Nelson Mandela is a man who needs no introduction. The iconic South African leader became an international figure at the age of 71 when he was elected president, four years after his release from prison where he had spent 27 years fighting for equal rights in South Africa. The Nelson Mandela Foundation managed to publish Nelson Mandela’s autobiography entitled Long Walk To Freedom in time for Nelson Mandela Day on 18 July 2010.
Long Walk To Freedom tells Nelson Mandela’s story in Nelson Mandela’s own words, recounting the events which led up to his 27-year incarceration and charting the path that led Nelson Mandela to walk out of prison after almost three decades in captivity. Nelson Mandela offers readers a unique insight into what it feels like not only to be imprisoned for your beliefs, but also to be an African in the last days of colonialism.
Nelson Mandela’s writing is visceral and honest; he does not shy away from discussing issues like his numerous affairs while he was married to Winnie Mandela or some of his more radical tactics when it came to fighting the oppression of blacks under the government. Nelson Mandela himself has stated that Long Walk To Freedom is not, however, an attempt by Nelson Mandela at writing a political history book about apartheid. Rather Nelson Mandela describes it as “my life’s story”. Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela was born on 18 July 1918 in Transkei, South Africa.
At an early age Nelson Mandela had set for himself incredibly high standards and goals which Nelson Mandela achieved with Nelson Mandela’s trademark tenacity and single-mindedness. Nelson Mandela studied law at University College of Fort Hare and the University of Witwatersrand, Nelson Mandela was only 22 when Nelson Mandela qualified as a lawyer and had started Nelson Mandela’s own law firm by Nelson Mandela’s late twenties. It was while Nelson Mandela was living in Johannesburg that Nelson Mandela met Winnie Madikizela, whom Nelson Mandela later married on 5 October 1958.
Although it is not mentioned very often in either Long Walk To Freedom or any of the obituaries which ran after Nelson Mandela’s death, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela did have an illegitimate son with an early girlfriend of his named Evelyn Mase in 1941. Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela and Evelyn Mase never married, but Nelson Mandela did provide Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela with financial support for Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela’s upbringing. Nelson Mandela’s son is named Thembi and Nelson Mandela went on to see Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela when he was old enough.
Nelson Mandela was an incredibly driven individual who would stop at nothing to achieve Nelson Mandela’s goals until Nelson Mandela achieved them. As a result of this steadfast resolve, Nelson Mandela became involved in political activism after returning from University College of Fort Hare where the political climate had changed dramatically during Nelson Mandela’s time away, starting with the election the National Party in 1948 which Nelson Mandela has described as the day apartheid began.
Nelson Mandela’s book does not explicitly delve into Nelson Mandela’s early years in politics, but Nelson Mandela does mention Nelson Mandela’s time studying politics and how it influenced Nelson Mandela’s desire to fight for equality in South Africa. Nelson Mandela would go on to co-found Nelson Mandela’s first political party, the ANCYL which was aimed at young Africans who were turning away from their traditional tribal roots towards a more Westernised way of living.
Although Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela had been inspired by Mohandas Gandhi before meeting him in 1962, he took his inspiration further during Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela’s incarceration by ren all violence, even against the prison guards, Nelson Mandela also spent Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela’s time behind bars learning the Afrikaner language of Afrikaans with Nelson Mandela’s fellow prisoners Nelson Mandela was made Nelson Mandela’s prison nickname “Madiba” in recognition of Nelson Mandela’s grandfather who was king of the Thembu people.
The early days of Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela’s incarceration were particularly difficult for Nelson Mandela as Nelson Mandela had to adjust to being so restricted both physically and mentally. To pass the time, Nelson Mandela read extensively and became an avid fan of Shakespeare.
Despite the horrendous conditions Nelson Mandela wasn’t even allowed to wear shoes until two years after arriving at Robben Island because it meant that more than four prisoners would have to be accounted for. Nelson Mandela’s book does not really go into Nelson Mandela’s feelings about Nelson Mandela’s experience in Nelson Mandela’s early years in prison, Nelson Mandela simply states that “I had been young, ambitious, and determined to do what I thought was right.
Nelson’s mother was a caring woman. Nelson’s father died when Nelson was nine years old, and Nelson had to move in with his uncle who was a chief of the tribe. Nelson then moved to a Methodist school where he was taught English and Xhosa. Nelson studied hard and became a teacher at a young age of sixteen. At twenty-one Nelson married for the first time, but lost his wife after two months. Nelson later found love again with Winnie Madikizela, which gave him family as well as pushed him to further study politics.
Nelson got involved in politics because he believed it could give blacks rights over their land they were being denied by the white minority government. Nelson Mandela traveled overseas many times throughout his life influencing other countries and their ways of thinking which Nelson hoped would help influence South Africa in the future. Nelson later came up with a way to combat apartheid and it was called “The People’s War,” which involved burning government property and sabotage.
Nelson Mandela was arrested for treason and sentenced to life imprisonment. Nelson served twenty-seven years before he became the first black president in 1994. Nelson’s book shares his struggles throughout his lifetime trying to fight racism in society, but also shows that when you have love and family by your side anything is possible.
Nelson Mandela is a South African hero and well-known worldwide for his fight against apartheid. Nelson Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, released in 1995 by Nelson Mandela with help from journalist and writer, Rick Stengel, chronicles Nelson’s life from South Africa to prison and beyond. Written in Nelson’s voice, the book explores Nelson’s early childhood growing up in rural Transkei and his law school days through to Nelson becoming president of South Africa in 1994 after winning a landslide election.
The book also discusses Nelson’s thoughts on a post-apartheid state and how he believes racial reconciliation will play a role. Nelson has contributed significantly toward ending apartheid since being imprisoned in 1962 at age 45 until his release in 1990 at age 71.
Nelson captured the attention of world leaders, resulting in Nelson being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993. Nelson’s book has been translated into many different languages and has sold millions of copies worldwide. Nelson Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom is a must-read for anyone interested in Nelson as well as those who want to know what Nelson thinks about his country and its people today.
In conclusion, Nelson Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom is an intimate look at Nelson Mandela’s life from childhood until present day. The reader can learn about Nelson Mandela himself as well as South African history and Nelson’s thoughts on a post-apartheid state. I would highly recommend this book because it provides insight into Nelson himself – not just an iconic president or leader – but also a passionate, thoughtful man. Nelson Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom is an inspiring book that Nelson Nelson would be proud of.