Mandela: a speech for the future

Portrait of Nelson MandelaNewspapers allow us to hold a mirror up to ourselves, and we must be brave enough to look squarely at the reflections.” One of the statements of Nelson Mandela, for which he is famous. When you combine his quotes, you get the story of his believes, his convictions. You get a speech for the future.

“I stand here before you not as a prophet, but as a humble servant of you, the people. We can change the world and make it a better place. It is in your hands to make a difference. Let us remind ourselves that it is ordinary people –men and women, boys and girls- that make the world a special place.

A winner is a dreamer who never gives up. We are the masters of our own fate. There is no passion to be found in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living. The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.

No longer shall we seek to place blame for our condition elsewhere or to look to others to take responsibility for our development. Hating clouds the mind. It gets in the way of strategy. Leaders cannot afford to hate. Having a grievance or resentment is like drinking poison and thinking it will kill your enemy.

Nelson Mandela brought peace in South AfricaThe brave man is not he who does not feel afraid but he who conquers that fear. Once you have rid yourself of the fear of the oppressor and his prisons, his police, his army, there is nothing that they can do. You are liberated. Forgiveness liberates the soul. That is why it is such a powerful weapon. Those who are ready to join hands can overcome the greatest challenges.

No matter where you are in life, there is always more journey ahead. We pass through this world but once and opportunities you miss will never be available to you again. No one is born to hating another because of the colour of his skin, or his background or his religion. People must learn to hate and if the can learn to hate, they can be taught to love. Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.

A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination. Our love for children is undiminished. Their innocence and energy, their happiness and welfare must be protected and treasured. In Africa we have a concept known as Ubuntu, based upon the recognition that we are only people because of other people. Let us stand together to make of our world a sustainable source for our future as humanity on this planet. It always seems impossible until it is done.

I cherish my own freedom dearly, but I care even more for your freedom. 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. I have always admired men and women who used their talents to serve the community. As we let our own light shine we unconsciously give other people the permission to do the same.What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead.

Zuid-Afrika, Mandela byebye2African music is something that goes straight to your heart and it tells the story of your own life. I was not a messiah, but an ordinary man who had become a leader because of extraordinary circumstances. Death is something inevitable. When a man has done what he considers to be his duty to his people and his country, he can rest in peace. I would like it to be said that ‘here lies a man who has done his duty on earth’. That is all. Remember to smile.”

~Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela

To compose this ‘speech’ the time line of the statements Nelson Mandela shared has been altered. On a stand alone basis they are already very powerful. Together, they enhance each other and form a broader compelling story. Let Mandela’s messages to his people, his country and the world never be lost or forgotten. It’s a legacy in words. His own words.


More on the legacy of Nelson Mandela on the site of the Centre of Memory ,the Nelson Mandela Foundation or the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund


Disclaimer: The photographs in this story have been obtained from Twitter, where no claim to copyrights was made. For that reason we have no knowledge of any possible right issues. We would like to state that any violation of copyrights is unintentionally and -when noted- leads to on the spot removal of the photograph concerned.

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