Nelson Mandela in his own words

Here is a collection of notable quotes by South Africa's former president and anti-apartheid leader Nelson Mandela, who died Thursday in Johannesburg at the age of 95.

A collection of quotes from South Africa's anti-apartheid leader

Nelson Mandela celebrates his birthday with children at the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund in Johannesburg, in July 2007. The anti-apartheid leader died Thursday. (Denis Farrell/Associated Press)

Nelson Mandela died Thursday at his home in Johannesburg, South Africa, after a prolonged illness.

Below is a collection of memorable quotes from the man considered to be one of the greatest leaders of modern times.

"On my last day I want to know that those who remain behind will say: 'The man who lies here has done his duty for his country and his people.'" – 1999

"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 determines the significance of the life we lead." – on the 90th birthday of Walter Sisulu, May 18, 2002

"The time for the healing of the wounds has come ... the moment to bridge the chasms that divide us has come. The time to build is upon us." – on his inauguration as president of South Africa, May 10, 1994

"For my own part I have made my choice. I will not leave South Africa, nor will I surrender. Only through hardship, sacrifice and militant action can freedom be won. The struggle is my life. I will continue fighting for freedom until the end of my days." – African National Congress press statement, June 26, 1961

"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." – from his 1994 autobiography Long Walk to Freedom

"Like slavery and apartheid, poverty is not natural. It is people who have made poverty and tolerated poverty, and it is people who will overcome it." – on being named Amnesty International Ambassador of Conscience, 2006

Nelson Mandela during a visit to Toronto in November 2001. (Frank Gunn/Canadian Press)

"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 will live together in harmony and with equal opportunities.

"It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to see realized. But, my lord, if needs be it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die." – speech at treason trial, April 20, 1964

"It will forever remain an indelible blight on human history that the apartheid crime ever occurred. Future generations will surely ask: What error was made that this system established itself in the wake of the adoption of a universal declaration of human rights?

"It will forever remain an accusation and a challenge to all men and women of conscience that it took as long as it has before all of us stood up to say 'enough is enough.'" – to UN Special Committee against Apartheid, June 22, 1990

"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." – on release from prison, Feb. 11, 1990


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