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Mandela with a blind child

Nelson Mandela on Community and Change

This week, we have all remembered Nelson Mandela by sharing his inspirational quotes with each other through social media. Many of these quotes are short and simple, but contain powerful truths. He spoke of the wonderful things he believed we could achieve – freedom, equality, justice, prosperity – and how he believed we could achieve it – cooperation, collaboration, self development, love.

Nelson Mandela was a believer in the power of community – and the amazing gifts it has to offer each and every one of us.

I put together a quote “mashup” tribute if you will, of what Nelson Mandela had to say about community and change. The words in italics are his, the rest are mine.


Want to change the world? Start with yourself. You are connected to everyone else, so having your heart, head, and soul in the right place will amplify your effectiveness.

The first thing is to be honest with yourself. You can never have an impact on society if you have not changed yourself. Great peacemakers are all people of integrity, of honesty, but also humility.

One of the things I learned when I was negotiating was that until I changed myself, I could not change others.

As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.

Are you going to enrich yourself in order to enable the community around you to be able to improve?


Never think that changing the world is a job you can do by yourself. You can’t. We are community, so we bring change together. And for positive change, we must be together in a way that respects our differences, trusts in each other’s inherent goodness, and strives for freedom and equality for all.

A fundamental concern for others in our individual and community lives would go a long way in making the world the better place we so passionately dreamt of.

No single person can liberate a country. You can only liberate a country if you act as a collective.

Social equality is the only basis of human happiness.

If you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy. Then he becomes your partner.

Man’s goodness is a flame that can be hidden, but never extinguished.

If they can learn to hate, they can learn to love.

I always knew that deep down in every human heart, there is mercy and generosity.


Yes, change can happen! We can have a better world. We have all we need at our fingertips to make this a reality. It isn’t just a fairy tale idea, it is a fundamental truth, demonstrated by Nelson Mandela’s life and work. We can have dramatic social change in this generation, if we just collectively CHOOSE to make it happen.

Sometimes, it falls upon a generation to be great. You can be that generation.

We must use time wisely and forever realize that the time is always ripe to do right.

Quitting is leading too.

You will achieve more in this world through acts of mercy, than you will through acts of retribution.

May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears.


Let there be justice for all, let there peace for all. The sun shall never set on so glorious an achievement.

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