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10 Powerful Nelson Mandela Quotes On Poverty, Inequality, and the Environment

by Martina Igini Africa Jul 18th 20222 mins
10 Powerful Nelson Mandela Quotes On Poverty, Inequality, and the Environment

Mandela Day is celebrated every year on June 18, his birthday. A visionary leader, Mandela became South Africa’s first black president after spending 27 years in prison on charges of crimes against the country’s former apartheid government. Following his release in 1990, the Nobel Prize winner continued his fight against poverty, inequality, and racism. As the world remembers the incredible work he has done to tear down the oppressive government and install democracy in South Africa as well as his endless commitment to the cause of sustainable development, we prepared a list of the most memorable quotes by Nelson Mandela on the environment.

10 Best Nelson Mandela Quotes

1. “That our government has made significant progress in bringing potable water nearer to so many more people than was previously the case, I rate amongst the most important achievements of democracy in our country” – “No Water, No Future” speech on August 28, 2002.

2. “The very right to be human is denied every day to hundreds of millions of people as a result of poverty, the unavailability of basic necessities such as food, jobs, water and shelter, education, health care and a healthy environment.”

3. “I dream of our vast deserts, of our forests, of all our great wildernesses. We must never forget that it is our duty to protect this environment.”

4. “As long as poverty, injustice, and gross inequality persist in our world, none of us can truly rest.” – in London’s Trafalgar Square in 2005.

5. “It is in your hands to create a better world for all who live in it.”

6. “The poverty of the people and the devastation of the natural environment painfully strike me.”

7. “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.” London’s Trafalgar Square in 2005.

8. “It can be said that there are four basic and primary things that the mass of people in a society wish for: to live in a safe environment, to be able to work and provide for themselves, to have access to good public health and to have sound educational opportunities for their children.”

9. Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” – Address by Mandela at launch of Mindset Network in July 2003.

10.“Massive poverty and obscene inequality are such terrible scourges of our times — times in which the world boasts breathtaking advances in science, technology, industry, and wealth accumulation — that they have to rank alongside slavery and apartheid as social evils.” – Speaking to a crowd at London’s Trafalgar Square in 2005 for the “Make Poverty History” campaign.

If you like these Nelson Mandela quotes, you might also like: 15 Inspiring David Attenborough Quotes on Nature, Wildlife and Climate Change

Featured Image: Flickr (CC BY 2.0)


About the Author

Martina Igini

Martina is the Managing Editor at Earth.Org. She holds two BA degrees, in Translation/Interpreting Studies and Journalism, and a MA in International Development from the University of Vienna. After working at the United Nations Global Communication Department in Vienna, she joined a newspaper in Italy as a reporter before moving to Hong Kong in 2020. Her interests include sustainability and the role of public policy in environmental protection with a focus on developing countries.

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