Nelson Mandela was born in Transkei, South Africa, in 1918. He spent his youth in a traditional tribal community in which he would have been granted a high-office position by right of his ancestry. Instead of choosing a life of comfort and ease, however, he chose a path of struggle and sacrifice in order to secure for his country the basic human rights deserved by all people.
Mandela spent his early adulthood as a member of the African National Congress (ANC), striving for political and social change in a climate of extreme racial oppression resulting from the South African government’s apartheid laws.
In June 1961, Mandela and his colleagues came to the conclusion that it would be ineffective for African leaders to continue preaching passive resistance at a time when the government met their peaceful demands with force. This decision to engage in more aggressive forms of political struggle led to Mandela’s arrest.
The trial resulted in a life sentence for Mandela and seven of his colleagues. During his imprisonment, Mandela became a symbol of the anti-apartheid movement by continually refusing to sacrifice his ideals in exchange for freedom.
Mandela was eventually freed as a result of great pressure from the international community. After his release in February 1990, he aggressively strove to attain the goals he and others had laid out decades earlier—to achieve a just and equal society for people of all colors.
In 1993, he accepted the Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of all South Africans who had suffered to bring equality to their land. The era of the South African apartheid formally ended April 27, 1994. Two weeks later, after a lifetime dedicated to fighting for a fair government, Rolihlahla Nelson Dalibunga Mandela was inaugurated as president of South Africa.
Since the end of his presidential term in 1998, Mandela has continued to advocate for many social and human rights organizations. By his perseverance to achieve equality for all in the face of overwhelming adversity, Nelson Mandela’s life answers the question, “What can one person do?”
Inspiration. Pass It On!
This billboard about Inspiration features Nelson Mandela.
Pass It On®
Elizabeth from St.joe school SEPTEMBER 27, 2022
Mr nelson you are the best person of all.
Karen G. from Wyncote Elementary School OCTOBER 19, 2021
This is wonderful; these posters are exceptionally well done with a wonderful array of people and categories.
M from why do you care JANUARY 24, 2021
Nelson Mandela is a really great person. I'm thankful he existed. I'm sad that he passed away, but he made changes to the world that nobody will ever forget.
Kathy from Bulverde, Texas JANUARY 13, 2021
"What can one person do?"
My answer: Change the world
Iyanna Tyler SEPTEMBER 23, 2020
I like it
Dawson Waterehouse SEPTEMBER 22, 2020
Nelson Mandela's theme is that you never want to always choose the easy path and sometimes you take the harder path which may have a better outcome.
Malachi from Killeen SEPTEMBER 18, 2020
One person can do any thing if you put your minds to it
Amina Grims from Winstonville, Mississippi SEPTEMBER 14, 2020
Nelson Mandela was a man of peace. He fought for what's right and it ended up with him being the president of South Africa.
Kayla Horn SEPTEMBER 14, 2020
'' A person greatness can overcome others hate'''
Felita Milon from Mississippi SEPTEMBER 14, 2020
Great overview of Nelson Mandela's life. Thank you for creating this website. I will use it to teach my students how to determine a theme or central idea.
S.Johnson from Shelby, MS SEPTEMBER 14, 2020
Reading about Nelson Mandela makes me think about, ''What is peace without change?'' Change will never happen without devotion and hard work.
Lakendra Thornton from Cleveland ms SEPTEMBER 14, 2020
Nelson Mandela Was a strong and powerful back in his days. He wanted freedom for African Americans
Diamonn Johnson SEPTEMBER 14, 2020
A person commitment can change lives.
Anonymous SEPTEMBER 14, 2020
What can one person say?
Alyssa Robinson from Mississippi SEPTEMBER 14, 2020
My theme is "What Difference can a people make in life".
Abigail Grayer from Mound Bayou, Mississippi SEPTEMBER 14, 2020
You can fight for what's right.
dakota feen from gulfport MAY 14, 2020
make a decision that you will wake up tomorrow and not regret
Maria Anglada from FL SEPTEMBER 26, 2019
WOW! I just discovered your website. I will definitely use it in my classroom to teach Health!
Anonymous OCTOBER 1, 2018
I love the quote it is very inspirational and i love this dude
Hudson from Allen NOVEMBER 13, 2017
I think this story is so inspiring. It is one of those stories that just melts your heart and makes you want to do something that helps people remember you.
Billy Bob Joe from Los Angles, CA OCTOBER 25, 2017
This is one of the best stories I have ever read
melaki from school OCTOBER 25, 2017
this is awesome
Anonymous OCTOBER 23, 2017
KRILON from TEXAS OCTOBER 23, 2017
I want to help the world like him
Matt from Texas OCTOBER 20, 2017
He is a good man.
Anonymous DECEMBER 6, 2016
''Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.''
Me from Louisiana OCTOBER 17, 2016
He is inspirational
John MAY 2, 2016
He's a. Hero
Aiysha from School MARCH 16, 2016
What can one person do? Even when faced with difficulties of confidence and mental illness, what will it take to make a difference?
Name from Location DECEMBER 16, 2015
One Person Can Make A Difference
Me from Texas NOVEMBER 30, 2015
ADAM from SCHOOL OCTOBER 13, 2015
My biggest inspiration and hero. Ever. Rest in peace, Mr. Mandela. You will be missed.
Morgan from School OCTOBER 1, 2015
Omg, that is amazing
Mark from cmms SEPTEMBER 30, 2015
Noah Miller from Utah SEPTEMBER 30, 2015
What a great inspiration to resist oppression and racism using peaceful practices.
Jackson from School SEPTEMBER 25, 2015
Cooper hotton from Cmms SEPTEMBER 25, 2015
Nelson Mandela is a great man
Quan from Cmms SEPTEMBER 25, 2015
This is the most triumphant story
NULL from NULL JANUARY 27, 2015
What can one person do? Well, they can be kind. Sweet,. Generous. What can one person do?
Jini Loos from Haverford, PA AUGUST 21, 2014
Love what your offer to help us remind kids of possibilities!
grace balasaaabas from tara mab.neg.or JULY 31, 2014
love inspires u
Peggy from Fenville JULY 29, 2014
we are to help one another and not judge.
madi from naperville,IL APRIL 8, 2014
this is deep
SHABANI Haruna from UGANDA MARCH 21, 2014
He was really a good person not for his family and country but for the whole world as well
Arline from Florida JANUARY 19, 2014
The true meaning of Life is Love, and to remember we are All connected.
Jacqueline from Wisconsin JANUARY 16, 2014
Love is unconditional
daniel adams from philadelphia,pa. DECEMBER 22, 2013
nelson mandela,shows us what life will look like if all humanity strive to become,h-a-g-e-e-l free.try it you will see free yourself from hate ,anger,greed ,ego, and lust.
Mohamed Hussain from Brampton, Ontario DECEMBER 8, 2013
Mandela taught mt that forgiveness of one's wrongs comes from acknowledging them.
Lania Whiteside from United States NOVEMBER 30, 2013
Love is louder movement. Let's try to lessen the amount of suicide and make people feel good about themselves.
Paul Shongwe from Cape Town NOVEMBER 28, 2013
Mandela has taught us that hope of seeing others freed can keep us going for a long time. He is the ultimate triumph of the human spirit.
Bob from Earth NOVEMBER 8, 2013
jaraizha from killeen,texas OCTOBER 14, 2013
Nelson Mandela is a very inspiring person.
fupaul from China OCTOBER 9, 2013
Mona Moussa from EGypt AUGUST 30, 2013
One person can inspire many and many can inspire a nation. I beleive people who live by their values accomplish a lot and are able to teach the world and people that we were born to make a difference in the lives of others by our special gifts that God boestowed upon us.God gave him wisdom, perseverance and patience.
Mahlaoule Koketso Lawrence from mabuladihlare village AUGUST 5, 2013
Tata Nelson Mandela he is a good person as he foght for South Africa against aprthaid now we are having a good life because of i love you Tata your a fighter
Yolanda Contreras from Provo, Ut. JULY 12, 2013
I am a grateful fan of the uplifting quotes, values and inspiration that have made me feel that I am not alone; that I can make a contribution to myself as well as others to fulfill purpose in this world. THANK YOU SO MUCH!
Hellena from Uganda JULY 3, 2013
I like Nelson Mandela! And I wish every country leader would be like him and also learn from him.
May God bless you Madela
Michaele Adams from St Petersburg, FL USA JULY 1, 2013
Thank you, sir, for your contribution to the cause of equality and justice...it has had effect the world-wide, not only in your country of South Africa. God bless you now that your health is failing, and may God bring comfort to your family and to the people of South Africa when you pass. Your legacy will live on.
Clay Williams from Atlanta, Georgia USA JUNE 11, 2013
Few have accomplished the spectacular results that President Mandela accomplished in his life for Human Rights...to date. The workd needs another Mandela..NOW! Is there one out there who can rise to the challenge? Many "Pretenders"...few Champions! The WORLD needs to wake-up!
Manuel Pouparinas from Alabama APRIL 19, 2013
A true legacy and inspiration for all mankind to continue pursuing equality and growth from a champion of the free world, Mr Nelson Mandela.
Tumi Maibelo from Pretoria( RSA) APRIL 15, 2013
When it comes to this icon I want to cry, considering the lengths of years he served for the country to be where it is. He may not have done it alone but the strides he individually went through makes him my BEST HUMAN BEING I've ever known.
india robinson mone't from columbus georgia APRIL 9, 2013
nelson mandela was a great man. one of my dreams is to meet him but it may not get to come true.
BILL from U.S. MARCH 20, 2013
I love this guy! It makes me want to burst out in tears. He inspires me so much and I want to grow up to be just like him. His quotes inspire me everyday I go on this site and go to his billboard and read his quote. It cheers me up when I'm sad or having a bad day.
EDWIN from LONDON NOVEMBER 16, 2012
THE BEGINNING OF SACRIFICE IS A COST BUT THE END IS REWARDING. IT IS WORTH SACRIFICING FOR A POSITIVE CAUSE EXAMPLE NELSON MANDELA.
Henneh Kota from MN, USA OCTOBER 3, 2012
We are discussing leadership and power in our class right now and I think President Mandela is the epitome of a value driven leader who used his power efficiently to reconcile a country torn apart by racial prejudice.
Jo from Cape Town, South Africa AUGUST 29, 2012
Mandela's words continue to be both an inspiration and a challenge to us as South Africans.Individually we need to make the choice to live with others in mind; together we need to act to achieve the changes we all want in our country.
Maria Andrew-Michael from Foley ,AL AUGUST 22, 2012
Wow my husband was driving home this evening and saw this billboard of Nelson Mandela. A simply breathtaking photo on a billboard in small town Alabama . The man who fought for his beliefs ; went to prison for 27 years and whom I voted for in the 1994 elections to be my President. Now his face appears in my county and draws me closer to SA...Madiba...you have changed many peoples lives.
Okechukwu from London JULY 26, 2012
A legend and a mentor for life, Wish African Leaders can toe his part and beliefs, then things can be good for Africa.
Ayoade from Nigeria JULY 26, 2012
Truly inspiring and motivating....A great Mogul
Stacia from New York, NY JULY 26, 2012
That is powerful. Thank you for sharing Mandela's story. I realize that his life teaches me to embrace change. It's not about competing with others for what we believe is good for the whole. Instead Mandela's leadership despite the personal cost is what inspires us to live-up-to a higher calling. The hero within us.
Jojo Lopez from Honolulu Hawaii JULY 26, 2012
"What can one person do? It starts first and foremost with one's self denial to the comforts offered by the world. Like Mandela change to his country and perhaps to the whole world wouldn't have come had he chosen to look for himself. I am convinced that self sacrifice is the only way one can make such an impact of change to his his family, his neighbor perhaps his country and who knows maybe the whole world?