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December 06, 2013

R.I.P. Nelson Mandela: Orator, Writer, and Moulder of Words

Nelson MandelaIt's always difficult to cope with the death of a truly inspirational public figure like Nelson Mandela. Nearly anyone in the world can easily recall at least some of his fascinating story and we are able to, as a result of his huge impact, directly associate him with terms such as 'freedom' and 'justice'. So, as the world mourns the passing of someone who has been spoken of as one of the most beloved politicians in the world, we take a moment to recognize another aspect of this multifaceted persona: Nelson Mandela, the writer. Yes, he was many things, politician, leader, orator, and a social champion, but he was also a writer; he penned his autobiography Long Walk to Freedom in order to cast a light on his early life and his 27 years of imprisonment. But the list doesn't end there, Mandela had joined forces with other public figures to write several works and even had Barack Obama write a foreword for his book Conversations with Myself. Mandela's words will no doubt continue to make an impact long after his death, but it seems only proper to commemorate him through some of his more potent quotes. We all love some good quotes, so here are five of my own favorites: 1. "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." 2. "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." 3. "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." 4. "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." 5. "A good head and good heart are always a formidable combination. But when you add to that a literate tongue or pen, then you have something very special." Perhaps there is no greater evidence of the power of words to move entire nations than to see with what capacity Mandela's words have long created a stir -- even in countries thousands of miles from his homeland. Never underestimate what well-spoken and well-written rhetoric can do. It seems there is not much left to say but Rest In Peace. How about you? I'd love to hear you share some of your favorite Nelson Mandela quotes. Which ones inspire you? Push you? Make you smile?