Nelson Mandela was world’s most famous prisoner. He provides a fantasic role model for anyone who wants to live up to their beliefs and values.

Here are my top 50 Nelson Mandela quotes which provide inspiration everyday:

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  1. A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination.
  2. [A] new society cannot be created by reproducing the repugnant past, however refined or enticingly repackaged.
  3. After climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb.
  4. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
  5. As a leader… I have always endeavored to listen to what each and every person in a discussion had to say before venturing my own opinion. Oftentimes, my own opinion will simply represent a con-sensus of what I heard in the discussion. I always remember the axiom: a leader is like a shepherd. He stays behind the flock, letting the most nimble go out ahead, whereupon the others follow, not realizing that all along they are being directed from behind.
  6. As I have said, the first thing is to be honest with yourself. You can never have an impact on society if you have not changed yourself… Great peacemakers are all people of integrity, of honesty, but humility.
  7. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.
  8. Communists have always played an active role in the fight by colonial countries for their freedom, because the short-term objects of Communism would always correspond with the long-term objects of freedom movements.
  9. Does anybody really think that they didn’t get what they had because they didn’t have the talent or the strength or the endurance or the commitment?
  10. Don’t, call me, I’ll call you. [on his retirement]
  11. 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.
  12. Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.
  13. Extremists on all sides thrive, fed by the blood lust of centuries gone by.
  14. 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.
  15. Freedom would be meaningless without security in the home and in the streets.
  16. I cannot conceive of Israel withdrawing if Arab states do not recognize Israel, within secure borders.
  17. I detest racialism, because I regard it as a barbaric thing, whether it comes from a black man or a white man.
  18. I did not enjoy the violence of boxing so much as the science of it.
  19. I dream of an Africa which is in peace with itself.
  20. I dream of the realization of the unity of Africa, whereby its leaders combine in their efforts to solve the problems of this continent. I dream of our vast deserts, of our forests, of all our great wildernesses.
  21. 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.
    Nelson Mandela

    Image via Wikipedia

    I have walked that long road to freedom. I have tried not to falter; I have made missteps along the way. But I have discovered the secret that after climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb. I have taken a moment

  22. 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.
  23. 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. I tell them that I was also a terrorist yesterday, but, today, I am admired by the very people who said I was one.
  24. If there are dreams about a beautiful South Africa, there are also roads that lead to their goal. Two of these roads could be named Goodness and Forgiveness.
  25. If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.
  26. If you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy. Then he becomes your partner.
  27. In my country we go to prison first and then become President.
  28. It always seems impossible until its done.
  29. 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.
  30. Let freedom reign. The sun never set on so glorious a human achievement.
  31. 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 fulfil themselves.
  32. Let there be work, bread, water and salt for all.
  33. Man’s goodness is a flame that can be hidden but never extinguished.
  34. Money won’t create success, the freedom to make it will.
  35. Never, never and never again shall it be that this beautiful land will again experience the oppression of one by another.
  36. 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 its opposite.
  37. Only free men can negotiate; prisoners cannot enter into contracts. Your freedom and mine cannot be separated.
  38. That was one of the things that worried me – to be raised to the position of a semi-god – because then you are no longer a human being. I wanted to be known as Mandela, a man with weaknesses, some of which are fundamental, and a man who is committed.
  39. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.
  40. The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.
  41. There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children.

    Image by Getty Images via Daylife

  43. There is no easy walk to freedom anywhere, and many of us will have to pass through the valley of the shadow of death again and again before we reach the mountaintop of our desires.
  44. There is no passion to be found playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.
  45. There is no such thing as part freedom.
  46. There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered.
  47. True reconciliation does not consist in merely forgetting the past.
  48. We must use time wisely and forever realize that the time is always ripe to do right.
  49. Whatever the sentence Your Worship sees fit to impose upon me for the crime for which I have been convicted before this court may it rest assured that when my sentence has been completed, I will still be moved as men are always moved, by their conscience. I will still be moved by my dislike of the race discrimination against my people. When I come out from serving my sentence, I will take up again, as best I can, the struggle for the removal of those injustices until they are finally abolished.
  50. When the water starts boiling it is foolish to turn off the heat.
  51. 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.
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