Nelson Mandela is one of the twentieth century’s greatest political figures. Incarcerated in prison for over 20 years due to his role in fighting apartheid Mandela came to symbolise the injustice of apartheid and his fate became a rallying cry for those committed to its overthrow.
Like slavery and apartheid, poverty is not natural. It is man-made and it can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings.
“Our single most important challenge is therefore to help establish a social order in which the freedom of the individual will truly mean the freedom of the individual. We must construct that people-centred society of freedom in such a manner that it guarantees the political liberties and the human rights of all our citizens.”
Nelson Mandela, speech at the opening of the South African parliament, Cape Town 25 May 1994.
“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 will live together in harmony with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for, and to see realised. But my Lord, if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.”
Nelson Mandela, defence statement during the Rivonia Trial, 1964. Also repeated during the closing of his speech delivered in Cape Town on the day he was released from prison 27 years later, on 11 February 1990.