Nelson Mandela was the first democratically elected President and also the first black head of state in South Africa. He was born on this day, July 18 in the year 1918. Educated at the University of Fort Hare and the University of Witwatersrand, he became a lawyer and committed himself to the overthrow of the white-only government and to the end of racial segregation called “Apartheid”. For all his political activities, he was imprisoned for 27 years. After his released from prison, he declared his commitment to peace and reconciliation.
After his first term as president, Mandela declined another term. Instead he focused his attention on charitable activities. He was able to receive more than 200 awards including the 1993 Nobel Peace Prize, the US Presidential Medal of Freedom, and the Soviet Order of Lenin. He died in 2013 at the age of 95.
Here are some of his famous words to motivate us.
One of the most difficult things is not to change society — but to change yourself.
Live life as though nobody is watching, and express yourself as though everyone is listening.
Do not judge me by my successes, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again.
Man’s goodness is a flame that can be hidden but never extinguished.
The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.
I am fundamentally an optimist. Whether that comes from nature or nurture, I cannot say. Part of being optimistic is keeping one’s head pointed toward the sun, one’s feet moving forward. There were many dark moments when my faith in humanity was sorely tested, but I would not and could not give myself up to despair.
Real leaders must be ready to sacrifice all for the freedom of their people.
Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.
We must use time wisely and forever realize that the time is always ripe to do right.
Everyone can rise above their circumstances and achieve success if they are dedicated to and passionate about what they do.
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