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When a man has done what he considers to be his duty to his people and his country, he can rest in peace – those words are appropriate ones to best describe the life of Nelson Mandela (1918-2013), South Africa’s first black president, Nobel Prize winner and anti-apartheid activist. They are also befitting words to introduce my selected list of Nelson Mandela quotes.

Inspirational Nelson Mandela quotes

nelson-mandela-quotes-madiba-quotes“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.”

“Do not judge me by my successes, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again.”

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

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

“When the water starts boiling it is foolish to turn off the heat.”

“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.”

“Everyone can rise above their circumstances and achieve success if they are dedicated to and passionate about what they do.”

“Let there be work, bread, water and salt for all.”

nelson-mandela-quotes“Lead from the back – and let others believe they are in front.”

“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.”

“I am the captain of my soul.”

“There is no passion to be found playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.”

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

“I am not a saint, unless you think of a saint as a sinner who keeps on trying.”

Please post your favourite inspirational Nelson Mandela quotes into the comment box below.

Photo by Howdy, I’m H. Michael Karshis

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