Freedom fighter, statesman, moral compass and South Africa’s symbol of the struggle against racial oppression.
That was Nelson Mandela, who emerged from prison after 27 years to lead his country out of decades of apartheid.
Here are some of his inspiring quotes:
“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.
“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.
“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.
“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.
“We understand it still that there is no easy road to freedom. We know it well that none of us acting alone can acheive success. We must therefore act together as a united people, for national reconciliation, for nation building, for the birth of a new world.
“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.
“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 sacrificed in vain.
“I came to accept that I have no right whatsoever to
judge others in terms of my own customs, however much I may be proud of such customs.
“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.”