Mandela Speaks | Nelson Mandela


(Axis of Logic, Thursday, Dec 5, 2013)

 

Nelson Mandela died today, Thursday, December 5, 2013. Volumes would be required to attempt to capture this man’s life and legacy and then, the job wouldn’t be half done. We won’t attempt such a task here but will provide just a few words about his long journey and then let the man speak for himself for his word … his words … say far more about him than any recounting of his life work and achievements. These 4 periods are offered as milestones in Mandela’s life and work:

In the 1940s the National Party was formed in South Africa establishing apartheid, based on white supremacy. abolishing citizenship for blacks. Medha Chandorkar described that period in his remembrance of Madela:

“It was a time of terror for many South Africans, and it was a time when Nelson Mandela chose to stand for what was right and just. Using strikes and organized campaigns, Mandela led thousands of people in protesting the apartheid regime. One of his biggest triumphs was a Congress of the People that brought together various racial groups of South Africa to unanimously call for democracy.”

In 1962 Mandela was arrested for attempting to start a guerrilla war and he spent the next 27 years in prison. Chandorkar wrote that he was denied all outside contact and worked at hard labor, “breaking rocks into gravel.” During his years in prison he formed a program in which prisoners gave lectures from their own lives and knowledge and Mandela led political debates among them. Over the years he was given more privileges and began having contact with the international media.

In 1990 Frederik Willem de Klerk came into power and released Mandela from prison unconditionally. Mandela ran for president in South Africa’s first general election and won. As president from 1994 to 1999 he moved South Africa away from Apartheid, creating the Truth and Reconciliation Committee (TRC) to begin the healing of a country where hatred, violence and racism reigned for so long a time. The TRC investigated war crimes and gave amnesty to those who willingly and truthfully testified and made public a detailed report.

During his brief time in office, 3 million black South Afrricans gained access to telephone lines; 1.5 million black children entered school for the first time; 500 medical clinics were built to provide health care to blacks; 2 million received electricity; 3 million people gained access to potable water and 3 million received adequate housing.

In 1999, Mandela officially retired from politics and in 2004 he announced his retirement from public life altogether. He spent the last 5 years of his life in relative solitude.

Nelson Mandela’s greatest achievement is found in his example as a human being, awakening billions to the evils of racism, hatred and violence the world over, teaching us that the worst of enemies can be reconciled through truth, justice and compassion.

– Les Blough, Editor
Axis of Logic



Beginning with his words on death and dying, Mandela speaks:

“[Democracy] 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.” (to judges of the Apartheid Regime)

“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.”

“So many relatives and friends have died over these last twenty years, that it seems the world itself is dying.”

“Men and women of rare qualities are few and hard to come by. And when they depart, the sense of loss is made the more profound and the more difficult to manage,” (In his eulogy at the burial of communist leader Joe Slovo in 1995.)

He asked to be buried at home in the family cemetary in the village of Quru described as, “A row of trees surround the graveyard off the N2 highway in the rolling Eastern Cape province hills, around 500 metres (yards) from his house. Simple headstones bearing the family name stand out from the yellowed grass.”

“My family’s here and I’d like to be buried here at home.

“I would like it to be said that, ‘Here lies a man who has done his duty on earth.’ That is all.”


And throughout his life time he had much more to say to us in these selections:

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

“When a man is denied the right to live the life he believes in, he has no choice but to become an outlaw.”

“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.”

“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. That way lays defeat and death.”

“A good head and good heart are always a formidable combination. But when you add to that a literate tongue or pen, then you have something very special.”

“It always seems impossible until it’s done.”

“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.”

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

“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.”

“Lead from the back — and let others believe they are in front.”

“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 here to rest, to steal a view of the glorious vista that surrounds me, to look back on the distance I have come. But I can only rest for a moment, for with freedom come responsibilities, and I dare not linger, for my long walk is not ended.”

“I am not a saint, unless you think of a saint as a sinner who keeps on trying.”

“The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.”

“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.”

“Do not judge me by my successes, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again.”

“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.”

“As I walked out the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if I didn’t leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I’d still be in prison.”

“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.”

“Where you stand depends on where you sit.”

“One of the things I learned when I was negotiating was that until I changed myself, I could not change others.”

“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.”

“ As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.”

“It is said that no one truly knows a nation until one has been inside its jails. A nation should not be judged by how it treats its highest citizens, but its lowest ones.”

“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.”

“Courage is not the absence of fear — it s inspiring others to move beyond it.”

“Appearances matter — and remember to smile.”

“We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, handsome, talented and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be?”

“A winner is a dreamer who never gives up”

“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.”

“In my country we go to prison first and then become President. ”

“Nothing is black or white.”

“You will achieve more in this world through acts of mercy than you will through acts of retribution.”

“One cannot be prepared for something while secretly believing it will not happen.”

“There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children.”

“Freedom is indivisible; the chains on any one of my people were the chains on all of them, the chains on all of my people were the chains on me.”

“I had no epiphany, no singular revelation, no moment of truth, but a steady accumulation of a thousand slights, a thousand indignities and a thousand unremembered moments produced in me an anger, a rebelliousness, a desire to fight the system that imprisoned my people. There was no particular day on which I said, Henceforth I will devote myself to the liberation of my people; instead, I simply found myself doing so, and could not do otherwise.”

“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”

“Know your enemy — and learn about his favorite sport.”

“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.”

“A Nation should not be judged by how it treats its highest citizens, but it’s lowest ones”

“Quitting is leading too.”

“It is not where you start but how high you aim that matters for success.”

“When the water starts boiling it is foolish to turn off the heat.”

“Keep your friends close — and your rivals even closer.”

“We must use time creatively, and forever realize that the time is always ripe to do right.”

“The brave man is not the one who has no fears, he is the one who triumphs over his fears.”

“Your playing small does not serve the world. Who are you not to be great?”

“I dream of an Africa which is in peace with itself.”

“It is what we make out of what we have, not what we are given, that separates one person from another.”

“I am the master of my fate and the captain of my destiny.”

“Tread softly, breathe peacefully, laugh hysterically.”

“And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

“I am not an optimist, but a great believer of hope.”

“Without language, one cannot talk to people and understand them; one cannot share their hopes and aspirations, grasp their history, appreciate their poetry, or savor their songs.”

“We know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians.”

“I have never cared very much for personal prizes. A person does not become a freedom fighter in the hope of winning awards.”

“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.”

“Lead from the front — but don t leave your base behind.”

“A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination.”

“We owe our children – the most vulnerable citizens in any society – a life free from violence and fear.”

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

“There is a universal respect and even admiration for those who are humble and simple by nature, and who have absolute confidence in all human beings irrespective of their social status.”

“Live life as though nobody is watching, and express yourself as though everyone is listening.”

“Peace is the greatest weapon for development that any person can have.”

“I love playing and chatting with children…feeding and putting them to bed with a little story, and being away from the family has troubled me throughout my…life. I like relaxing at the house, reading quietly, taking in the sweet smell that comes from the pots, sitting around a table with the family and taking out my wife and children. when you can no longer enjoy these simple pleasures something valuable is taken away from your life and you feel it in your daily work.”

“Only free men can negotiate, prisoners can’t enter in contracts”

“No single person can liberate a country. You can only liberate a country if you act as a collective.”

“Once a person is determined to help themselves, there is nothing that can stop them.”

“Your playing small does not serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.”

“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… Man’s goodness is a flame that can be hidden but never explained.”

“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.”

“The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”

“I could not imagine that the future I was walking toward could compare in any way to the past that I was leaving behind.”

“There are few misfortunes in this world that you cannot turn into a personal triumph if you have the iron will and the necessary skill.”

“Success in politics demands that you must take your people into confidence about your views and state them very clearly, very politely, very calmly, but nevertheless, state them openly.”

“Money wont create success, the freedom to make it will”

“He knew when to compromise. Yet he never compromised his principles. He was a militant. Yet a militant who knew how to plan, assess concrete situations and emerge with rational solutions to problems.”

“For a revolution is not just a question of pulling a trigger; its purpose is to create a fair just society”

“We must use time wisely and forever realize that the time is always ripe to do right.”

“Your victory has demonstrated that no person anywhere in the world should not dare to dream of wanting to change the world for a better place.”

“We forgive but have not forgotten”

“It is most unusual to return to a place that has changed in ways you yourself have altered.”

I shall stick to our vow: never, never under any circumstances, to say anything unbecoming of the other…The trouble, of course, is that most successful men are prone to some form of vanity. There comes a stage in their lives when they consider it permissible to be egotistic and to brag to the public at large about their unique achievements.”

“Sometimes it falls upon a generation to be great…”

“A freedom fighter learns the hard way that it is the oppressor who defines the nature of the struggle and the oppressed is often left no recourse but to use methods that mirror those of the oppressor. At a point, one can only fight fire with fire”

“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.”

“It is music and dancing that make me at peace with the world.”

“Although Verwoerd thought Africans were lower than animals, his death did not yield us any pleasure. Political assassination is not something I or the ANC ever supported. It is a primitive way of contending with an opponent”

“There is no such thing as partial freedom”

“I always knew that deep down in every human heart, there is mercy and generosity. No one is born hating another person because of the color of his kin, 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 the opposite.”

“Overcoming fear, personal sacrifices for the cause of freedom of all, and ability to see good in your enemies – No one is born hating another person because of the color of your skin, or his background, or his religion … if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love.”

“In some ways, it is easier to be a dissident, for then one is without responsibility.”

From multiple sources

© Copyright 2013 by AxisofLogic.com

Advertisements
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s