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THE FAMOUS SPEECH THAT NELSON MANDELA NEVER GAVE...



"...Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. 
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? 
Actually, who are you not to be? 
You are a child of God.
Your playing small does not serve the world.
There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. 
We are all meant to shine, as children do.
We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. 
It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."
        

 

This passage is commonly mis-attributed to Nelson Mandela's 1994 Inaugural Address.

It actually comes from the book 'A Return To Love' (1992) by Marianne Williamson

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I created the original version of this page more than eight years ago on one of Yahoo's (now defunct) free-hosted "Geocities" web sites: http://web.archive.org/web/20040910184030/http://www.geocities.com/fascin8or/mandela.htm  

At the time, nearly every web site sharing the "Our deepest fear.." quote on the internet cited "Nelson Mandela's 1994 Inaugural Address" as its source.  

[ It almost seemed as if the only people aware that this was a false attribution were Nelson Mandela, Marianne Williamson, and those who had actually read her book!  ]

Over the years since then, many of those web sites have correctly re-attributed the quote (- often, in the process, kindly referencing this particular page).

Though, the internet being what it is, misinformation continues to spread in the blink of an eye, and the myth about Mandela and the quote is still very much alive and well.

I often receive emails about this page.  
Some people simply voicing their surprise that the myth is so wide-spread;
some asking if I am sure I've got my facts right;  
and on occasion, one or two verging on the hostile - demanding to know why I would pretend that the words weren't Nelson Mandelas - why I would fabricate such misinformation, and why I should wish to dis-respect Nelson Mandela in this way !!


To be absolutely clear:

The  "Our deepest fear.." quote was not written by Nelson Mandela
Nor was it written by a speech-writer for Nelson Mandela


It was not used - as the myth would have it - "by Nelson Mandela in his 1994 Inaugural Address"

In fact, even the reference to Nelson Mandela's "Inaugural Address" (i.e. Inaugural Speech) is itself somewhat incorrect. 

Nelson Mandela actually gave two Inaugural Addresses/Speeches:

the first, on 9th May 1994 at Cape Town   - see here

the second,  on 10th May 1994 at Pretoria  - see here

And, as can clearly be seen from the transcripts, the " Our deepest fear..." quote is not to be found in either of them.


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"Several years ago, this paragraph from A RETURN TO LOVE began popping up everywhere, attributed to Nelson Mandela's l994 Inaugural Address. As honored as I would be had President Mandela quoted my words, indeed he did not. I have no idea where that story came from, but I am gratified that the paragraph has come to mean so much to so many people."

Marianne Williamson

Source:

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Quote from the Official Mandela web-site:

"Even long after his official ‘retirement from retirement’ announcement on 1 June 2004, when he famously said, “Don’t call me, I’ll call you”, we, at the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, still process thousands of requests for the authentication of quotations.

We found that many of these, often lifted from websites purporting to contain accurate information about Mandela, were not correct. One of the main ‘quotes’ by which Mandela is misquoted contains, in actual fact, the words of American author Marianne Williamson from her book A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of a Course in Miracles. She wrote: “Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.” This quote, and especially Williamson’s closing words, “As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others”, are often incorrectly credited to Mandela."

http://www.nelsonmandela.org/content/mini-site/introduction-from-the-book                      [Retrieved 30 September 2012]

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 NELSON MANDELA'S ADDRESS TO THE PEOPLE OF CAPE TOWN, GRAND PARADE,
ON THE OCCASION OF HIS INAUGURATION AS STATE PRESIDENT, 9 MAY 1994:



"
Mr Master of Ceremonies,
Your Excellencies,
Members of the Diplomatic Corps,
My Fellow South Africans:

Today we are entering a new era for our country and its people. Today we celebrate not the victory of a party, but a victory for all the people of South Africa.

Our country has arrived at a decision. Among all the parties that contested the elections, the overwhelming majority of South Africans have mandated the African National Congress to lead our country into the future. The South Africa we have struggled for, in which all our people, be they African, Coloured, Indian or White, regard themselves as citizens of one nation is at hand.

Perhaps it was history that ordained that it be here, at the Cape of Good Hope that we should lay the foundation stone of our new nation. For it was here at this Cape, over three countries ago, that there began the fateful convergence of the peoples of Africa, Europe and Asia on these shores.

It was to this peninsula that the patriots, among them many princes and scholars, of Indonesia were dragged in chains. It was on the sandy plains of this peninsula that first battles of the epic wars of resistance were fought.

When we look out across Table Bay, the horizon is dominated by Robben Island, whose infamy as a dungeon built to stifle the spirit of freedom is as old as colonialism in South Africa. For three centuries that island was seen as a place to which outcasts can be banished. The names of those who were incarcerated on Robben Island is a roll call of resistance fighters and democrats spanning over three centuries. If indeed this is a Cape of Good Hope, that hope owes much to the spirit of that legion of fighters and others of their calibre.

We have fought for a democratic constitution since the 1880s. Ours has been a quest for a constitution freely adopted by the people of South Africa, reflecting their wishes and their aspirations. The struggle for democracy has never been a matter pursued by one race, class, religious community or gender among South Africans. In honouring those who fought to see this day arrive, we honour the best sons and daughters of all our people. We can count amongst them Africans, Coloureds, Whites, Indians, Muslims, Christians, Hindus, Jews - all of them united by a common vision of a better life for the people of this country.

It was that vision that inspired us in 1923 when we adopted the first ever Bill of Rights in this country. That same vision spurred us to put forward the African Claims in 1946. It is also the founding principle of the Freedom Charter we adopted as policy in 1955, which in its very first lines, places before South Africa an inclusive basis for citizenship.

In the 1980s the African National Congress was still setting the pace, being the first major political formation in South Africa to commit itself firmly to a Bill of Rights, which we published in November 1990. These milestones give concrete expression to what South Africa can become. They speak of a constitutional, democratic, political order in which, regardless of colour, gender, religion, political opinion or sexual orientation, the law will provide for the equal protection of all citizens.

They project a democracy in which the government, whomever that government may be, will be bound by a higher set of rules, embodied in a constitution, and will not be able govern the country as it pleases.

Democracy is based on the majority principle. This is especially true in a country such as ours where the vast majority have been systematically denied their rights. At the same time, democracy also requires that the rights of political and other minorities be safeguarded.

In the political order we have established there will regular, open and free elections, at all levels of government - central, provincial and municipal. There shall also be a social order which respects completely the culture, language and religious rights of all sections of our society and the fundamental rights of the individual.

The task at hand on will not be easy. But you have mandated us to change South Africa from a country in which the majority lived with little hope, to one in which they can live and work with dignity, with a sense of self-esteem and confidence in the future. The cornerstone of building a better life of opportunity, freedom and prosperity is the Reconstruction and Development Programme.

This needs unity of purpose. It needs in action. It requires us all to work together to bring an end to division, an end to suspicion and build a nation united in our diversity.

The people of South Africa have spoken in these elections. They want change! And change is what they will get. Our plan is to create jobs, promote peace and reconciliation, and to guarantee freedom for all South Africans. We will tackle the widespread poverty so pervasive among the majority of our people. By encouraging investors and the democratic state to support job creating projects in which manufacturing will play a central role we will try to change our country from a net exporter of raw material to one that exports finished products through beneficiation.

The government will devise policies that encourage and reward productive enterprise among the disadvantaged communities - African, Coloured and Indian. By easing credit conditions we can assist them to make inroads into the productive and manufacturing spheres and breakout of the small-scale distribution to which they are presently confined.

To raise our country and its people from the morass of racism and apartheid will require determination and effort. As a government, the ANC will create a legal framework that will assist, rather than impede, the awesome task of reconstruction and development of our battered society.

While we are and shall remain fully committed to the spirit of a government of national unity, we are determined to initiate and bring about the change that our mandate from the people demands.

We place our vision of a new constitutional order for South Africa on the table not as conquerors, prescribing to the conquered. We speak as fellow citizens to heal the wounds of the past with the intent of constructing a new order based on justice for all.

This is the challenge that faces all South Africans today, and it is one to which I am certain we will all rise."


Source:
The African National Congress http://www.anc.org.za

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STATEMENT OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE AFRICAN NATIONAL CONGRESS, NELSON MANDELA, AT HIS INAUGURATION AS PRESIDENT OF THE DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF SOUTH AFRICA,
UNION BUILDINGS, PRETORIA, 10 MAY 1994


"Your Majesties
Your Highnesses
Distinguished Guests
Comrades and Friends

Today, all of us do, by our presence here, and by our celebrations in other parts of our country and the world, confer glory and hope to newborn liberty.

Out of the experience of and extraordinary human disaster that lasted too long, must be born a society of which all humanity will be proud.

Our daily deeds as ordinary South Africans must produce an actual South African reality that will reinforce humanity's belief in justice, strengthen its confidence in the nobility of the human soul and sustain all our hopes for glorious life for all.

All this we owe both to ourselves and to the peoples of the world who are so well represented here today.

To my compatriots, I have no hesitation in saying that each one of us is as intimately attached to the soil of this beautiful country as are the famous jacaranda trees of Pretoria and the mimosa trees of the bushveld.

Each time one of us touches the soil of this land, we feel a sense of personal renewal. The national mood changes as the seasons change.

We are moved by a sense of joy and exhilaration when the grass turns green and the flowers bloom.

That spiritual and physical oneness we all share with this common homeland explains the depth of the pain we all carried in our hearts as we saw our country tear itself apart in a terrible conflict, and as we saw it spurned, outlawed and isolated by the peoples of the world, precisely because it has become the universal base of the pernicious ideology and practice of racism and racial oppression.

We, the people of South Africa, feel fulfilled that humanity has taken us back into its bosom, that we, who were outlaws no so long ago, have today been given the rare privilege to be host to the nations of the world on our own soil.

We thank all our distinguished international guests for having come to take possession people of our country of what is, after all, a common victory for justice, for peace, for human dignity.

We trust that you will continue to stand by us as we tackle the challenges of building peace, prosperity, non-sexism, non-racialism and democracy.

We deeply appreciate the role that the masses of our people and their political mass democratic, religious, women, youth, business, traditional and other leaders have played to bring about this conclusion. Not least among them is my Second Deputy President, the Honourable F.W. de Klerk.

We would also like to pay tribute to our security forces, in all their ranks, for the distinguished role they have played in securing our first democratic elections and the transition to democracy, from blood-thirsty forces which still refuse to see the light.

The time for the healing of the wounds has come.

The moment to bridge the chasms that divide us has come.

The time to build is upon us.

We have, at last, achieved our political emancipation. We pledge ourselves to liberate all our people from the continuing bondage of poverty, deprivation, suffering, gender and other discrimination.

We succeeded to take our last steps to freedom in conditions of relative peace. We commit ourselves to the construction of a complete, just and lasting peace.

We have triumphed in the effort to implant hope in the breasts of the million of our people. We enter into a covenant that we shall build the society in which all South Africans, both black and white, will be able to walk tall, without any fear in their hearts, assured of their inalienable right to human dignity - a rainbow nation at peace with itself and the world.

As a token of its commitment to the renewal of our country, the new Interim Government of National Unity will, as a matter of urgency, address the issue of amnesty for various categories of our people who are currently serving terms of imprisonment.

We dedicate this day to all the heroes and heroines in this country and the rest of the world who sacrificed in many ways and surrendered their lives so that we could be free.

Their dreams have become reality. Freedom is their reward.

We are both humbled and elevated by the honour and privilege that you, the people of South Africa, have bestowed on us, as the first President of a united, democratic, non-racial and non-sexist government.

We understand it still that there is no easy road to freedom.

We know it well that none of us acting alone can achieve success.

We must therefore act together as a united people, for national reconciliation, for nation building, for the birth of a new world.

Let there be justice for all.

Let there be peace for all.

Let there be work, bread, water and salt for all.

Let each know that for each that for each the body, the mind and the soul have been freed to fulfil themselves.

Never, never and never again shall it be that this beautiful land will again experience the oppression of one by another and suffer the indignity of being the skunk of the world.

Let freedom reign.

The sun shall never set on so glorious a human achievement!

God bless Africa!

Thank you."



Source:
The African National Congress http://www.anc.org.za

 



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