On the occasion of Nelson Mandela’s 85th birthday, some quotes from his book:

“ I voted on 27 April….” “I thought of Oliver Tambo, Chris Hani, Chief Luthuli and Bram Fischer. I thought of our great African heroes, who had made great sacrifices so that millions of South Africans could be voting on that very day; I thought of Josiah Gumede, G.M. Naicker, Dr. Abdullah Adurahman, Lilian Ngoyi, Helen Joseph, Yusuf Dadoo, Moses Kotane. I did not go into that voting station alone on 27 April; I was casting my vote with all of them.”

“The images of South Africans going to the polls that day are burned in my memory. Great lines of patient people snaking through the dirt roads and streets of towns and cities; old women who had waited half a century to cast their first vote saying that they felt like human beings for the first time in their lives; white men and women saying they were proud to live in a free country at last.”

“I felt that day, as I have done on so many other days, that I was simply the sum of all those African patriots who had gone before me.”

“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. I felt fear myself more times than I can remember, but I hid it behind a mask of boldness. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”

“I always knew that deep down in every human heart, there was mercy and generosity. No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”

“In life every man has twin obligations – obligations to his family…… and to his people, his community , his country. In a civil and humane society, each man is able to fulfil those obligations according to his own inclinations and abilities.”

“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. The true test of our devotion to freedom is just beginning.”

Happy Birthday Madiba, and you are not alone, and it is just beginning… and may you walk longer still – even while enjoying life!

Post your 85th birthday message to Nelson Mandela! At www.safrica.info!

Leave a Reply