South African leader Nelson Mandela spent half a century fighting against the oppressive system of apartheid that segregated Black and white South Africans — a fight that led to his arrest in 1962 and a 27-year imprisonment.
After his release from prison in 1990, Mandela spent the next four years participating in peace talks and negotiations to bring apartheid to an end, and in 1994 was elected as the first Black president of a revolutionized nation.
Mandela never faltered in his belief in a more equal and just future for South Africa, and that belief propelled him to act despite the risk. With this quote, from his 1994 memoir Long Walk to Freedom, he points out that courage and fear aren’t opposites; rather, true courage is taking action even when you’re scared.
“The brave man,” Mandela wrote, “is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”