In 1990 I went to a Free Mandela concert at Wetlands, a wonderful NYC club (sadly no longer in existence), it was the most thrilling, exhilerating experience. To have witnessed Mandela's release into the our 20th century world with such dignity, grace and force and then to rise up to lead the nation that had emprisoned him is beyond extraordinary.
He wrote so many inspiring words, here are some:
"Honour belongs to those who never forsake the truth even when things seem dark and grim, who try over and over again, who are never discouraged by insults, humiliation and even defeat." ~ Nelson Mandela from a letter to Winnie Mandela, Written on Robben Island, 23 June 1969
"For every woman and girl violently attacked, we reduce our humanity. For every woman forced into unprotected sex because men demand this, we destroy dignity and pride. Every woman who has to sell her life for sex we condemn to a lifetime in prison. For every moment we remain silent, we conspire against our women. For every woman infected by HIV, we destroy a generation." ~ Nelson Mandela during the 46664 Concert, Fancourt, George, South Africa, 19 March 2005