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“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 lays defeat and death.”

~ Nelson Mandela in “Long Walk to Freedom”

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Nelson Mandela portrait by lasanta.com.ec

Nelson Mandela portrait by lasanta.com.ec

A few more concise fragments indicating the vision, wisdom and humbleness of “Tata Madiba”:

Freedom

“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.”

Return

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

Hills

“But I have discovered the secret
that after climbing a great hill,
one only finds
that there are many more hills to climb.”

Fear

“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.”

Ambition

“It is what we make out of what we have,
not what we are given,
that separates one person from another.”

Rise

“The greatest glory in living
lies not in never falling,
but in rising
every time we fall.”

Passion

“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.”

Life

“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 will determine the significance
of the life we lead.”

~

Nelson Mandela monument in London by Paul Simpson

Nelson Mandela monument in London by Paul Simpson

Words probably don’t do justice to the extraordinary legacy of Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela. He was not only a believer but also an achiever. Incredible patience and exceptional perseverance as well as “the formidable combination” of “a good head and a good heart” made him one of the most charismatic leaders of our times. Universal inspiration, a global icon and century personality passed away three days ago at the age of 95. History robbed him almost three decades of his life which he had to spend in prison, but he took revenge – by writing his own chapter with a truly remarkable storyline.

“I always knew that someday I would once again feel the grass under my feet and walk in the sunshine as a free man.”

On Thursday he reached the last milestone on his long walk…

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