Top Mandela Quotes – Selections From JCO


  • 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.

  • A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination.

  • A good leader can engage in a debate frankly and thoroughly, knowing that at the end he and the other side must be closer, and thus emerge stronger. You don’t have that idea when you are arrogant, superficial, and uninformed.

  • There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children.

  • It is better to lead from behind and to put others in front, especially when you celebrate victory when nice things occur. You take the front line when there is danger. Then people will appreciate your leadership.

  • If there is a country that has committed unspeakable atrocities in the world, it is the United States of America.

  • It is wise to persuade people to do things and make them think it was their own idea.

  • Sometimes, I feel like one who is on the sidelines, who has missed life itself.

  • Unlike some politicians, I can admit to a mistake.

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

  • Any man or institution that tries to rob me of my dignity will lose.

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

  • Nonviolence is a good policy when the conditions permit.

  • 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.

  • Where globalization means, as it so often does, that the rich and powerful now have new means to further enrich and empower themselves at the cost of the poorer and weaker, we have a responsibility to protest in the name of universal freedom.

  • You know, you can only lead them from behind.

  • We must understand the seriousness of this situation. The United States has made serious mistakes in the conduct of its foreign affairs, which have had unfortunate repercussions long after the decisions were taken.

  • I am prepared to die.

  • When a man is denied the right to live the life he believes in, he has no choice but to become an outlaw.
  • We chose to defy the law. We first broke the law in a way which avoided any recourse to violence; when this form was legislated against, and then the Government resorted to a show of force to crush opposition to its policies, only then did we decide to answer violence with violence.

Nelson Mandela reflection of time

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