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- An International Icon of Peace and Justice

Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela was a social rights activist, philanthropist, and politician. He was South Africa’s first Black president from 1994 to 1999. Born to the Thembu royal family in Mvezo, Union of South Africa, he was ideologically a socialist and an African nationalist. He studied law at the University of Fort Hare and the University of Witwatersrand and worked as a lawyer in Johannesburg. There he got involved in anti-colonial and African nationalist politics. Mandela joined the African National Congress in 1942 and co-founded its Youth League in 1944. He and his ANC stood strong against the South African government’s racist politics, and for 20 years he directed a peaceful, nonviolent campaign. His government tackled institutionalized racism by dismantling the legacy of apartheid and fostering racial reconciliation.
Regarded as a social justice and democracy icon, Mandela gained international acclaim for his activism. His devotion to democracy, equality, and learning remained unaffected and unhindered, and he was a recipient of more than 250 honors including the Nobel Peace Prize. In the year 1993, he along with the South African President F.W. de Klerk were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for the fight against the country’s apartheid system. For the worldwide civil rights activists, he will be a source of inspiration for generations to come. Often referred to by his Thembu clan name, Madiba, he commands immense respect within South Africa and is popularly known as the “Father of the Nation”.  

His life is an inspiration for the oppressed and deprived and also for those who are opposed to oppression and deprivation. Though he aimed to lead a quiet family life after retirement but found such seclusion difficult and hence returned to the busy public life that involved regular meetings with celebrities and world leaders and working with Nelson Mandela Foundation in Johannesburg. Nelson Mandela Foundation was founded in 1999 to combat HIV/AIDS, focus on rural development, and construction of schools. After leaving office and retiring from active politics, he maintained a strong international presence. Through his work done through the Nelson Mandela Foundation, he was revered as an advocate of peace, reconciliation, and social justice.

Mandela’s popular quote on education, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world" still resonates in the society and as a firm believer of this, he brought real educational changes in his country. He founded Nelson Mandela Institute for Rural Development and Education to train teachers and send high-quality teachers to rural areas to equip schools with top teachers and modern facilities. In 1997 he stated “The true character of society is revealed in how it treats its children,” and all through his life he lived by these words. Today his legacy is proudly being carried by the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund by giving voice and dignity to the African child by developing a rights-based movement.  

Mandela, through his presidential tenure, donated one-third of his salary to create an organization that was charged to end poverty and its symptoms like hunger, exploitation, and homelessness. As a leader, scholar, activist, and the world's greatest humanitarians he was regularly confronted by the challenges of apartheid, but he wielded his inimitable spirit to improve the lives of millions of his countrymen. With his vision of racism and prejudice free democratic society, he inspired South Africans and encouraged tolerance and forgiveness through his popular quotes on life and equality. He helped people imagine a future where even the vulnerable and marginalized people would be free from fear. He strongly envisions a human society where every person has equal and meaningful rights and no person is above the law. His vision should be honored by ensuring that his vision is realized in South Africa as well as across the continent.

Though his dream of authoring a sequel to his first autobiography was abandoned before publication his writings and speeches were assembled in, I Am Prepared to Die, No Easy Walk to Freedom, The Struggle Is My Life, and In His Own Words. The “Long Walk to Freedom” is his autobiography that chronicles his early life and years in prison. Mandela is an international icon emerging from a prison cell that topples apartheid and fought for the rights of millions of suppressed South Africans, strengthening his status as an international icon of peace and justice. The United Nations in the year 2009, declared July 18 as the “Nelson Mandela International Day” as a tribute to his contributions to democracy, freedom, peace, and human rights. He died on December 5, 2013, due to a lung infection. 

Regarded in the world as one of history's most inspirational figures, Mandela's popular quotes shine as a beacon of hope and empower the human spirit to overcome impossible odds. Find below some of the life inspiring quotes of Nelson Mandela that will inspire human beings to have belief in themselves. His motivational quotes will inspire everyone to attain success in life.

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