Nelson Mandela, fully Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela

Nelson
Mandela, fully Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela
1918
2013

South African President, Anti-Apartheid Activist, Leader of Umkhonto we Sizwe, the armed wing of the African National Congress, Awarded Nobel Peace Prize

Author Quotes

Our demand is for a non-racial society... We are fighting for a society where people will cease thinking in terms of color... It's not a question of race; it's a question of ideas.

Since my release, I have become more convinced than ever that the real makers of history are the ordinary men and women of our country; their participation in every decision about the future is the only guarantee of true democracy and freedom.

The names of those who were incarcerated on Robben Island is a roll call of resistance fighters and democrats spanning over three centuries. If indeed this is a Cape of Good Hope, that hope owes much to the spirit of that legion of fighters and others of their calibre.

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.

Today we are a nation at peace with itself, united in our diversity, not only proclaiming but living out the contention that South Africa belongs to all who live in it. We take our place amongst the nations of the world, confident and proud in being an African country.

We enter into a covenant that we shall build a society in which all South Africans, both black and white, will be able to walk tall, without and fear in their hearts, assured of their inalienable right to human dignity - a rainbow nation at peace with itself and the world

We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us, it's in everyone.

It is wise to persuade people to do things and make them think it was their own idea.

Let it never be said by future generations that indifference, cynicism or selfishness made us fail to live up to the ideals of humanism which the Nobel Peace Prize encapsulates.

No, no, no, everything is all right. I have regular medical check-ups and they say I won?t die this week.

Great anger and violence can never build a nation. We are striving to proceed in a manner and towards a result, which will ensure that all our people, both black and white, emerge as victors.

I and some colleagues came to the conclusion that as violence in this country was inevitable, it would be wrong and unrealistic for African leaders to continue preaching peace and non-violence at a time when the government met our peaceful demands with force. It was only when all else had failed, when all channels of peaceful protest had been barred to us, that the decision was made to embark on violent forms of political struggle.

I have already mentioned that I was one of the persons who helped to form Umkhonto. I, and the others who started the organization, did so for two reasons. Firstly, we believed that as a result of Government policy, violence by the African people had become inevitable, and that unless responsible leadership was given to canalize and control the feelings of our people, there would be outbreaks of terrorism which would produce an intensity of bitterness and hostility between the various races of this country which is not produced even by war. Secondly, we felt that without violence there would be no way open to the African people to succeed in their struggle against the principle of white supremacy. All lawful modes of expressing opposition to this principle had been closed by legislation, and we were placed in a position in which we had either to accept a permanent state of inferiority, or to defy the Government. We chose to defy the law. We first broke the law in a way which avoided any recourse to violence; when this form was legislated against, and then the Government resorted to a show of force to crush opposition to its policies, only then did we decide to answer violence with violence. But the violence which we chose to adopt was not terrorism. We who formed Umkhonto were all members of the African National Congress, and had behind us the ANC tradition of non-violence and negotiation as a means of solving political disputes. We believe that South Africa belongs to all the people who live in it, and not to one group, be it black or white. We did not want an interracial war, and tried to avoid it to the last minute. If the Court is in doubt about this, it will be seen that the whole history of our organization bears out what I have said, and what I will subsequently say, when I describe the tactics which Umkhonto decided to adopt.

I really wanted to retire and rest and spend more time with my children, my grandchildren and of course with my wife. But the problems are such that for anybody with a conscience who can use whatever influence he may have to try to bring about peace, it's difficult to say no.

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.

India is Gandhi's country of birth; South Africa his country of adoption. He was both an Indian and a South African citizen. Both countries contributed to his intellectual and moral genius, and he shaped the liberatory movements in both colonial theaters. He is the archetypal anticolonial revolutionary. His strategy of noncooperation, his assertion that we can be dominated only if we cooperate with our dominators and his nonviolent resistance inspired anticolonial and antiracist movements internationally in our century.

Having resentment against someone is like drinking poison and thinking it will kill your enemy.

I came to accept that I have no right whatsoever to judge others in terms of my own customs.

I have always believed that exercise is the key not only to physical health but to peace of mind.

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."

If there is a country that has committed unspeakable atrocities in the world, it is the United States of America. They don't care for human beings.... What I am condemning is that one power, with a president [George W. Bush] who has no foresight, who cannot think properly, is now wanting to plunge the world into a holocaust.

Injustice robs both the oppressor and the oppressed freedom.

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.

I can confirm that we are ready, able, willing and capable as well as passionate about hosting the World Cup.

I have always regarded myself, in the first place, as an African patriot.

Author Picture
First Name
Nelson
Last Name
Mandela, fully Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela
Birth Date
1918
Death Date
2013
Bio

South African President, Anti-Apartheid Activist, Leader of Umkhonto we Sizwe, the armed wing of the African National Congress, Awarded Nobel Peace Prize