Today we celebrate the late, great Nelson Mandela’s birthday. The anti-apartheid activist, politician and philanthropist served as the first native President of South Africa— after serving 27 years in prison for conspiring to overthrow the state. While he passed away in 2013, his words and acts are his legacy; and they’re even more relevant in today’s climate of political dissonance, corruption and racial prejudice.
We remember Nelson Mandela’s wisest words on what would have been his 99th birthday.
Nelson Mandela’s Famous Friends Through the Years
“A fundamental concern for others in our individual and community lives would go a long way in making the world the better place we so passionately dreamt of.”
Nelson Mandela and Fidel Castro
“Real leaders must be ready to sacrifice all for the freedom of their people.”
Nelson Mandela Inaugural Speech 1994
“There is nothing I fear more than waking up without a program that will help me bring a little happiness to those with no resources, those who are poor, illiterate, and ridden with terminal disease.”
Nelson Mandela ANC Speech
“Everyone can rise above their circumstances and achieve success if they are dedicated to and passionate about what they do.”
“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”
Mirrorpix/Courtesy Everett Collection
Nelson Mandela, R.I.P.
“Do not judge me by my successes, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again.”
“If you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy. Then he becomes your partner.”
“As long as poverty, injustice and gross inequality persist in our world, none of us can truly rest.”
Nelson Mandela’s prison letters to be published by Liveright
“A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination.”
Thomas Imo/Getty Images
World Mourns Nelson Mandela
“I hate race discrimination most intensely and in all its manifestations. I have fought it all during my life; I fight it now, and will do so until the end of my days.”