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Immortal Nelson Mandela Quotes

nelson mandela

 Nelson Mandela was born on July 18, 1918, in Mveso, Transkei, South Africa. Becoming actively involved in the anti-apartheid movement in his 20s, Mandela joined the African National Congress in 1942. For 20 years, he directed a campaign of peaceful, nonviolent defiance against the South African government and its racist policies. In 1993, Mandela and South African President F.W. de Klerk were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for their efforts to dismantle the country’s apartheid system. In 1994, Mandela was inaugurated as South Africa’s first black president. In 2009, Mandela’s birthday (July 18) was declared “Mandela Day” to promote global peace and celebrate the South African leader’s legacy. Mandela died at his home in Johannesburg on December 5, 2013, at age 95. (via

Nelson Mandela is one of my heroes – a larger than life person, who dared to take on a whole system at great personal cost, and triumphed over it, and yet managed not to be bitter. He was truly a person who walked the talk.

Today I want to reflect on some of his words and ask you to join me in doing this.

Immortal Nelson Mandela Quotes

“I hate race discrimination most intensely and in all its manifestations. I have fought it all during my life; I fight it now, and will do so until the end of my days.”

i am not a saint

“I am fundamentally an optimist. Whether that comes from nature or nurture, I cannot say. Part of being optimistic is keeping one’s head pointed toward the sun, one’s feet moving forward. There were many dark moments when my faith in humanity was sorely tested, but I would not and could not give myself up to despair. That way lays defeat and death.” from Long Walk to Freedom, Nelson Mandela’s autobiography.

as i walked out the door

“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.” from Long Walk to Freedom, Nelson Mandela’s autobiography

i learned that courage

no one is born hating

there is no passion

“If I had my time over I would do the same again, so would any man who dares call himself a man.”

The legacy of Nelson Mandela lives on – as do his immortal words!

This post is written for the letter ‘N’ for the Blogging From A to Z April Challenge 2014.


  1. Geeta Nair Geeta Nair July 19, 2014

    A lovely string of quotes Corinne. Each a reflection of the great soul. Thanks for the share.

    • Corinne Rodrigues Corinne Rodrigues Post author | July 19, 2014

      You’re very welcome, Geeta. Can never say enough about him, can we?

  2. Huma Huma July 18, 2014

    Nelson Mandela was truly an amazing human being …. and an inspiration to mankind….
    thank you Corinne for sharing his quotes …… very informative post

  3. Shiva Shiva July 18, 2014

    Nelson is my hero too… I just loved your pick of his quotes… The closest to my heart is “if I do not leave my bitterness and hatred behind, i would still be in prison” This is so go through all that he did and come out with hope and fire to still fight it out and change it for better without bitterness and discrimination.,..that is the true triumph of a soul.. Adore him!!!

    • Corinne Rodrigues Corinne Rodrigues Post author | July 19, 2014

      Thanks, Shiva. He was true one of the greats of our time!

  4. kalpana solsi kalpana solsi July 18, 2014

    A perfect choice for the letter N. Nelson Mandela not only fought against apartheid but conquered over hatredness and bitterness by leaving them in the prison.

  5. Rajlakshmi Rajlakshmi April 24, 2014

    he will always be an inspiration. The quotes are amazing. thank you for sharing them.

  6. Joyce Joyce April 20, 2014

    He truly was an amazing person and an inspiration to all of us.

  7. Richa Singh Richa Singh April 18, 2014

    I have read a lot about him and the collection of these quotes mark so many turns of years he had seen. But the most about him fighting discrimination up until the last day of his life…

  8. Suzy Suzy April 18, 2014

    Love the quote “As I walked out … ” So true that to move forward and be free, we have to learn to let go and forgive.

  9. Pixie Pixie April 17, 2014

    He was such an inspiration!
    Thank you for sharing his most famous words Corinne ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. Timothy Brannan Timothy Brannan April 17, 2014

    Great quotes.

    While I don’t think Mandela was perfect (and neither did he!) he is an inspiration.

    Timothy S. Brannan
    The Other Side, April Blog Challenge: The A to Z of Witches

  11. Doreen McGettigan Doreen McGettigan April 17, 2014

    Thank you Corinne for sharing Nelson Mandela’s amazing words. I had forgotten how much I love them.
    He truly was a great man.

  12. Chai a Cup of Life Chai a Cup of Life April 17, 2014

    Inspiring person who will never be forgotton. Great choice for ‘N’!

  13. Pheno Menon Pheno Menon April 17, 2014

    He is one of those immortals the world could never get enough of. Wasn;t born to see Gandhi but good enough to be around when he was ๐Ÿ™‚


  14. Sreeja Praveen Sreeja Praveen April 17, 2014

    What an inspiration, this man continues to be, Corinne ! His departure from the world signified not just a man’s death ; it marked the mortal end to an Era , an Era immortalised by his life !!

  15. Shailaja V Shailaja V April 17, 2014

    A great man and great quotes. My favourite is the one where he says you can be taught to love.

    That’s a good collection to go into my archives.

  16. Fab Fab April 17, 2014

    Great compilation, Corinne. I love the one where he says, ‘….if I didn’t leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I’d still be in prison’. So many times, we’re trapped in prisons of our own making; we don’t understand the joy and exhilaration there is in the realization that we have the power to set ourselves free.

  17. Obsessivemom Obsessivemom April 17, 2014

    What a wonderful choice for N. He is truly inspiring. What’s amazing is how he carried no bitterness, no hate.

  18. Damyanti Damyanti April 17, 2014

    A hero, a stalwart of our times. Excellent choice for N.

  19. Mary Stephenson Mary Stephenson April 17, 2014

    Nelson, a very powerful, brave outspoken man. Most of could never measure up to his life of bravery and courage.

  20. Loni Townsend Loni Townsend April 17, 2014

    Excellent collection of quotes! He really was an inspirational man.

  21. Birgit Birgit April 17, 2014

    Oh he was a great man and he will live on in history and should be taught to all children as he promoted peace, acceptance, tolerance, strength and forgiveness. I hold him in the utmost respect

  22. Martha Orlando Martha Orlando April 17, 2014

    Inspiring words, indeed! He was an amazing man.
    Blessings, Corinne!

  23. Eli Eli April 16, 2014

    Aaaww, so happy to see your N for Nelson:-) One of the most inspirational persons I know also! A really good read to be reminded of these lovely words from him.. Thanks a lot dear Corinne:-)

  24. Aditi Aditi April 16, 2014

    An inspiration to mankind, a great soul, he continues to live within us. Thanks for sharing such wonderful quotes. I have yet to read his book though ๐Ÿ™

  25. Darla Sue Dollman Darla Sue Dollman April 16, 2014

    I love the first one. Actually, I love all of them. I believe inspirational quotes are important. Even if we read them once, quickly, then go about our day they remain in our subconscious, guiding us. I believe that is one of the many ways we connect as human beings, around the world, through time–by sharing inspirational thoughts. It is a connection with our deepest, inner selves.

  26. WriterlySam WriterlySam April 16, 2014

    An inspiring and touching tribute to an amazing human being! We all stand to learn a great deal from Mandela’s example, in our daily lives and even in our writing.

  27. Proactive Indian Proactive Indian April 16, 2014

    The greatest thing about Nelson Mandela, as also Gandhi, Martin Luther King and other socio-political leaders, is their conscious and successful effort to eschew bitterness and hatred.

    I think the most relevant of Nelson Mandela’s sayings (among those you have quoted) is:
    โ€œFor to be free is not merely to cast off oneโ€™s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.โ€
    Many of us fight against those forms of discrimination where we are victims, but do we also fight against all those forms of discrimination where we have the upper hand?

    • simple girl simple girl April 17, 2014

      Very pertinent question Pro.. Will think about it .. ๐Ÿ™‚
      and Corinne great choice for the letter N .. Loved the post..

  28. Joan Harrington Joan Harrington April 16, 2014

    Really enjoyed reading your post Corinne ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks for sharing!!

  29. Heather Cameron Heather Cameron April 16, 2014

    I love the inspiration that can be found through Nelson Mandela’s life. He wasn’t perfect but he was inspiring! Thank you for sharing more of what he had to share with the world.

  30. nibha nibha April 16, 2014

    A truly inspiring post! *Bookmarked*

  31. vishalbheeroo vishalbheeroo April 16, 2014

    Nelson Mandela is a true hero in all ways and deserves all the applaud. Rare to find such people who walked the earth.

    • Corinne Rodrigues Corinne Rodrigues Post author | April 16, 2014

      He was, Vishal. And I’m glad he was around when I was growing up and later……..

  32. Kathy Kathy April 16, 2014

    Wonderful choice for N. He was one amazing, inspirational man. โ™ฅ

  33. Found In Folsom Found In Folsom April 16, 2014

    Wonderful topic to pick up….I had to read this to keep myself grounded and get inspired. I read about him to my son…have to continue reading more about him. We just did it on the day he passed…You really inspire in many ways, Corinne! I want to read his autobiography…

    • Corinne Rodrigues Corinne Rodrigues Post author | April 16, 2014

      He was a hero, Prudhvi. I’m sorry to say I haven’t read his book either – but as I did this post I decided to buy a copy. We all need our heroes – and I’m glad you did such a special thing with your son. You inspire me too! โ™ฅ

  34. Catherine James Catherine James April 16, 2014

    Thank you for rounding up the quotations and taking the time to share.

  35. Beloo Mehra Beloo Mehra April 16, 2014

    A true hero indeed. I love that line from him…if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love. So true! As Vidya said, this was a fabulous choice for the letter N. An inspiring post indeed. I have been meaning to watch that film Invictus for quite some time now, maybe reading this post on Mandela was the final inspiration I needed. I did watch the film based on his biography, a must watch movie for Mandela fans ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Corinne Rodrigues Corinne Rodrigues Post author | April 16, 2014

      Beloo – I meant to include this one and somehow didn’t, but it’s meant just for you:
      Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.

      He was a hero, truly! I haven’t watched the movie either, but I do remember watching one about his prison guard – will find out the name and let you know.

      • Beloo Mehra Beloo Mehra April 17, 2014

        Thanks Corinne for this special quote ๐Ÿ™‚

  36. Vidya Sury Vidya Sury April 16, 2014

    Truly a fabulous choice for N, Corinne! What a great soul and a real hero!

    Love the quotes! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Corinne Rodrigues Corinne Rodrigues Post author | April 16, 2014

      Thanks, Vidya. I feel so good that he walked this earth while we did.

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