1 / 10

Top 10 Nelson Mandela quotes

“I am fundamentally an optimist. Whether that comes from nature or nurture, I cannot say. Part of being optimistic is keeping one’s head pointed toward the sun, one’s feet moving forward. There were many dark moments when my faith in humanity was sorely tested, but I would not and could not give myself up to despair. That way lays defeat and death.”

Top 10 Nelson Mandela quotes

Former South African president and anti-apartheid hero Nelson Mandela became the first black leader of Africa's biggest economy after historic all-race elections in 1994.

Before his 1990 release he spent nearly three decades in prison for conspiring to overthrow the apartheid government.

He stepped down as president in 1999 after one term in office and has been removed from politics for a decade. His last appearance in public was at the final of the soccer World Cup in Johannesburg in 2010.