

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

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

“He knew when to compromise. Yet he never compromised his principles. He was a militant. Yet a militant who knew how to plan, assess concrete situations and emerge with rational solutions to problems.”

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

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

On Freedom
“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.”

“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.”

“Our single most important challenge is therefore to help establish a social order in which the freedom of the individual will truly mean the freedom of the individual.”

“I have walked that long road to freedom. I have tried not to falter; I have made missteps along the way. But I have discovered the secret that after climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb. I have taken a moment here to rest, to steal a view of the glorious vista that surrounds me, to look back on the distance I have come. But I can only rest for a moment, for with freedom come responsibilities, and I dare not linger, for my long walk is not ended.”

“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”

On Lving in a Global Community
“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.”

“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.”

“Overcoming poverty is not a task of charity, it is an act of justice. Like Slavery and Apartheid, poverty is not natural. It is man-made and it can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings. Sometimes it falls on a generation to be great. YOU can be that great generation. Let your greatness blossom.”

On Our Response to the Vulnerable in Our Midst
“A Nation should not be judged by how it treats its highest citizens, but it’s lowest ones.”

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

On Love
“No one is born hating another person because of the color 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.”

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

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