Editor’s Note: In honor of Nelson Mandela International Day, we’re re-sharing this blog post from 2013.
Every July 18, the United Nations and the world celebrate Nelson Mandela International Day – a day to recognize Mandela’s contributions to freedom, equality, and human rights and to follow his example of service to build a better world.
To get inspired, here is a list of 12 amazing quotes from Madiba. While there are so many words of wisdom to choose from, these are some favorites.
“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.” (Tweet this)
“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.” (Tweet this)
“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.” (Tweet this)
“It always seems impossible until it’s done.” (Tweet this)
“The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.” (Tweet this)
“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” (Tweet this)
“Let there be justice for all. Let there be peace for all. Let there be work, bread, water and salt for all. Let each know that for each the body, the mind and the soul have been freed to fulfill themselves.” (Tweet this)
“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. Let your greatness blossom.” (Tweet this)
“A nation should not be judged by how it treats its highest citizens, but its lowest ones.” (Tweet this)
“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 and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.” (Tweet this)
“You will achieve more in this world through acts of mercy than you will through acts of retribution.” (Tweet this)
“Thus shall we live, because we will have created a society which recognizes that all people are born equal, with each entitled in equal measure to life, liberty, prosperity, human rights and good governance.” (Tweet this)
Join the UN and the Nelson Mandela Foundation in honoring the legacy of Nelson Mandela by devoting 67 minutes of your time to helping others.
(UN Photo/Evan Schneider)