There is nothing I fear more than waking up without a program that will help me bring a little happiness to those with no resources, those who are poor, illiterate, and ridden with terminal disease.
There are many people in South Africa who are rich and who can share those riches with those not so fortunate who have not been able to conquer poverty.
I have retired, but if there's anything that would kill me it is to wake up in the morning not knowing what to do.
Courageous people do not fear forgiving, for the sake of peace.
Does anybody really think that they didn't get what they had because they didn't have the talent or the strength or the endurance or the commitment?
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.
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.
There is no such thing as part freedom.
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.
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.
After climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb.
If you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy. Then he becomes your partner.
Only free men can negotiate. A prisoner cannot enter into contracts.
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.
A good leader can engage in a debate frankly and thoroughly, knowing that at the end he and the other side must be closer, and thus emerge stronger. You don't have that idea when you are arrogant, superficial, and uninformed.
A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination.
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.
It always seems impossible until it's done.
Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.
Intervention only works when the people concerned seem to be keen for peace.
Nonviolence is a good policy when the conditions permit.
Any man or institution that tries to rob me of my dignity will lose.
It is wise to persuade people to do things and make them think it was their own idea.
After one has been in prison, it is the small things that one appreciates: being able to take a walk whenever one wants, going into a shop and buying a newspaper, speaking or choosing to remain silent. The simple act of being able to control one's person.
On the first day of school, my teacher, Miss Mdingane, gave each of us an English name and said that from thenceforth that was the name we would answer to in school. This was the custom among Africans in those days and was undoubtedly due to the British bias of our education.
Without education, your children can never really meet the challenges they will face. So it's very important to give children education and explain that they should play a role for their country.
Even if you have a terminal disease, you don't have to sit down and mope. Enjoy life and challenge the illness that you have.
There are so many men and women who hold no distinctive positions but whose contribution towards the development of society has been enormous.
Whatever position I occupied, it was the result of colleagues - of my comrades in the movement - who had decided in their wisdom to use me for the purpose of focusing the attention of the country and the international community on me.