4 Nelson Mandela Quotes In Honor of Mandela Day

Photo: Darren Glanville

I highly recommend reading Long Walk To Freedom, the autobiography Nelson Mandela penned in secret while imprisoned for a large chunk of his life. In honor of this Mandela Day, I wanted to share a few of my favorite dog-eared passages from the book. Enjoy!

I am fundamentally an optimist. Whether that comes from nature or nurture, I cannot say. Part of being optimistic is keeping one’s head pointed toward the sun, one’s feet moving forward. 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. That way lay defeat and death.”

Image: Babak Fakhamzadeh
“The human body has an enormous capacity for adjusting to trying circumstances. I have found that one can bear the unbearable if one can keep one’s spirit strong, even when one’s body is being tested. Strong convictions are the secret of surviving deprivation. Your spirit can be full even when your stomach is empty.”

A freedom fighter learns the hard way that it is the oppressor who defines the nature of the struggle, and the oppressed is often left no recourse but to use methods that mirror those of the oppressor.”


“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.”