Nelson Mandela, in his own words

By CNN Staff

Published July 17, 2020

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Nelson Mandela had many roles during his lifetime, including freedom fighter, prisoner, Nobel Peace Prize winner, and President of South Africa. He was also a hero to millions. Here are some of the most inspirational quotes from the man known affectionately as "Madiba."

The Elders

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


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.

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Our struggle for freedom and justice was a collective effort...It is in your hands to create a better world for all who live in it

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Out of the experience of an extraordinary human disaster that lasted too long, must be born a society of which all humanity will be proud.

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We understand it still that there is no easy road to freedom. We know it well that none of us acting alone can achieve success.

To deny people their human rights is to challenge their very humanity. To impose on them a wretched life of hunger and deprivation is to dehumanize them. But such has been the terrible fate of all black persons in our country under the system of apartheid.

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People may say to spend 27 years in prison you have wasted your life. But the greatest thing for a politician is whether the ideas to which you've committed your life are still alive, whether these ideas are likely to triumph in the end, and everything that happened showed that we have not sacrified in vain.

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What a sweet euphemism for self-praise the English language has evolved!


Only armchair politicians are immune from committing mistakes. Errors are inherent in political action.


Until I was jailed I never fully appreciated the capacity of memory, the endless string of information the head can carry.


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