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

2. “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”

3. “Like slavery and apartheid, poverty is not natural. It is people who have made poverty and tolerated poverty, and it is people who will overcome it. And overcoming poverty is not a gesture of charity. It is an act of justice. It is the protection of a fundamental human right, the right to dignity and a decent life.”

4. “I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”

5. “Difficulties break some men, but make others. No axe is sharp enough to cut the soul of a sinner who keeps on trying, one armed with the hope that he will rise even in the end.”

6. “For to be free is not to merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.”

7. “A fundamental concern for others in our individual and community lives would go a long way in making the world the better place we so passionately dreamt of.”

8. “Real leaders must be ready to sacrifice all for the freedom of their people.”

9. “I was called a terrorist yesterday, but when I came out of jail, many people embraced me, including my enemies, and that is what I normally tell other people who say those who are struggling for liberation in their country are terrorists. I tell them that I was also a terrorist yesterday, but, today, I am admired by the very people who said I was one.”

10. “To deny people their human rights is to challenge their very humanity.

11. “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.”

12. “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.”

13. “It always seems impossible until it’s done.”

14. “It is now in the hands of your generations to help rid the world of such suffering.”

15. “Man’s goodness is a flame that can be hidden but never extinguished”

– Stephanie Lamm

Sources: Dose.Ca, USA Today, Quartz
Photo: BBC UK

Rolihlahla  Nelson Mandela was born in Qunu, South Africa on July 18, 1918. He was the youngest son of Nonqaphi Nosekeni and Nkosi Mphakanyiswa Gadla Mandela. His father was the principle advisor to the Acting King of Thembu, Jongintaba Dalindyebo. When Mandela was a child, his father died and he became a ward of Jongintaba Dalindyebo and lived in the Great Palace in Mqhekezweni. He attended primary school in Qunu and his teacher, Miss Mdingane, gave him the Christian name Nelson.

During Nelson Mandela’s early life, he was raised hearing stories of war and oppression from his elders and knew from a young age that he wanted to make a contribution to freeing his people. He attended Clarkebury Boarding Institute and then went to Healdtown for secondary school. Nelson Mandela first attended the University College of Fort Hare but was expelled for participating in a student protest. He completed his Bachelor of Arts degree at the University of South Africa.

The King had arranged a wife for him when he graduated but idea of arranged marriage made Mandela flee Qunu and head to Johannesburg.  He worked as a mine security officer and then law at the University of the Witwatersrand and later at The University of London. He was a poor student though and never finished his law degree.

His political life started in 1942 when he joined the African National Conference, (ANC) an organization that lobbied to the South African government for African rights and political change. Mandela was an influential member of ANC and he helped form the ANC Youth League.  In 1948, the South African government instituted apartheid, apartheid was a government-instituted segregation of people based on their race that oppressed non-whites.  ANC and Mandela instituted passive resistance including non-violent protests, boycotts, and non-confirmation to apartheid polices and rules.

In 1944 Mandela married a nurse, Evelyn Mase. They had two sons Madiba Thembekile ‘Thembi’ and Makgatho and daughter named Makaziwe who died at at young age. They later had another daughter who they also named Makaziwe. The couple separated in 1955 and later divorced.

In 1952, Mandela became one of the ANC’s deputy presidents. The ANC Youth League with Mandela’s help implemented The Programme of Action, a racial mass-based policy.  In 1956 Mandela went on trial for treason and five years later was acquitted.  The government began to shut down all anti-apartheid groups and ANC was declared an illegal organization and shut down in 1960.

Lisa Toole 

Sources: Nelson Mandela’s Children’s Fund, Nelson Mandela Foundation, BBC
Photo: This Bug Life