Mandela: in his own words

Lagan-Hugh-RSAFr Hugh Lagan, from Maghera, Co Derry, is a missionary in South Africa. He is involved in training seminarians and running courses for clergy and religious throughout southern Africa. Here he gives a brief selection from the late Nelson Mandela which are food for thought… 


“No one is born hating another person. Because of the colour of their skin, of their background or their religion. People learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love.”

“I dream of an Africa which is in peace with itself. Never, never, and never again shall it be that this beautiful land will again experience the oppression of one by another.”

“If you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy. Then he becomes your partner. I have said, the first thing to be is honest with yourself… As I walked out the door to my freedom, I knew if I didn’t leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I’d still be in prison.”

“There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children. We owe our children a life free from violence and fear.”

“I am fundamentally an optimist. Whether that comes from nature or nurture, I cannot say. 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 lies defeat and death.”

“Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies. I am not a saint, unless you think of a saint as a sinner who keeps on trying. You will achieve more in this world through acts of mercy than you will through acts of retribution.”

Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela (1918 – 2013)

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