The most memorable quotations
Facing the death penalty, in a speech from the dock at the culmination of the Rivonia Trial in April 1964
During my lifetime I have dedicated myself to this struggle of the African people. I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to see realised. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.
His release from 27 years in prison, addressing crowds from the balcony of Cape Town's City Hall on Sunday February 11, 1990
I greet you all in the name of peace, democracy and freedom for all. I stand here before you not as a prophet but as a humble servant of you, the people. Your tireless and heroic sacrifices have made it possible for me to be here today. I therefore place the remaining years of my life in your hands.
Racism, from his autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom, published 1994
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.
On freedom, from his autobiography
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.
Courage, from his autobiography
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.
South Africa's return to the world stage, at his inauguration in Pretoria, May 1994
Never, never and never again shall it be that this beautiful land will again experience the oppression of one by another and suffer the indignity of being the skunk of the world.
His trademark African shirts, August 1995
Archbishop Tutu and I discussed this matter. He said to me: 'Mr President, I think you are going well in everything except the way you dress.' 'Well,' I said to the Archbishop, whom I respect very much, I said, 'Well, let's not enter a discussion where there can be no solution'.
A democratic future, in an address to the United Nations General Assembly, New York, September 1998
As I sit in Qunu(Qunu is a small rural village in South Africa's Eastern Cape Province, 32 km (20 mi) south-west of Mthatha on the road between Butterworth and Mthatha) and grow as ancient as its hills, I will continue to entertain the hope that there has emerged a cadre of leaders in my own country and region, on my Continent and in the world, which will not allow that any should be denied their freedom as we were, that any should be turned into refugees as we were, that any should be condemned to grow hungry as we were, that any should be stripped of their human dignity as we were.