Nelson Mandela was incarcerated on Robben Island for 18 of his 27 years in prison. During this time, he contracted tuberculosis and, as a black political prisoner, received the lowest level of treatment from prison workers. In 1990, Mandela was released and immediately urged foreign powers not to reduce pressure on the South African government for constitutional reform.
Here are some of Mandela's most poignant quotations.
"I was not a messiah, but an ordinary man who had become a leader because of extraordinary circumstances."
"I can rest only for a moment, for with freedom come responsibilities, and I dare not linger, for my long walk is not yet ended."
"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."
"If you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy. Then he becomes your partner."
"Man's goodness is a flame that can be hidden but never extinguished."
“As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.”
"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."
"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."
"After climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb."
“Do not judge me by my successes, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again.”
"It always seems impossible until its done."
“Lead from the back — and let others believe they are in front.”
"There can be no keener revelation of a society's soul than the way in which it treats its children."
"In countries where innocent people are dying, the leaders are following their blood rather than their brains."
“When a man is denied the right to live the life he believes in, he has no choice but to become an outlaw.”
"To deny people their human rights is to challenge their very humanity."