Today is Mandela Day—a time for the whole world to remember and honor one of the greatest, most inspirational and awe inspiring men ever to walk this Earth.
It also marks what would have been Nelson Mandela’s 96th birthday.
As Popdust previously reported, Madiba—the tribal birth name by which he is affectionately known in his homeland of South Africa—passed away on December 5, 2013, age 95.
Mandela Day was created by the United Nations in 2009 to honor the statesman's great legacy of peace, tolerance, forgiveness and unity—with the aim of encouraging people to volunteer and perform community service.
"Our message has to be this, Mr Mandela is gone, but his legacy lives on; Mr Mandela is gone, but the work he started will continue,” a spokesperson for the Nelson Mandela Foundation says.
To mark the day Popdust has compiled a selection of Mandela’s greatest quotes—all of which remain as pertinent as ever, given the never ending tensions, frictions, conflict and violence around the world.
On freedom and slavery
When I walked out of prison, that was my mission, to liberate the oppressed and the oppressor both. Some say that has now been achieved. But I know that that is not the case.
The truth is that we are not yet free; we have merely achieved the freedom to be free, the right not to be oppressed. We have not taken the final step of our journey, but the first step on a longer and even more difficult road.
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. The true test of our devotion to freedom is just beginning.
On facing adversity
If our expectations, if our fondest prayers and dreams, are not realized then we should all bear in mind that the greatest glory of living lies not in never falling but in rising every time you fall.
No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin or his background or his religion.
People must learn to hate and if they can learn to hate they can be taught to love for love comes more naturally to the human heart than the opposite
On being a prisoner of conscience
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... If I had my time over I would do the same again. So would any man who dares call himself a man.
On making a difference in life
What counts in life 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.
On facing adversity
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.
On facing the death penalty for his beliefs
During my lifetime I have dedicated myself to this struggle of the African people. I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination.
I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony with equal opportunities.
It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to see realized. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.
On the true meaning of freedom
What freedom am I being offered while the organization of the people remains banned? What freedom am I being offered when I may be arrested on a pass offense? What freedom am I being offered to live my life as a family with my dear wife who remains in banishment in Brandfort?
What freedom am I being offered when I must ask for permission to live in an urban area? What freedom am I being offered when I need a stamp in my pass to seek work? What freedom am I being offered when my very South African citizenship is not respected?
Only free men can negotiate. Prisoners cannot enter into contracts. Herman Toivo ja Toivo, when freed, never gave any undertaking, nor was he called upon to do so. I cannot and will not give any undertaking at a time when I and you, the people, are not free.Your freedom and mine cannot be separated. I will return.
On the importance of education
Education is the most powerful weapon which we can use to change the world.
On ending apartheid in South Africa
Never, never and never again shall it be that this beautiful land will again experience the oppression of one by another and suffer the indignity of being the skunk of the world.
Let freedom reign! The sun shall never set on so glorious a human achievement! God bless Africa!