Last week saw the birthday of Mr Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, the former president of South Africa . He reached the impressive age of 90 years and is still healthy enough to travel internationally. I spent my youth in South Africa and as a child I lived in a town close to the area where he grew up. As a celebration of his wisdom and leadership, and in acknowledgement of the positive influence he has had on my life, I have selected a few relevant quotes by the great Freedom Walker himself.
“A traveller through our country would stop at a village, and he didn’t have to ask for food or for water. Once he stops, the people give him food, entertain him. That is one aspect of Ubuntu but Ubuntu has various aspects. Ubuntu does not mean that people should not enrich themselves. The question therefore is: Are you going to do so in order to enable the community around you to improve?”
“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.”
“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.”
“We must use time wisely and forever realize that the time is always ripe to do right.”
“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.”
“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.”
“As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
“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.”
“There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered.”
“When the water starts boiling it is foolish to turn off the heat.”
“It always seems impossible until its done.”
Ubuntu is an African philosophy and is a Zulu word which means Humanity.
Ubuntu is also the name of an open source Linux operating system, spearheaded by Mark Shuttleworth, a South African entrepreneur.