Nelson Mandala’s words live on

English: Nelson Mandela in Johannesburg, Gaute...

The world is saddened by the death of Nelson Mandela. I could say so much about this man, but the best tribute I can bring is to remember some of the words he spoke and then to act on them. He was only a man, and like us all his life is limited, but his words live on …


No one is born hating another person because of the colour 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 its opposite. (1994 from his autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom)

Here are some more of the words he spoke which we should remember and take to heart: ……


Action without vision is only passing time,
Vision without action is merely day dreaming,
But vision with action can change the world.

At his Trial

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 realised. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die. (1994)

Release from Prison

I greet you all in the name of peace, democracy and freedom for all. I stand here before you not as a prophet but as a humble servant of you, the people. Your tireless and heroic sacrifices have made it possible for me to be here today. I therefore place the remaining years of my life in your hands. (1990)

Poverty, Charity and Justice

Overcoming poverty is not a task of charity, it is an act of justice. Like Slavery and Apartheid, poverty is not natural. It is man-made and it can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings. Sometimes it falls on a generation to be great. You can be that great generation.

Cover of "A Long Walk to Freedom"
Cover of A Long Walk to Freedom


Reconciliation means working together to correct the legacy of past injustice. (1995)


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. (1996)


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. (1994 from his autobiography)


We are really appalled by any country, whether a superpower or a small country, that goes outside the U.N. and attacks independent countries, No country should be allowed to take the law into their own hands. (2002, referring to the US attack on Iraq)


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


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.


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


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


Where globalisation 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.


Let us give publicity to H.I.V./AIDS and not hide it, because the only way to make it appear like a normal illness like TB, like cancer, is always to come out and say somebody has died because of H.I.V./AIDS, and people will stop regarding it as something extraordinary.


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


Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu

And finally, a quote from Archbishop Desmond Tutu

He inspired us to walk the path of forgiveness and reconciliation and so South Africa did not go up in flames.

Author: George Dowdell

I was the founder of Karuna Action (formerly Kingscare) and was the director for 24 years. I have now handed control over to younger people but continue as an advisor and trustee. My passion is to see extreme poverty eliminated and to see justice for the powerless.

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