Nelson Mandela – death of a statesman


Nelson Mandela, the global statesman who delivered South Africa from the dark days of apartheid, is dead,

Here’s a selection of his most inspiring quotes:

“If I had my time over I would do the same again, so would any man who dares call himself a man.” (After being convicted to five years hard labor, November 1962)

“I was made, by the law, a criminal, not because of what I had done, but because of what I stood for, because of what I thought, because of my conscience.” (Statement during trial, 1962)

“I can only say that I felt morally obliged to do what I did.” (At the opening of his trial, April 20, 1964)

“Social equality is the only basis of human happiness.” (A letter written on August 1, 1970)

“Difficulties break some men but make others.” (From a letter to wife, Winnie Mandela, from Robben Island, February 1975)

“I came to accept that I have no right whatsoever to judge others in terms of my own customs.” (From his unpublished autobiographical manuscript, 1975)

“Great anger and violence can never build a nation. We are striving to proceed in a manner and towards a result, which will ensure that all our people, both black and white, emerge as victors.” (Speech to European Parliament, 1990)

“Without democracy there cannot be peace.” (South Africa, May 9, 1992)

“We are fighting for a society where people will cease thinking in terms of colour.” (March 8, 1993)

“When a man has done what he considers to be his duty to his people and his country, he can rest in peace.” (Interview for Mandela, 1994)

“Reconciliation means working together to correct the legacy of past injustice.” (December 16, 1995)

“I can rest only for a moment, for with freedom come responsibilities, and I dare not linger, for my long walk is not yet ended.” (From Long Walk to Freedom, 1995)

“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, 1995)

“If you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy. Then he becomes your partner.” (From Long Walk to Freedom, 1995)

“Man’s goodness is a flame that can be hidden but never extinguished.” (From Long Walk to Freedom, 1995)

“Real leaders must be ready to sacrifice all for the freedom of their people.” (Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa, April 25, 1998)

“It is never my custom to use words lightly. If twenty-seven years in prison have done anything to us, it was to use the silence of solitude to make us understand how precious words are and how real speech is in its impact on the way people live and die.” (South Africa, July 14, 2000)

“When people are determined they can overcome anything.” (Johannesburg, South Africa, Nov. 14, 2006)


10 thoughts on “Nelson Mandela – death of a statesman

  1. “Great anger and violence can never build a nation. We are striving to proceed in a manner and towards a result, which will ensure that all our people, both black and white, emerge as victors.” (Speech to European Parliament, 1990)
    “We are fighting for a society where people will cease thinking in terms of colour.” (March 8, 1993)
    The second quote contradicts the first. Fight has neither achieved anything in this world. Acceptance and intent does.
    But Mandela was a great statesman nevertheless. He lived what he believed. By example we shall lead.
    Be at peace great man.


    • Who said fighting (second quote) must involve physical violence (first quote). The Bible introduces the phrase ‘armour of God’ which is a non-physical ‘armour’.
      And haven’t you heard the phrase ‘pen mightier than the sword’?
      And if you believe that “fight has never achieved anything in the world. Acceptance and intent does”, then I have a bridge to sell you. Nelson Mandela would not have achieved what he did without a fight.


  2. “Great anger and violence can never build a nation. We are striving to proceed in a manner and towards a result, which will ensure that all our people, both black and white, emerge as victors.” (Speech to European Parliament, 1990)

    If I remember my history correctly, Nelson Mandela was a leader within the “Umkhonto we Sizwe” (Spear of the Nation) which was the military arm of the ANC. This organisation was classified as a terrorist organisation by both the South Africans and Americans for such lovely actions as landmine terrorism, bombings, torture and executions, etc.

    It is easy for Nelson Mandela to speak like an angel after acting like a devil to achieve his aims.


    • As South Africa’s first black president, Mandela paved the way to racial reconciliation with well-chosen gestures of forgiveness.
      Mandela grew up in a South Africa, where a white minority lived in prosperity, under the rule of law, in a fake democracy that excluded members of every other race.
      At his trial in 1962, he said “I do not 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 years of tyranny, exploitation and oppression of my people by whites.”
      With his fellow Nobel Prize winner, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, he set up the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which allowed human rights offenders of all races to admit their crimes publicly in return for lenient treatment. It proved to be a kind of national therapy that would become a model for other countries emerging from prolonged strife.
      He was obviously not perfect. None of us are.
      But Mandela was a truly great man of our time


      • Yes…and no.
        I’d take exception to your definitive :- “a fake democracy that excluded members of every other race”.
        There are many different applications of democracy, each of then decided and defined by the rulers of the land.
        According to your definition the israelis are operating “fake democracy”.

        And the greeks, who apparently invented the concept, banned virtually everybody from their ‘democracy’ except for those who’d shown some talent as ‘leaders’ ~ the ‘landed gentry’ of the time. (excepting females of course.)

        Wanna describe a non-fake democracy?


      • I am surprised that as a Christian you subscribe to such nonsense Bryan. Jesus Christ lived under a bigger tyranny than Mandela ever lived under. Yet He advocated a way of live that was based on changing people’s hearts and minds so that they would eventually reject tyrannical practices (such as slavery) on consciencious grounds rather than political grounds. Furthermore Jesus Christ rebuked Peter for defending Him with the sword, when He said “put your sword away for those who live by the sword will die by the sword”. This is in total contradiction to Mandela who used violence for his political objectives. I might add that both Jesus and John the Baptist as well as the apostles faced the ultimate tyrrany (death penalty) and still didn’t resort to political or violent methods of achieving their aims and objectives such as slavery, racism, etc). Jesus, John the baptist and the apostles could have based their ministry wholly upon fighting the tyrrany inherent in the political system of their time. But all realised that the solution does not lay in political means but a change of heart.


      • Please don’t start that “as a Christian” self-righteous BS again davinci. I am NOT comparing Mandela with Jesus and it just shows your lack of attention to what I said to infer so. I don’t condone the ANC’s early turn to violence – nor do I condone the early church’s bloody crusades and other violent exercises – but I do recognise that the man’s most influential years as a peacemaker.
        If you were going to totally disregard those who had an early life of violence and later preached peace you might also have a go at Moses, King David. the apostle Paul and yes, even Peter.


      • Well said Bryan Some self righteous people are so miserable that they always have to pull others down. It is the tall poppy syndrome by those with inferiority complexes


  3. “If I could do something about suffering I would. That’s the difference between me and God.
    I say this as a proud ex-Muslim and atheist”

    It’s little wonder people feel this way in 2013.

    The west seems to be divided into two camps : Help the poor and suffering, divide the wealth evenly and humanely, as the Pope suggests, and those who care nothing about anything remotely human, and just plunder and steal, quite content to let the world destroy itself. What good is living in a world without money and greed?

    Napolean Bonaparte said of history : “History is lies agreed upon…”

    And that’s the code of the west.

    Rupert Murdoch, Andrew Bolt, Rush Limbaugh, Alan Jones, Piers Akerman, Tony Abbott … all agree.

    Cecil Rhodes was the greatest plunderer, murderer, thief, liar in Africa and they give him a medal. And all of the above think he’s a hero.

    The difference between myself and others, and say … those of David Cameron’s ilk , PM of England, is that David Cameron campaigned to have Mandela executed and now he thinks Mandela is a wonderful inspiration to us all.

    Whereas we knew all along Mandela was a great inspiration to us all…

    Because most of us have an ability to recognize injustice and inhumanity when we see it.


    Because unfortunately we have experienced it, and experience is the highest authority.

    And that’s why the David Cameron’s and Tony Abbotts of the world never get it.

    They simply cannot relate.

    Pathetic people really, and to be pitied.

    Nelson Mandela was in another class altogether.


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