As Nelson Mandela prepares to leave this world, it is a good time to recall the life, and legacy he has left for all of us. Other then the incredible true stories of his victories over oppression and evil in South Africa, there is something more that he has given to the world. ‘Madiba,’ offered a roadmap of how to succeed against incredible odds while still showing deep and abiding concern for all humanity – how to use each experience as a teachable moment, an opportunity for the triumph of good. Although his stage and sphere of influence was political, the values expressed are practical and applicable for any parent, educator, community leader or world citizen.
Nothing shows his abiding wisdom and love for humanity more than his popular quotes and sayings that have been published and shared all over the world. Here are some of our favorite quotes from Nelson Mandela, offered in tribute to a great leader and a truly great man.
“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.” – Nelson Mandela
“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.” – Nelson Mandela
“Man’s goodness is a flame that can be hidden but never extinguished” – Nelson Mandela
“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.” – Nelson Mandela
“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.” – Nelson Mandela
“The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.” – Nelson Mandela
“Let there be work, bread, water and salt for all.” – Nelson Mandela
“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.” – Nelson Mandela
“The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” Nelson Mandela
“It always seems impossible until it’s done.” – Nelson Mandela
I am so inspired by the wisdom of Nelson Mandela, and I hope that it touches you as well! Share these with your children- teach them about this incredible leader from South Africa, and his dream of peace and equality.
My friend Daria Marmaluk-Hajioannou, award-winning multicultural musician of World Music for Children, graciously compiled this wonderful list of her favorite quotes from Nelson Mandela. Check out Nelson Mandela’s autobiography for kids to learn more about his inspiring life.