• 17 June 2021

South Africa and the international community come together on 18 July to celebrate Mandela Day. The day is dedicated to the legacy of the late, great Nelson Mandela who was a civil rights leader and South Africa’s first black president. The spirit of Mandela Day is all about taking action, inspiring change and making a difference in our communities! In light of how Covid-19 has largely impacted communities across the world, giving back on Mandela Day 2021 feels more important than ever before.  

Born on 18 July 1918, Nelson Mandela was a formidable figure and an inspirational icon. He spent decades fighting against the apartheid regime and was imprisoned for 27 years by the apartheid government. Mandela became South Africa’s first democratically elected leader in 1994 and ushered in an era of freedom and change for the country. 

What can I do on Mandela Day?

On Mandela Day, people spend 67 minutes giving back to their community. These 67 minutes represent the 67 years of service Mandela dedicated to his country. People can make changes in small and large ways; from joining a sandwich drive or taking part in a neighbourhood clean up, to volunteering at a local shelter or donating blood. Ultimately, Mandela Day shows how individuals have the power to change the world. It also inspires everyone to make every day Mandela Day!    

To celebrate the legacy of Mandela, Expat Explore has put together a list of 14 inspirational Nelson Mandela quotes along with some proudly South African images:

1. “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”

Image of Penguins at Boulders Beach South Africa Inspirational quote Nelson Mandela Day

2. “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.”

Two women dancing on beach in Cape Town Inspirational quote Nelson Mandela Day

3. “It always seems impossible until it’s done.”

Nelson Mandela capture site and Inspirational quote Nelson Mandela Day

4. “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.”

Man flying South African flag and Inspirational quote Nelson Mandela Day

5. “Do not judge me by my successes, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again.”

View of Cape Town and Table Mountain Inspirational quote Nelson Mandela Day

6. “What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead.”

Two men hiking and Inspirational quote Nelson Mandela Day

7. “There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered.” 

Cape fynbos and Inspirational quote Nelson Mandela Day

8. “A winner is a dreamer who never gives up.”

Portrait of Nelson Mandela Inspirational quote Nelson Mandela Day

9. “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.”

Humpback whale in South Africa Inspirational quote Nelson Mandela Day

10. “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.”

Union buildings and statue of Mandela Inspirational quote Nelson Mandela Day

11. “I never lose. I either win or learn.”

Elephant calves playing and Inspirational quote Nelson Mandela Day

12. “May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears.”

Bridge at Storm's River mouth in South Africa and Inspirational quote Nelson Mandela Day

13. “The greatest glory in living is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.”

Tugela Falls in the Drakensberg and Inspirational quote Nelson Mandela Day

14. “A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination.”

Woman kayaking in Tsitsikamma South Africa and Inspirational quote Nelson Mandela Day


Take a look at the Mandela Day website to see the different ways you can take part in Mandela Day 2021 around the world. 

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