A Nelson Mandela quote for every year he spent in prison in the name of freedom.

Natasha Parker | July 18, 2018

Nelson Mandela would have turned 105 today. Although he is no longer around to teach the world a little more empathy and a little more open-mindedness. We believe it is important not to forget the lessons Nelson Mandela shared during his time here or the sacrifices he made in order to make the world – and specifically Africa – a better place.

His words of wisdom drive our own efforts to alleviate poverty and inequality in Zambia, and we hope that they inspire you, too.

“Sometimes, it falls upon a generation to be great. You can be that great generation. Let your greatness blossom.”

“There can be no greater gift than that of giving one’s time and energy to helping others without expecting anything in return.”

“Poverty is not an accident. Like slavery and apartheid, it is man-made and can be removed by the actions of human beings.”

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

“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.”

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

“May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears.”

“There is no easy walk to freedom anywhere.”

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

“My respect for human beings is based not on the color of a man’s skin nor authority he may wield, but purely on merit.”

“And if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love.”

“The greatest glory in living is not in falling, but in rising every time we fall.”

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.” (Nelson quoting Mariane Williamson)

“Action without vision is only passing time, vision without action is merely day dreaming, but vision with action can change the world.”

“A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination.”

“When a man is denied the right to live the life he believes in, he has no choice but to become an outlaw.”

“Overcoming poverty is not a gesture of charity, it is an act of justice.”

“After climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb.”

“No single person can liberate a country. You can only liberate a country if you act as a collective.” 

“I never lose. I either win or learn.”

“What counts is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead.”

“It is what we make out of what we have been given, not what we are given, that separates one person from another.”

“You can never have an impact on a society if you have not changed yourself.” 

“Courageous people do not fear forgiving, for the sake of peace.”

“In my country, we go to prison first and then become President.”

“I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all person live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.”

“As I walked out the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if I didn’t leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I’d still be in prison.”

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