15 inspirational Nelson Mandela quotes that helped change the world

The late Nelson Mandela, who fought for democracy equality in South Africa and earned a Nobel Peace Prize for his work, is regarded as one of the most beloved civil rights advocates in the world.

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July 18 would have been the prisoner-turned-South African president’s 99th birthday.

To commemorate Mandela Day 2017, we've compiled a list of 11 of his most inspiring quotes:

  1. "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world."
  2. "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."
  3. "No one is born hating another person because of the color 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." (from "Long Walk to Freedom: Autobiography of Nelson Mandela")
  4. "A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination."
  5. "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."
  6. "I am fundamentally an optimist. Whether that comes from nature or nurture, I cannot say. Part of being optimistic is keeping one's head pointed toward the sun, one's feet moving forward. 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 lays defeat and death." (from "Long Walk to Freedom: Autobiography of Nelson Mandela")
  7. "I have walked that long road to freedom. I have tried not to falter; I have made missteps along the way. But I have discovered the secret that after climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb. I have taken a moment here to rest, to steal a view of the glorious vista that surrounds me, to look back on the distance I have come. But I can only rest for a moment, for with freedom come responsibilities, and I dare not linger, for my long walk is not ended."
  8. "Do not judge me by my successes, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again."
  9. "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."
  10. "As I walked out the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if I didn't leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I'd still be in prison."
  11. "As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same."
  12. "Freedom is indivisible; the chains on any one of my people were the chains on all of them, the chains on all of my people were the chains on me." (from "Long Walk to Freedom: Autobiography of Nelson Mandela")
  13. "Your playing small does not serve the world. Who are you not to be great?"
  14. "Tread softly, breathe peacefully, laugh hysterically."
  15. "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 and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die."

» RELATED: Nelson Mandela through the years

Mandela Day was launched by the United Nations General Assembly on July 18, 2009.

» RELATED: ‘Welcome Home:’ Mandela’s 1990 visit to Atlanta rained adoration

The anti-Apartheid icon died in December of 2013 at the age of 95 from a prolonged respiratory infection.

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