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Nelson Mandela’s way with words

People from all around the world are mourning Nelson Mandela. His efforts to end Apartheid in South Africa are now legendary, along with his commitment to peaceful protest and forgiveness. But Mandela was a man of words as well as actions – his speeches will endure almost as long as his deeds.

As copywriters we always appreciate good use of language, and at a time when political jargon is more prevalent than ever, it’s refreshing to look back at some of Mandela’s most powerful statements:

·         Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world. This is a noble sentiment well expressed, and we’re hearing it echoed by today’s inspirational figures like Malala Yousafazi.

·         Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies.  Mandela spent more than 27 years in prison but was famously forgiving of those who imprisoned him. The beauty of this statement is it resonates with every one of us – whether you’re sulking after losing a football match, or pushing your way onto a packed tube train.

·         If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head.If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart. This could be a mantra for any copywriter. If you use language your audience can’t identify with, you’ll struggle to engage them.

·         It always seems impossible until it’s done.It’s an idea that’s been repeated many times throughout the years, but when you consider Mandela’s achievements this quote takes on more poignancy.

·         There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered.If Nelson Mandela’s way with words remained in any doubt, this statement confirms it.

Nelson Mandela may have passed on, but the world’s continues to reveal great people, great speakers and great writers. The power of words continues to prevail at the best and worst of times.

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