Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela

LongWalk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela


NelsonMandela is a renowned person that is recognized as a great moral andpolitical leader. He showed devotion and commitment to fight againstracial oppression in South Africa. Mandela became an inspiringpolitical leader in the world after his release from prison. Hefacilitated the development of a multiracial government and majorityrule through his leadership in the African National Congress, and asthe head of the antiapartheid movement in South Africa where hefought for racial equality and human rights. His fight for racialequality and human rights led to his winning of the Noble Price(AbdulhameedFaris and Paramasivam 49-61).

The“Long Walk to Freedom” is Nelson Mandela’s autobiography thatprovides information on the South African antiapartheid struggle tofreedom. It was published in 1995 after Mandela became the firstblack president of South Africa. In this book, Mandela explains hislife from childhood in the rural home through to his development intoa freedom fighter, his twenty-seven years of imprisonment, and hisrole in the creation of a new and democratic country (South Africa)(Mandelap.2).

Mandelabegins by describing his descent. He indicates that he belongs to theThembu tribe and his father was a Kingmaker and an advisor to thekings in Thembu throne. Mandela describes his early childhood wherehe engaged himself in practicing traditional Xhosa fighting andherding cattle (Mandelap.2).Mandela states that “From an early age, I spent most of my freetime in the veld playing and fighting with the other boys of thevillage,” (Mandelap. 2). “I wasno more than five when I became a herd-boy, looking after sheep andcalves in the fields,” (Mandela p. 2). Mandela was sent to schoolby his father when he was old enough, and he excelled.

Mandeladescribes his young adulthood as he transformed into a freedomfighter. He became the leader of the South African freedom movement.He moved to Johannesburg and took part in the African NationalCongress (ANC) to advocate for the rights of the black SouthAfricans. He believedthat the ANC was the means to effect change in South Africa, therepository of black hopes and aspirations (Mandela p. 11). Hebecame the leader of the ANC Youth League and campaigned for moreradical ideas than those of the main organization.

Mandelastates that South Africa had suffered for a long time under theunjust racial laws and the condition worsened when the conservativeNational Party was brought to power in 1948. The party codified andincreased the racist laws in South Africa that led to theestablishment of the apartheid system. The apartheid laws weredeveloped for the purpose of separating various racial groups inSouth Africa. The apartheid law forbade interracial relationship theblack South Africans were required to carry with them a pass documentwhen leaving the homelands. The Indian South Africans and the Africanmixed race were forbidden from riding in buses used by whites,education institutions or even recreational areas (Mandelap. 11-13).

Mandelaexplains the way ANC and other organizations partnered to fightagainst apartheid. They established the Defiance Campaign in 1951 tobreak the apartheid laws and the discriminatory policies. TheDefiance Campaign succeeded in enhancing communication betweendifferent freedom organizations. In 1955, Mandela provided leadershipto the Congress of the People to advocate equality and freedom forall people in South Africa (Mandelap.13).

Theapartheid leaders collected evidence for many months against Mandelaand building a legal case against the leaders of the antiapartheidmovement. He was arrested in 1964 and sentenced to twenty-seven yearsof imprisonment on Robben Island by the apartheid leaders. He wascharged with treason, incitement to sabotage, and violent conspiracyagainst the apartheid regime. He was released in 1990 and in 1994 hewon elections with a landslide victory and became the first blackpresident of South Africa (Faris,et al. 192-208).


Thebook,“Long Walk to Freedom”is an autobiography that contains the chronicles of the life ofNelson Mandela. The book contains various historical and politicalevents that Mandela experienced such as apartheid and his developmentinto a freedom fighter and a revolution leader. The book alsoexplores the thoughts and feelings of Mandela and his contribution infighting against racism and apartheid. The book paints a clearpicture of the life history of Mandela and the apartheid regime thatenables readers to see and understand his true personality as afreedom fighter. Additionally, he outlines the struggles andhardships he underwent through such as imprisonment to bring freedomto South Africa, which indicates that it was indeed a long walk tofreedom. Mandela as well provides a detailed description of hisfamily background to provide readers with the understanding of hisdescent (Mandela p. 7-9).

Thebook describes Mandela’s sufferings he experienced during his ‘Walkto Freedom.’ He suffered from segregation, imprisonment, isolation,trials and was deprived of a dignified life. His fellow leaders whowere part of the freedom movement as well underwent similarsufferings. Mandela grew up experiencing the harsh measures that thecolonists imposed against native Africans in South Africa, and thismotivated him to become a freedom fighter. He describes his father’ssufferings caused by his insubordination to the colonist rule. Hisfather`s insubordination resulted in the loss of power and a lot ofsufferings to his family (Mandela p.3).

Thebook depicts Mandela as a dedicated, consistent, principled anduncompromising through his actions of struggling to obtain freedomfor the people in the country. He had a strong stand in matters offreedom in South Africa. Although he was imprisoned, Mandela stillremained committed to fighting for the freedom of the people in SouthAfrica. He never lost his dignity and faced all challenges withoutfear and accomplished his goals of liberating the country from theapartheid regime. Additionally, Mandela’s fight for freedom madehim a fugitive and a beggar with no family. Mandela prioritized onfighting for the people over his family. He did not spend much timewith his family because of his commitment to fight for freedom. Forinstance, he was not there when his mother died, his daughter grew upwithout him and was unable to attend his daughter’s wedding.Similarly, Mandela’s participation in defiance campaign portrayedhis committed to fight for freedom. The aim of the defiance campaignwas to change the repressive rule and form a democratic government(Mandela p.14-16).

Theeffects of racial discrimination that occurred in the 1960s from thehistorical and political events in South Africa provided significantlessons to the world. The Sharpeville massacre provided the worldwith awareness on the effects related to apartheid. For example, in1965, the UN passed a resolution to eradicate all forms of racialdiscrimination, which was supported by several governments (Mandela &ampBoatman 21-35). This demonstrated that the world was against theapartheid regime. The black people in South Africa had assembled inSharpeville to perform peaceful demonstrations to fight against thelaw that requires them to pass everywhere. The police opened fire onthe demonstrators killing and injuring protesters. With thecircumstance surrounding Mandela’s life described in the book, itindicates that Mandela deserved the recognition he got worldwide. Forinstance, despite spending 27 years in prison and being subjected tosufferings by the Whites, he still forgave the colonists and workedwith them. His actions promoted peaceful coexistence with the Whites(Mandela p.11).

Theautobiography explains on Mandela’s achievement in the history offighting for freedom. He participated in the ANC party, which foughtfor freedom and elected Mandela to the presidency. The partyadvocated for equal representation of every person in South Africa toeliminate discrimination. They used peaceful tactics to fight againstdiscriminatory laws, and this demonstrated that Mandela was a personof peace (Mandela p.14). Mandela’s autobiography also is describedas an emotive, compelling and inspiring story. This is because it ischaracterized by suffering, resilience, and eventual triumph. Thelanguage used was simple to enhance understanding of all readers, andthe story has been simplified to accommodate all readers tounderstand the historical and political events narrated by Mandela(Mandela &amp Boatman 21-35).


AbdulhameedFaris,Ali, and Shamala Paramasivam. &quotIdeologies in Mandela’s No EasyWalk to Freedom.&quot InternationalJournal of Applied Linguistics and English Literature5.5 (2016): 49-61.

Faris,Ali Abdulhameed, et al. &quotPersuasive strategies in Mandela’s NoEasy Walk to Freedom.&quot InternationalJournal of Applied Linguistics and English Literature5.1 (2016): 192-208.

Mandela,Nelson. &quotLong walk to freedom (London.&quot Abacus609 (1995). Accessed on 9thNov. 2016 fromhttps://zelalemkibret.files.wordpress.com/2012/01/the-autobiography-of-nelson-mandela.pdf

Mandela,Nelson, and Michael Boatman. Longwalk to freedom: The autobiography of Nelson Mandela.AudioGO, 2012, 21-35.