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A pedestrian walks past a hand print mural of Nelson Mandela in Cape Town, February 11, 2010. (STR/REUTERS/Mark Wessels)
A pedestrian walks past a hand print mural of Nelson Mandela in Cape Town, February 11, 2010. (STR/REUTERS/Mark Wessels)

His words

Mandela in quotes Add to ...

I am told that Ottawa is one of the coldest capital cities in the world. But from our experience one would never know that. The people of this city have warmed our hearts with their welcome and made us feel that we were at home away from home.

We know that you have just completed a gruelling round of negotiations dealing with constitutional reform … We are inspired by the fact that you were able to find compromises which make agreement possible. We believe that we too must be inspired by this manner of proceeding.

Nelson Mandela and Prime Minister Brian Mulroney make their way through a crowd of onlookers after the South African leader's arrival in Ottawa on June 17, 1990.

I would also like to pay special tribute to Brian Mulroney, who has continued along the path charted by prime minister [John]Diefenbaker who acted against apartheid because he knew that no person of conscience could stand aside as a crime against humanity was being committed.

Mr. Prime Minister, our people and organization respect and admire you as a true friend. We have been greatly strengthened by your personal involvement in the struggle against apartheid and the leadership you have provided.

<p>Mr. Mandela shakes hands with former govenor-general Romeo LeBlanc as then prime minister Jean Chretien looks on. Nelson Mandela received his honorary Companion of the Order of Canada at a ceremony at Rideau Hall in Ottawa, September 24, 1998.</p>

I will cherish the title of Honorary Companion of Order of Canada as an expression of the deep bonds between the Canadian and South African peoples.

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

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

There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered.

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.

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

It always seems impossible until it's done.

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

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.

Lead from the back – and let others believe they are in front.

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

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.

Nelson Mandela, photographed in Oslo in 1993.

Appearances matter – and remember to smile.

Quitting is leading too.

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

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

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

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

Our second democratic election will see the replacement of an 80-year-old president with a president who is already running the country

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