9 of the best quotes by Nelson Mandela

9 of the best quotes by Nelson Mandela


On the 18th of July we celebrate Nelson Mandela Day, a day when people all over the world dedicate 67 minutes of their time to a good cause. As we think back on his leadership, let us remember some of his best known quotes:


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

Long Walk to Freedom

“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.”


“We need to restore and reaffirm the dignity of the people of Africa and the developing world. We need to place the eradication of poverty at the top of world priorities. We need to know with a fresh conviction that we all share a common humanity and that our diversity in the world is the strength for our future together.” – Nelson Mandela


“We, the people of South Africa, declare for all our country and the world to know: That South Africa belongs to all who live in it, black and white, and that no government can justly claim authority unless it is based on the will of the people.”

— Opening words of the Freedom Charter[92]


“I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons will live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to see realised. But if it needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.”

Mandela’s Rivonia Trial Speech, 196


“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.” 

– Long Walk to Freedom.


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

– University of the Witwatersrand South Africa, 2003

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


“I stand here before you not as a prophet but as a humble servant of you, the people. Your tireless and heroic sacrifices have made it possible for me to be here today. I therefore place the remaining years of my life in your hands.” 




Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *