Madiba quotes that we love

As Good Work Foundation opened its doors to 2014, Kate Groch had a gift ready for each of the exceptional individuals working hard to dramatically change education in rural South Africa. It was a pocketbook of Nelson Mandela quotes – In the Words of Nelson Mandela.

As part of a year that is going to be as challenging as it is exciting, Kate asked that members of the team share a Nelson Mandela quote. One that has inspired them – one that is going to help light their path, and the path of our shared mission, in 2014.


The GWF Team

1.     Kate Groch – CEO

“No doubt Africa’s renaissance is at hand – and our challenge is to steer the continent through the tide of history.”

I believe, through education, the young people of South Africa and the rest of Africa will steer this continent to its rightful place in the world! It is the reason we do what we do. It is the reason I get up every day and do what we do.

And when you read the quotes and profound insights of the team at Good Work Foundation below, I am absolutely sure that Africa will take its rightful place in the world and the young people who this team is mentoring and influencing will take us to a place we cannot even imagine.


Mo & Kate Groch outside the Londolozi Digital Learning Centre

Gogo Mo & Kate

2.     Zodwa Buthelezi – Assistant Teacher

“You are responsible for your own future, and with hard work you can accomplish anything and make your dreams come true.”

These words encourage me to never give up, especially as this year I have decided that I want to study teaching. I’ve seen that teaching is very important to me and the learners that I’m helping at the moment. And I know that by working hard I will achieve my dream of becoming a qualified teacher.

3.     Byron Ross – Operations Manager

My favourite quote by Madiba is actually credited to Marianne Williamson, but Mandela quoted from her.

“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 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.”

I enjoy this quote as it encourages us to be ourselves and to have the confidence to be the best version of ourselves. Too often we shrink back out of fear or that the challenge seems impossible to achieve. If we believe we can, then anything is possible. We can set goals and dreams which scare us, challenge us and yet we can achieve them and overcome those obstacles. This is so pertinent in rural communities where young people feel there is no future for them. Madiba was born and raised in the small village of Qunu and he became a global icon for humanity.

4.     Deliwe Tibane – Receptionist



“Aids is clearly a disaster, effectively wiping out the development gains of the past decades and sabotaging the future.”

One of my sisters died in 2006 from HIV/AIDS. Many of us act as if HIV does not exist, or that it does not really affect us personally and yet we are already experiencing the personal reality of a human tragedy bigger than the world has ever seen before. Treating HIV and preventing the spread of the disease offers real hope. The fact is that today is the start of the rest of our lives and we can choose to know the way to live. Education is key!

5.     Crispen Bvumbghe – Head of Open Learning



“Make every home, every shack or rickety structure a centre of learning.”

Nelson Mandela stresses the value of education to all citizens and education can be provided at any place. It is in this context that he sends a message on education as priority. Learning is therefore expected to take place everywhere including homes. The marginalised people are also accorded the right to education despite where they exist in the country. This assertion brings an awareness of education as a basic human right.

6.     Diane Myburgh – Preschool Coordinator

Di & Maya

Di & Maya

“No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”

“As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.”

There are so many beautiful inspiring things that Nelson Mandela has said but the above two really stand out for me and I feel that they actually tie into each other. Although at times many other emotions may feel overwhelming, LOVE can overcome them. Spending time with children shows me every day that this quote is so true. They do not see colour they just feel the love, but it is at this time and stage of their lives where they are taught about difference by those around them. I always think to myself I can choose to get mad or I can choose to love… depending on my choice how will it affect that child or even that adult? The more love we give the more love we receive, it is one of those amazing things that just keeps multiplying as long as we keep giving it away. We teach people to love by showing them love and this is why I like the second quote because if we can be the best version of who we are and let that shine, then that becomes contagious to those around us and helps others to be the best versions of themselves.  And how wonderful to be a part of something so magical.

7.     Lungile Shabangu – ICDL Facilitator


Lungile & Glenrose

“Life is like a big wheel; the one who’s at the top, tomorrow is at the bottom.”

As you move through life, set aside good ideas and give them to others. The greatest gift one man can give another is the awesome responsibility of freedom. Someone who knows today is so bad, know tomorrow has just got to be better.

8.      Gay Sibuyi – ICDL Coordinator

“It’s a unique woman who can turn the whole world around and make it the best living place to experience.”

God created a woman as a helper, but she is more than that. She’s strong and can endure so much in life. Woman cries when she’s happy and laughs when she’s in so much pain. Our extraordinary CEO Ms. Kate is a good example of that. She is amazingly talented. She cares about people and it shows. She is generous with her time. She sometimes leaves her daughter Maya for working trip. She is helping everyone to fulfil their potential. Hazyview Digital Learning Centre is a better place for our students. And it’s only through education we can fight poverty. Thank you for brightening my world and the world of all our students. Viva Ladies!



9.     Abna Machavana – ICDL Coordinator

“The Important thing is to give happiness to people.”

If you give happiness to others, they will always give the same kind of happiness that you gave. Happiness makes life easier.

Ellen, Vusi, Mercyful and Abna

Ellen, Vusi, Mercyful and Abna

10.  Mercyful Mathebula – Hospitality Coordinator

“If your attitude is to do things which are going to please the community and human beings, then of course you are likely to live a long life, to go to bed feeling that you have done some service to the community is very important.”

These words motivate me because I know I will live long like Madiba (I am joking but I hope so). Reading these words gives me strength to wake up every day with energy and love to go to work and make sure that I make a difference or help someone at the end of the day, and indeed it is a good feeling to go to bed knowing you have pleased someone.

11.  Linky Nkuna – ICDL Coordinator

Linky Nkuna: "Let me entertain you!"


“The onus is on us, through hard work, honesty and integrity, to reach for the stars. With all our colours and races combined in one nation, we are an Africa people.”

It is indeed our duty and responsibility as South Africans and as human beings to help each other. I love this quote because it speaks of who we are as an organisation. It also blends in nicely with the workshops that we did on Monday and Tuesday. We are responsible for ourselves, our colleagues and our students.

12.  Val Ross – Future Nature Coordinator

“In this new century, millions of people in the world’s poorest countries remain imprisoned, enslaved and in chains. They are trapped in the prison of poverty. It is time to set them free.”

This speaks to me and I really believe that poverty robs people of opportunities and options.

13.  Glenrose Mashigo – Assistant Teacher

Nelson Mandela joked that the first thing he would do when he reached the “next world” would be to ferret out the billionaires. “I’m going to say to say to them ‘raise money’ because I know the poor are everywhere and these children need to go to school.”

I quote this message because children deserve a better life and education. We need to treat them with love and teach them to take care of themselves. Education is very important these days, without education you can’t get employed or communicate to other people.

14.  Havny Manzini – ICDL Facilitator

Havny Manzini at Madlala


Life is a precious thing that God has given to us that’s why we have people around us to lead the way when we are lost. The words that I found touching: “Belief in the possibility of change and renewal is perhaps one of the defining characteristics of politics and religions.” This quote made me realise that when people show you something that you are good at, you must accept and face the change. Another quote from the book is: “As you know, I am not a speaker at all, and I’m not going to make any exception on this occasion, except to say thank you all for what you have done for me. Thank you.” These words got me thinking of the things that Good Work Foundation has done for me and is still doing. GWF is not just doing good work for the community but also for the employees. The leaders want what is best for us so I say “thank you” GWF for the chance that has been given to me.

15.  Benzel Nhlongo – ICDL Facilitator



“The ways in which we will achieve our goals are bound by context, changing with circumstances even while remaining steadfast in our commitment to our vision.”

This part had inspired me most, because usually if you’re human being you should have a goal that you’ll want to achieve in life. So in order to achieve your goal you should work hard towards your target, and finally you’ll make it. You won’t achieve what you need in life if you don’t have focus. Education is the best way to get to your goal.

16.  Pleasure Mgiba – ICDL Facilitator

“It is a mistake to think that a single individual can unite the country.”

I am inspired by this quote because I realise that the best way to achieve a goal in an organisation is to work together as a team. A team will encounter a problem better than one person. When people work together, the job goes faster and the outcome is of a better quality. Team communication keeps a group up-to-date about what is going on within that group. Team building is important for the purpose of promoting progress and achieving better efficiency.

17.  Mathew Mboshini – ICDL Facilitator

“Without the church, without religious institutions, I would never have been here today.”

Everything that is happening in our life happens for a reason. Where ever we are there are reasons for us to be there. There are no mistakes. All we that is required is for us to be the best that we can. If you fail, don’t give up! Just take it as a first attempt and do it again with all the resources you have because you know where it went wrong.



18.  Maggie Sandhlane – ICDL Facilitator

“I admire young people who are concerned with the affairs of their community and nation perhaps because I also became involved in a struggle whilst I was still at school. Young people are capable, when aroused, of bringing down the towers of oppression and raising the banners of freedom.”

As young people of this world we are capable of doing great things to change the world or to become what we want to be. As it was said that every step we are taking and every move we make is getting us closer to our dreams.

19.  Ryan James – Communications

“After nearly 90 years of life, it is time for new hands to lift the burdens. It is in your hands now.”

To suddenly understand the power of community is a wonderful wake-up call. We have been born into a world that celebrates the individual, but in the long term the world can only work if we are invested in helping each other to live better lives, interconnected and united in a community that values every individual. The positive influence of great men and women is there for us to see. Their legacies are there for us to build upon. They get it. They hope that we do too. It is up to us to keep Madiba’s fire alive.

20.  Milla van Wyk – Philippolis Course Coordinator

“Once a person is determined to help themselves, there is nothing that can stop them.”

“It always seems impossible, until it’s done.”

Sometimes we wonder why other people get where they are today, but when I look back and listen to a lot of Madiba’s words, I realise that he has been a significant influence in my life. He gives me the courage to go forward in life and not look back.

Maxine and Milla

Maxine and Milla

As a final addition to this post, Kate wanted to share “His Day is Done”, a tribute poem to Nelson Mandela by Dr. Maya Angelou. This is an incredibly moving address, one that will continue to inspire us as we move forward in 2014.

What are your favourite Nelson Mandela quotes? Which role models are guiding you in 2014? We would love to know – please leave your thoughts in the comments section below.