In Brief

Nelson Mandela: nine of his best quotes

The former South African anti-apartheid leader would have turned 100 today

Citizens of South Africa and countries across the globe are today commemorating the life and teachings of Nelson Mandela, on what would have been his 100th birthday.

Mandela is widely considered to be one of the most significant figures of the 20th and 21st centuries, says Forbes.

“Few people have had as much impact on history as Madiba had,” adds the magazine, referring to his clan name. “History will remember him as one of the greatest men who ever lived - an incredibly selfless man who made so much of a sacrifice to re-write the history of generations of South Africans and the world.”

He died in 2013 at the age of 95 having spent many of his later years in Qunu, the impoverished village where he grew up, The Guardian says.

Mandela was sentenced to life imprisonment by South Africa’s former white-minority regime in 1964 for conspiring to overthrow the government, before his subsequent release in 1990 and eventual election in 1994 as the country’s first democratic president.

CNN reports that on "Mandela Day", as 18 July is known, “you're supposed to channel your inner-Mandela: Give time to others. Listen. Share with the less fortunate. Be kind to one another.”

Former US president Barack Obama this week made his first high-profile speech since leaving the White House at a ceremony to mark Mandela’s 100th birthday, using the opportunity to heap praise on the late leader and his impact on the world.

“Look around: strongman politics are ascending suddenly, whereby elections and some pretence of democracies are maintained, the form of it, but those in power seek to undermine our institution and in the West you've got far-right parties that often times are based not just on platforms of protectionism and closed borders, but also on barely hidden racial nationalism,” Obama said.

“Mandela said young people are capable when aroused of bringing down the towers of oppression and raising the banners of freedom. Now is a good time to be aroused.”

Click on the gallery above for some of Mandela's finest quotes.

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