Nelson Mandela Quotes

During my lifetime I have dedicated myself to this struggle of the African people. 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. But, my lord, if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.

Statement in the Rivonia Trial, Pretoria Supreme Court (20 April 1964)

I must deal immediately and at some length with the question of violence. Some of the things so far told to the Court are true and some are untrue. I do not, however, deny that I planned sabotage. I did not plan it in a spirit of recklessness, nor because I have any love of violence. I planned it as a result of a calm and sober assessment of the political situation that had arisen after many years of tyranny, exploitation, and oppression of my people by the Whites.

Statement in the Rivonia Trial, Pretoria Supreme Court (20 April 1964)

Friends, Comrades and fellow South Africans. I greet you all in the name of peace, democracy and freedom for all. 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.

Our March to Freedom is Irreversible (1990)

Our march to freedom is irreversible. We must not allow fear to stand in our way. Universal suffrage on a common voters’ roll in a united, democratic and non-racial South Africa is the only way to peace and racial harmony.

Our March to Freedom is Irreversible (1990)

” 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.”

From Nelson Mandela’s speech on the day of his release Cape Town, 11 Feb 1990

The value of our shared reward will and must be measured by the joyful peace which will triumph, because the common humanity that bonds both black and white into one human race, will have said to each one of us that we shall all live like the children of paradise.

Thus shall we live, because we will have created a society which recognises that all people are born equal, with each entitled in equal measure to life, liberty, prosperity, human rights and good governance.

Such a society should never allow again that there should be prisoners of conscience nor that any person’s human right should be violated.

Nobel Peace Prize Acceptance Address (10 December 1993)

The calm and tolerant atmosphere that prevailed during the elections depicts the type of South Africa we can build. It set the tone for the future. We might have our differences, but we are one people with a common destiny in our rich variety of culture, race and tradition.

People have voted for the party of their choice and we respect that. This is democracy.

Announcing the ANC election victory, Johannesburg (2 May 1994)

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.

Inaugural celebration address (1994)

We have triumphed in the effort to implant hope in the breasts of the millions of our people. We enter into a covenant that we shall build the society in which all South Africans, both black and white, will be able to walk tall, without any fear in their hearts, assured of their inalienable right to human dignity — a rainbow nation at peace with itself and the world.

Inaugural celebration address (1994)

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 (1995)

I have come to join you today to add our own voice to the universal call for Palestinian self-determination and statehood. We would be beneath our own reason for existence as government and as a nation, if the resolution of the problems of the Middle East did not feature prominently on our agenda.

-“The International Day Of Solidarity With The Palestinian People”, Pretoria December 4th 1997

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

“Let freedom reign. The sun never set on so glorious a human achievement.”

“There is nothing like returning to a place that reminds unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered.”

Book Cover Nelson Mandela – In His Own Words

Book CoverMandela – The Authorised Portrait