Only mass education, he used to say, would free my people, arguing that an educated man could not be oppressed because he could think for himself.

Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela

Profession: Statesman
Nationality: South African

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I realized that they could take everything from me except my mind and my heart. They could not take those things. Those things I still had control over. And I decided not to give them away.

I was first imprisoned in Pretoria, and then, thereafter, I was taken to Robben Island. I stayed there for a couple of weeks. I was taken back to Pretoria when I was charged in the Rivonia trial, when I was then sent to Robben Island for life.

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.

Death is something inevitable. When a man has done what he considers to be his duty to his people and his country, he can rest in peace. I believe I have made that effort and that is, therefore, why I will sleep for the eternity.

A Nation should not be judged by how it treats its highest citizens, but it's lowest ones.

Great thinking comes from a great mind.

Our children are the rock on which our future will be built, our greatest asset as a nation. They will be the leaders of our country, the creators of our national wealth, those who care for and protect our people.

There are many people in South Africa who are rich and who can share those riches with those not so fortunate who have not been able to conquer poverty.

As so often happens in life, the momentousness of an occasion is lost in the welter of a thousand details.

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

He knew when to compromise. Yet he never compromised his principles. He was a militant. Yet a militant who knew how to plan, assess concrete situations and emerge with rational solutions to problems.

Sometimes it falls upon a generation to be great, you can be that generation.

From the beginning, Mandela and Tambo was besieged with clients. We were not the only African lawyers in South Africa, but we were the only firm of African lawyers. For Africans, we were the firm of first choice and last resort.

People respond in accordance to how you relate to them. If you approach them on the basis of violence, that's how they'll react. But if you say, 'We want peace, we want stability,' we can then do a lot of things that will contribute towards the progress of our society.