Mandela Long Walk to Freedom

Topics: Nelson Mandela, African National Congress, South Africa Pages: 5 (1832 words) Published: October 18, 2006
"Long Walk to Freedom" by Nelson Mandela – Book Review
"…calm, patient determination to reclaim this country as your own, and now the joy that we can loudly proclaim from the rooftops--Free at last! Free at last! ... This is a time to heal the old wounds and build a new South Africa." Nelson Mandela fought his entire life. Nelson Mandela fought a fight for civil rights in South Africa on the streets and behind the prison walls. Even after 27 years behind those walls Mandela maintained his dignity and rose to be the first Black President of South Africa.

Nelson Mandela's Autobiography "Long Walk to Freedom" was written up to the point Mandela won the first free election in South Africa in 1994. Before reading the summary that follows the reader should know that this is an autobiography, written by Mandela himself, so there will be bias, but by doing some external research on Mandela you would find that Mandela is not a person to hold a grudge against his oppressors.

In the Transki region along the Indian Ocean, July 18, 1918, Mandela was born to a Thembu chief and his third wife. Mandela was raised by his mother were they led a simple life, a self reliant tribe. Here they farmed and raised their own cattle. This was a black tribal community were Anglo-Saxons were looked as gods from another place; they were to be viewed with awe and fear. In this black community a black teacher gave him an easy to pronounce (and white) first name of Nelson. At the age of nine Nelson received the word his father died. So he left his mother village to be raised by the Thembu Council. This was the region center for all tribe leaders to meet and Nelson's first view of democracy. Nelson eventually attended an elite boarding school and Fort Hare University.

Nelson was an exceedingly popular and good student. He was involved in school boxing program and even won student office. Nelson's view for just causes is clear this early in his life by turning down the seat for student office because it was an unfair election. Because of turning down this offer he was expelled.

At the age of 21, Nelson returned home to find out he has been set up in an arranged marriage and he ran from home to Johannesburg. By 1941 black oppression was clear in South Africa. Segregation was clear to Mandela from: hospitals, schools, busses, trains, townships, and even jobs. Africans couldn't walk the street without being stopped and forced to show there "passport". These domestic passports said when and where an African could be. During this time Mandela met Walter Sisulu an African Businessman and head of the African conference. The African conference was a group petitioning the segregation in South Africa by boycott, letters and petitions. Walter Sisulu saw a potential leader for the cause in Mandela, even though Nelson was shy about speaking in public because he thought his English wasn't good. Mandela was hired to be a clerk in the law office and at night Mandela went to night school.

The end of World War II, blacks in South Africa were helping the war effort for freedom against oppression but had to deal with oppression at home. African's still had the "Yes, Master" attitude for the white minority. At this time Mandela formed and led the ANC Youth League. He was not shy anymore and a redefined ‘struggle' was on the horizon.

Apartheid laws were being passed that would solidify white power in South Africa forever. Mandela led a non-violence "defiance campaign" but it still was a shift from the old constitutional movements to defiant aggressive acts. By 1952, Mandela was under a banning order set by the government. Mandela could not attend meetings or even talk to more than one person at a time. Oliver Tambo and Mandela opened the first black only law firm. Nelson was a lawyer of confidence. But because of the racial strain, white witnesses would refuse to answer Mandela's questions. The country was making another turn for apartheid and started black...
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