Read Long Walk to Freedom: The Autobiography of Nelson Mandela by Nelson Mandela Online


Nelson Mandela is one of the great moral and political leaders of our time: an international hero whose lifelong dedication to the fight against racial oppression in South Africa won him the Nobel Peace Prize and the presidency of his country. Since his triumphant release in 1990 from more than a quarter-century of imprisonment, Mandela has been at the center of the most cNelson Mandela is one of the great moral and political leaders of our time: an international hero whose lifelong dedication to the fight against racial oppression in South Africa won him the Nobel Peace Prize and the presidency of his country. Since his triumphant release in 1990 from more than a quarter-century of imprisonment, Mandela has been at the center of the most compelling and inspiring political drama in the world. As president of the African National Congress and head of South Africa's anti-apartheid movement, he was instrumental in moving the nation toward multiracial government and majority rule. He is revered everywhere as a vital force in the fight for human rights and racial equality. The foster son of a Thembu chief, Mandela was raised in the traditional, tribal culture of his ancestors, but at an early age learned the modern, inescapable reality of what came to be called apartheid, one of the most powerful and effective systems of oppression ever conceived. In classically elegant and engrossing prose, he tells of his early years as an impoverished student and law clerk in Johannesburg, of his slow political awakening, and of his pivotal role in the rebirth of a stagnant ANC and the formation of its Youth League in the 1950s. He describes the struggle to reconcile his political activity with his devotion to his family, the anguished breakup of his first marriage, and the painful separations from his children. He brings vividly to life the escalating political warfare in the fifties between the ANC and the government, culminating in his dramatic escapades as an underground leader and the notorious Rivonia Trial of 1964, at which he was sentenced to life imprisonment. Herecounts the surprisingly eventful twenty-seven years in prison and the complex, delicate negotiations that led both to his freedom and to the beginning of the end of apartheid. Finally he provides the ultimate inside account....

Title : Long Walk to Freedom: The Autobiography of Nelson Mandela
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ISBN : 9780316323543
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 656 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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Long Walk to Freedom: The Autobiography of Nelson Mandela Reviews

  • Rowena
    2019-05-21 00:10

    “As I finally walked through those gates to enter a car on the other side, I felt- even at the age of seventy-one- that my life was beginning anew. My ten thousand days of imprisonment were over.” - Nelson Mandela, A Long Walk to Freedom2013, my year of reading biographies, started off with Dr. King’s and ended with reading Nelson Mandela’s. A perfect end to the year.Apartheid is something that hit very close to home to me, being a member of the same Bantu people that the racist Afrikaner government believed were on the same level as animals. Mandela has always been a hero in my family and I grew up hearing about his life and his struggles to gain freedom for black South Africans. I knew about Apartheid before I knew about the American civil rights movement. This autobiography is very comprehensive in scope, covering Mandela’s childhood, his adulthood, his transformation into a freedom fighter, and his time spent in jail, and finally his inauguration as South Africa’s first black president.The history of his African National Congress party was intriguing,and even more gripping were the stories of Mandela's days as the "Black Pimpernel" travelling all around Africa and Europe. This was not an easy read. Mandela made so many sacrifices, as did his wife and children. It really hurt reading about how he, his wife and children were treated, and how it took so long for the world to wake up and send proper help.“I was made, by the law, a criminal, not because of what I had done, but because of what I stood for, because of what I thought, because of my conscience.” A couple of things really stood out to me. The first was how colonized our thinking is. Black Africans have been told they are inferior and even now they often display that inferiority complex. The Afrikaners were fed the same lies and believed that blacks were inferior before witnessing for themselves that that wasn't true (Boer party propaganda). The second thing that stood out was how this book restored my faith in mankind at times. It was fascinating to read about the humanity that arose in the unlikeliest people. Mandela was humble and acknowledged all those involved in the freedom struggle. About his inauguration, he said, “I felt that day, as I have on so many other days, that I was simply the sum of all those African patriots who have gone before me. That long and noble line ended and now began again with me. I was pained that I was not able to thank them and that they were not able to see what their sacrifices had wrought.”After reading this book, my respect for Mandela grew even more. I loved his spirit; he refused to be broken, he refused to become bitter and he somehow kept his wit and his sense of humour. He was honest about what he learned, about his own prejudices and mistakes.The first time I visited South Africa was in 1995, a year after the democratic elections that officially ended Apartheid. The thought crossed my mind that a few years prior my family and I would not have been able to make that trip in such comfort and safety. Thank you, Madiba for making this happen.To quote my GR friend Leola, “I feel like the world could never be prepared enough to say goodbye to Nelson Mandela.”

  • Warwick
    2019-05-09 22:48

    At over 700 pages, Nelson Mandela's autobiography might look like a serious commitment. Actually though, it doesn't feel like a heavy book at all. Like the thinking which informs it, the writing is clear, measured and straightforward, albeit scattered with bits of Harvard English that are presumably down to Mandela's (uncredited) American ghostwriter, Richard Stengel.I sped through it in under a week, thanks mainly to a couple of long train journeys. I'm left with a much more nuanced view of Mandela and what he stood for, and a much clearer idea of the man behind the symbol.What I found particularly valuable were the insights into how deeply apartheid ingrained racism not just on to the white minority, but on to the attitudes and assumptions throughout the whole of South African society. Mandela at one point mentions being struck by the sight of a young beggar-girl by the side of the road in a township, and reacting completely differently because she was white:While I did not normally give to African beggars, I felt the urge to give this woman money. In that moment I realized the tricks that apartheid plays on one, for the everyday travails that afflict Africans are accepted as a matter of course, while my heart immediately went out to this bedraggled white woman. In South Africa, to be poor and black was normal, to be poor and white was a tragedy.A few years and several hundred pages later, he has the corollary experience while taking a clandestine flight in Ethiopia.As I was boarding the plane I saw that the pilot was black. I had never seen a black pilot before, and the instant I did I had to quell my panic. How could a black man fly a plane? But a moment later I caught myself: I had fallen into the apartheid mind-set, thinking Africans were inferior and that flying was a white man's job.If the leaders of the resistance movement can react like this – How could a black man fly a plane? – the reactions of less committed or thoughtful South Africans can readily be imagined, and you begin to get a sense of the sheer scale of the problem which faced the ANC and other activists. A problem which has not entirely gone away.These are the well-chosen memories of someone interested in their own thoughts and responses, and who had the time – so much of it – to examine his life and sift out the experiences that counted. Everywhere in the book, there is this sense of a man who has thought long and hard about the choices he made, and can explain them simply and directly.Not all of them are necessarily easy to sympathise with, or at least they perhaps shouldn't be. Let's be clear: Mandela is not Ghandi. We should remember (and he is admirably open about it) that Amnesty International always declined to work on Mandela's behalf because he refused to renounce violence as a valid tool in the fight against apartheid. He was the first head of the ANC's militant wing, the MK, and involved in paramilitary training; he drew up plans for action that ran from sabotage to guerrilla warfare. At one point, he describes his 1950s self as ‘a young man who attempted to make up for his ignorance with militancy’ – but actually, that militancy never goes away, it just becomes more grounded in political and moral justifications. Mandela's ethical sensibility is always there; but ethics are not paramount.For me, non-violence was not a moral principle but a strategy; there is no moral goodness in using an ineffective weapon.Effective weapons were considered to include explosives, as demonstrated for example in the Church Street bombing of 1983 which killed 19 people and wounded over 200, including many civilians. Mandela mentions it in passing, and has the following to say.The killing of civilians was a tragic accident, and I felt a profound horror at the death toll. But disturbed as I was by these casualties, I knew that such accidents were the inevitable consequence of the decision to embark on a military struggle. Human fallibility is always a part of war, and the price of it is always high. It was precisely because we knew that such incidents would occur that our decision to take up arms had been so grave and reluctant. But as Oliver said at the time of the bombing, the armed struggle was imposed upon us by the violence of the apartheid regime.We are on dangerous ground here. Can we put a number on how many civilian deaths are considered a reasonable price to pay for ending apartheid? At the same time, though, who on earth am I to question his decisions and moral code – I who have never experienced a fraction of the abuse and discrimination which was his daily life, and who am never likely to have to make the impossible choices that were so common under apartheid?All I can say is Mandela doesn't shy away from it. I may not always be comfortable about it, but I felt a deep respect for his willingness to stand behind his actions and explain them as best he can.Ultimately, Mandela was saved from being a truly ambiguous figure by the simple fact that he was arrested and imprisoned before he could be directly involved in any violence himself; for him, it's all theoretical, and, locked away behind bars, he could be viewed more simply as an innocent martyr to a just cause. And indeed, it's in his response to the years of incarceration that the greatness of Mandela's character comes through. Twenty-seven years in jail would be enough to make any man bitter; but he is the opposite of bitter. Time and again he shows himself willing to listen to and work with those who might easily be called his enemies – from dissenting black activists, through ambivalent prison warders, up to the president of South Africa.It's his astonishing ability to do without bitterness – essentially, his capacity for forgiveness – which really makes Mandela an inspiration. Perhaps it's my naïveté, but I can't help concluding that, when international pressure got too much for South Africa's government, it was Mandela's openness in negotiations which forged the breakthrough and not the MK's sporadic attempts to meet violence with violence. That's certainly what I'll take away from this excellent and fascinating memoir: that, and a delight in his unshakable belief that no matter how degrading the conditions, or how long the imprisonment, no one had the power to damage who he was on the inside:Prison and the authorities conspire to rob each man of his dignity. In and of itself, that assured that I would survive, for any man or institution that tries to rob me of my dignity will lose because I will not part with it at any price or under any pressure.

  • Matt
    2019-05-16 05:00

    As I continue the forty days of biography reading, I thought I ought to tackle some of the 'big players' in the world of politics. At a time when the world is still ill-balanced, I wanted to delve into the world of Nelson Mandela, one who sought to recalibrate a significant unbalance on the African continent over a number of decades. Having a great interest in South Africa, the backwardness of apartheid's acceptance by any governing body, and how the world handled the bloodshed under the racist regime there, I felt this would be a wonderful starting point. I have read much historical fiction about the country and the struggles, but it is high time we look to facts and figures. There will be those who oppose me reading this autobiography for propaganda reasons (and they have already reared their heads) and I welcome their sentiments, though the sub-set who are supremacists and bully views for the sake of racism belong in the weed-choked fields of knowledge from whence they came. And yes, they have come out to write to me as well!Born in 1918 with the birth name 'Rolihlahla', Xhosa for "pulling the branch of a tree', Mandela lived his early years in a small village far from the bustling cities of Cape Town or Johannesburg. Living in the traditional way of Africans, the village shared resources and means of survival, which might have fostered his views that found him in hot water decades later. Seeing much potential in their son, Mandela's parents allowed the Church to play a strong role in his upbringing and education, which led him to find a passion for the law. Mandela explains early on in this autobiography that his desire to advocate for others became a foundation of the way he lived his life. Eventually pulled into the larger city, Mandela worked in a law firm in Johannesburg, though failed to pass some of the essential academic examinations to earn an LLB. However, Mandela found a strong desire to help his fellow African with issues that arose and worked within the limits before him to ensure that all South Africans shared the same opportunities. South Africa was in the midst of a transformation, still part of the British Commonwealth but run primarily by the Afrikaner white minority, who ruled in an off-balance manner that sought to use the minority sentiments to shape the laws for all. With the exclusion of the black African (please allow me at this time to offer apologies for anyone who takes offence to the word 'black', for I am simply using the term Mandela presented throughout, which differentiates between the white minority and the unrepresented majority) population, Mandela began to meet with other like-minded men and sought to join the political movement of the African National Congress (ANC), whose long-standing support of black equality fit nicely with the views he espoused. Mandela used this passion to fuel his mantra as he sought to push back against the views of the South African Government. Mandela did find time to marry, choosing Evelyn Nkoto Mase, who bore him his first set of children. Mandela explores the life of an anti-colonist and the role the ANC played in his early life. By this time, the South African government brought in apartheid, an approach to racial divide the country and benefit the whites. Mandela would not stand for this and spoke out whenever he could to counter the racist governmental policies. The strains between Mandela and Evelyn led to a disintegration of that marriage and Mandela was forced to come to terms with it while he wrestled for black equality. Not long single, Mandela met and married Winnie Madikizela, sure they would be together after their first date. Things ramped up and Mandela was soon persona non grata in the country, hiding from the authorities in order to protect himself. Mandela tells of his secret trips to other parts of Africa to meet with other black leaders who were also trying to toss the shackles of oppression from their peoples. And yet, the world stood by and watched as the politics of South Africa became more troublesome. The ANC ramped up its views and Mandela became a strong figurehead, eventually brought to trial for High Treason after espousing views of wanting to overthrow the government. Mandela makes clear that there was no way to follow a peaceful solution against the Government, though he may have wanted to parallel Gandhi or Martin Luther King, Jr. However, targeted violence would not include the regular citizen and assassination was never promoted or condoned. Sentenced to life in prison after the judge chose not to impose the death penalty, Mandela began his twenty-seven years behind bars on Robben Island, an isolated prison facility. A resident of the Robben Island prison Mandela speaks frankly about his incarceration and the treatment he received. While the meals were poor and the sanitary conditions less than ideal, I expected severe beatings and horrendous treatment at the hands of guards and wardens to pepper the narrative. However, Mandela was seen as an advocate for his fellow prisoners and earned the respect of the white prison hierarchy, to the point that he was given special treatment when presenting concerns to the prison authorities. His imprisonment became a political soapbox and many people from all corners of the world came to see him and listen to his views, though nothing changed. While the outside world continued to speak out against apartheid and issued sanctions, politics within the country sought to strengthen the racially divisive movement under a number of leaders, culminating in P.W. Botha, perhaps its most ruthless Afrikaner leader. However, as Mandela presents in the latter portion of the narrative, Botha readily met with Mandela and heard his complaints. Mandela continued to espouse equality and fought against apartheid, though Botha gave only lip service to these concerns. As the world began to shift toward the end of the 1980s, South Africa's apartheid views seemed to dissipate when Botha stepped down and F.W. de Klerk became prime minister. Under de Klerk, Mandela's sentence came to an end and he was able to leave Robben Island, completing the long and sordid walk to freedom. Mandela is able to use the last dozen or so chapters to speak of this freedom and the changes that came to pass, though there was surely many hurdles to overcome and much reconciliation that needed to take place. Mandela advocated for free and open elections, even while de Klerk sought an outright veto over any legislation for the Afrikaners. Push came to shove and the racial divide led to more murders, increased resentment, and added pressure on Mandela and the ANC to prove that they could act within political means and not turn to guns. Mandela speaks frankly, though never stops pushing for talk over bullet to solve the issue. By the time the first open national election came to pass in 1994, Mandela was able to rise to the role of President of the South African Republic, the ultimate gift after decades of oppression. Some who saw that I was reading this jumped immediately onto Mandela's being a communist (as though that were a poisoned moniker) and a terrorist. Both of these sentiments are true in their textbook form, though the flavour in which they were presented makes them seem horrid and worthy of vilification. To those people, who prefer to talk of peaceful whites and raping blacks (I kid you not), I can only offer pity as they allow ignorance to ferment inside their minds. It also shows that they have no interest in engaging in an intellectual conversation on Mandela or the apartheid era in South Africa. Mandela's upbringing was very much one of social equality for all and his interest in Marxist views fuelled a passion to see equality for every man, woman, and child within South Africa, irregardless of the colour of their skin or background. His terrorist leanings were borne out of a need to bring about needed change. I neither condemn or condone these actions, but I do see some rationale, as Mandela spoke of wanting to emulate Gandhi's protest in India. However, while the British were a sensible people with a democratic political system that permitted all to vote, South Africa would never allow blacks to have a political voice, thereby keeping them from ever bringing about change in a parliamentary means. Mandela spoke of two Americans coming to see him in prison, pushing the idea of Martin Luther King's triumphs in America without ever needing to promote violence. Again, Mandela spoke of how the US Constitution entrenched equal rights within the document and King was only trying to promote these sentiments in the racist south. So, while he was a terrorist in the textbook sense, one might wonder if it was for a good cause. Of course, that will not quell the views of those who are cemented into a hatred that could include burning crosses or half-truths, but then again, some people's ignorance comes from indoctrination and a refusal to expand their knowledge. Mandela's crisp delivery is refreshing, especially as he speaks to frankly about these issues. I was drawn into the chapters and found myself begging for more information, even though I was already drowning in all the narrative had to offer. Mandela does not try to make himself look like a martyr or saint, but does not shy away from the evils he felt were developing around him. His love of self, family, and the larger South African state appears throughout. While this was an autobiography, it is balanced and can be called a realistic account, though I would be remiss if I took it as gospel. Mandela pulls no punches, while remaining above the fray and not getting himself stuck in the racial mud slinging that one might expect from someone who was oppressed for so long. He could have penned a powerful piece, highly critical of the government and scathing in its presentation, but by keeping things balanced and free from poisonous rhetoric, the reader is more likely to find pieces they support. The attentive reader will learn how Mandela devised early drafts of this piece and find themselves impressed with his ability to recollect so much. Far from succinct, but laid out perfectly to see the slow development of Mandela's struggles, the reader will surely appreciate the attention to detail and powerful arguments that pepper this piece from beginning to end. Kudos seem to be too small an honour to bestow upon you, Mr. Mandela. I thoroughly enjoyed this piece and while others may criticise me for even considering it, I am happy I took the time to learn about these struggles within South Africa.I would encourage anyone who knows of a good book that tells the opposite side of the argument to send me a recommendation. All I ask is that it is well-sourced and a grounded piece that does not spiral into hate speech. I am eager to see apartheid and the white struggle within South Africa, should it exist.Like/hate the review? An ever-growing collection of others appears at:

  • Luís C.
    2019-05-10 02:13

    A long way to freedom, courageously traveled by many men and women, to free themselves from the White oppressor, to regain human dignity, the pride of being Black. At first peaceful, they are forced to take up arms, to respond to the violence that faces them furiously. Neither the courts nor the prison can break this quest for equity, democracy and freedom.Then it will be non-vengeance to take the path of negotiations, to annihilate hatred by words of peace.A wonderful and moving testimony.A timeless and universal hope message that upsets us.« No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his past, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can also be taught to love, for love is born more naturally in the heart of man than its opposite.I am not really free if I deprive someone else of his freedom. The oppressed and the oppressor are both dispossessed of their humanity. »

  • Donna Davis
    2019-05-10 06:11

    If you are not a prolific reader, the size and weight of this volume may look daunting. After reading the first two or three chapters, you will be tempted to give up. DON'T!!! It's just about to get really good.This autobiography chronicles Mandela's life, first as the son of a tribal chief, then as an educated Black man under Apartheid--a dangerous thing to be--and then the journey, both outward and inward, from attorney to the leader of a revolution. You will read about his time on Riecher's Island, the notorious prison, and the various experiences he had in the courtroom and in captivity. He tells of the cunning ways those who were jailed for political reasons created to communicate and to an extent, continue to lead from inside prison. And he breaks up the horror with an occasional vignette of a surprisingly kindly jailor or other authority figure who does small, decent things when no one is looking.If you are interested in the history of South Africa and the defeat of Apartheid, this is a must-read. If you ever, as I did, had a "Free Nelson Mandela" poster in your living this, and celebrate.

  • Hadrian
    2019-05-06 23:10

    “I had no epiphany, no singular revelation, no moment of truth, but a steady accumulation of a thousand slights, a thousand indignities and a thousand unremembered moments produced in me an anger, a rebelliousness, a desire to fight the system that imprisoned my people. There was no particular day on which I said, Henceforth I will devote myself to the liberation of my people; instead, I simply found myself doing so, and could not do otherwise.”Nelson Mandela turned 95 last week. Twenty years previously, he had already become a symbol of hope, of peace, and the fight for justice in the world. The myths which develop around politicians are largely exaggerated, but Mandela is one of the rare exceptions where the praise is largely justified.I admit I knew very little about the man, or even his legend, so I went right to the source. This was a good decision. Mandela is honest about his motives and his life. He writes with detail and some pride in his work, but is also candid about his mistakes, his youthful misadventures, and his strained family life.The book starts with Mandela's youth, upbringing, and education. His stories about this life are fascinating, and his transition to a university life is not without trouble. For example, he talks about his embarrassment at using cutlery and wearing boots.The bulk of the middle section of the book is about his efforts for justice against the racist systems of South Africa. When the radical Nationalist Party took over, his party was forced underground, and thus he made the decision to begin sabotage and limited rebellion against the state. These sections are riveting, and Mandela has many stories about false names, and getaways from the police. Despite this decision to use violence, his human feelings were still evident. He felt pangs of guilt after killing birds as target practice.After his sudden arrest and sensational trial, the next long stretch of the book covers his imprisonment on Robbins Island and Pollsmoor Prison. Here, he continues the struggle by working with the other political prisoners, educating the guards, and trying to keep himself sane in the years between visits from his wife. He does not touch his wife's hand for over twenty years.The secret talks began in the mid-70s with the Botha government. The talks are polite, but they make little progress. With de Klerk, however, "here was a man we could do business with". Apartheid crumbles, and Mandela achieves personal freedom on his own terms, and thrusts himself back into political life. The book ends with his inauguration in 1994.So what will be remembered as the man's legacy? Frankly, there is a lot. The first is that apartheid was dismantled peacefully, and the underground ANC was transformed into a political party with minimal strain. Despite the white minority's fears that there would be armed rebellion and race war, South Africa has not fallen into that cycle. Mandela would be the first to admit that South Africa's fight is not finished, that there are still problems of crime, income inequality, and the looming threats of disease, but he is able to create a unifying democratic government which is capable of handling them. Now the majority the people can choose.The book is decently long for an autobiography, but it reads fairly quickly. Mandela's narrative voice quiet, reflective, and witty, but also bears the mark of an immense inner strength. He exhibits extraordinary patience and forgiveness, even of the Afrikaners and the prison guards. South Africa continues its long walk to freedom. His is but the first stride forward, and a model not only for a nation, not only for the African continent, but for the world."Time and again, I have seen men and women risk and give their lives for an idea. I have seen men stand up to attacks and torture without breaking, showing a strength and resiliency that defies the imagination. I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. I felt fear myself more times than I can remember, but I hid it behind a mask of boldness. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear."

  • Raya راية
    2019-05-03 05:11

    "لقد جرّدت نفسي طول حياتي للنضال من أجل الشعب الأفريقي، لقد كافحت ضد هيمنة البيض كما كافحت ضد هيمنة السود. لقد عشت تواقًا إلى مجتمع ديمقراطي حرّ، يعيش فيه الجميع في وئام ومساواة. إنّه هدف أرجو أن أعيش له وأن أحققه. وهو الهدف الذي سأموت من أجله إن لم يكن من ذلك بدّ."يأتون من بعيد ليحتلّوا أرض غيرهم ويسرقوا ثرواتها، ويجرّمون شعبها ويستعبدونه، ويعاملونه بقسوة ووحشية وعنصرية. ومن يقوم من تلك الشعوب بالمطالبة بأدنى حقوقهم، يزجّونهم في السجون! لكن لا بُدّ للقيد أن ينكسر ولا بُد لليل الظلام والظلم والعبودية أن ينجلي. وها هو نيسلون مانديلا ورفاقه يضربون أعظم الأمثلة في الوقوف في وجه التمييز العنصري ومحاربة كل أشكال الظلم والاستبداد. وسيسجّل التاريخ أسماء كل الأحرار الذين وقفوا في وجه المستعمرين الغاصبين العنصريين بأحرف من ذهب، وسيذهب أولئك الغاصبين إلى مزبلة التاريخ."لقد شعرت في تلك اللحظة التي عبرت فيها بوابة السجن أنني في الواحدة والسبعين من عمري أبدأ حياتي من جديد، وكانت تلك نهاية عشرة آلاف يوم في السجن"-لحظة خروج مانديلا من السجن، بعد 27 عامًا قضاها وراء القضبانتهرب مني كل الكلمات حين أريد التعبير عن سير الرجال العظام، ففيها من قوة الإيمان بالأهداف، وفيها من التأثير والمعاناة والطموح ما يفوق كل وصف. لروحك السلام بابا مانديلاولأرواح جميع العظام السلام....

  • ahmed abdelazim
    2019-04-23 02:48

    (إنني في قرارة نفسي إنسان متفائل, وإن كنت لا أدري إن كان ذلك في طبيعتي أم في طبعي, ومن علامات التفاؤل أن يحافظ المرء على رأسه مرفوعا نحو السماء, وأن تكون خطاه متجهة إلى الأمام, لقد مرت بي لحظات عديدة اهتزت خلالها ثقتي بالإنسانية, ولكنني لم ولن أستسلم لليأس فذلك هو السبيل إلى الإخفاق والموت المحقق). اعتقد ان قناعات هذا الرجل و ايمانه بفكرته كان مصدر قوته الحقيقى و لا يسعنى الا ان اقول كم انت عظيم يا مانديلا و قد صار كتابك هذا صديقى للابد

  • Missy
    2019-05-05 02:14

    First of all let me say that Nelson Mandela is an amazing man who has been through more trials than I could ever imagine, and he faced them with such class and strength. I am glad I know more about his history and his life as a "freedom fighter," and this book gave me greater appreciation for black South Africans. However, it was a long, long, long, long walk to freedom. I guess I like books that are written in story form, which shows some lack of intelligence on my part, unfortunately. It took me about 11 months to read this book, and I would have given up, except for the fact that it would make me crazy to start a book and not finish it (especially because I wanted to learn more about apartheid).

  • Cheryl
    2019-05-17 03:59

    Where does one start with this? The story of freedom fighter, head of state, and world leader, Nelson Mandela--a book that spans his childhood, years spent in prison, and subsequent election as president. I grew up constantly reminded that a man, this man, was seated somewhere in South Africa in a prison cell, fighting for freedom for an entire nation and group of people. The former president started this manuscript while in prison (sometime around 1974) and concocted a plan to have the original manuscript snuck out of prison (which ended up being a smart plan since prison guards confiscated what they thought was the original manuscript). The book is long and quite detailed (at times wordy), with extra care paid to conversations and political names and roles, travels Mandela had with political heads of state, the making of the political group The ANC, the start of the movement to denounce apartheid, and a detailed family tree in the beginning. It is a book you usually see written by a biographer (like this one written about Warren Buffet: The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life Instead, the former president wrote this one himself, taking careful pains to even talk about his childhood school and upbringing (another thing you normally see omitted from autobiographies, and sometimes biographies). Excerpts from this book could be studied in history and literature classes. It is a poignant read written in classic autobiography style, with a strong "voice," one that has serious life lessons and inspiration for anybody at any stage of life. The best way I can discuss this book is by talking about the highlights of each of its eleven parts:Part 1: This is about Mr. Mandela's childhood in the country. He talks about his family tree. His family came from the royal household of the Thembu tribe: his father was an adviser to kings, and a wealthy nobleman who lost his holdings when he was fired by a magistrate from England--even though he believed that he only answered to Thembu custom and not "by the laws of the king of England." The Mandela family chieftainship was then ended. His father died when he was young and his mother handed him over to a Xhosa chief named Jongubtaba, who had offered to be his guardian.Part 2: Mandela escapes the chief's house (along with the chief's biological son) when he learns that marriage, and a set lifestyle that included rules and no personal freedom, had been arranged for them ("My head told me it was the right of every man to plan his own future as he pleased and choose his role in life.") He escaped to Johannesburg, where he worked as a night watchman and later as a law clerk as he completed his law degree ("my performance as a law student was dismal"). Part 3: Nelson Mandela as a freedom fighter. This section goes into details about the startup of the ANC, dispelling some myths. He also talks about his first wife, Evelyn Mase. The most profound and telling statement from this section (and arguably, the book) is this one: "I had no epiphany, no singular revelation, no moment of truth, but a steady accumulation of a thousand slights, a thousand indignities, a thousand unremembered moments, produced in me an anger, a rebelliousness, a desire to fight the system that imprisoned my people. There was no particular day on which I said, From henceforth I will devote myself to the liberation of my people; instead, I simply found myself doing so, and could not do otherwise. "Part 4: This section details the beginning of the struggle. During this time, President Mandela opened his law firm. He talks about being harrassed in court by judges and attorneys, about being served an order from the police that would legally ban him from the ANC at age thirty-five. Part 5: Mandela discusses his first divorce and his second marriage, as well as prison life. This is where the female contribution to the apartheid struggle is introduced: "...when the women begin to take an active part in the struggle, no power on earth can stop us from achieving freedom in our lifetime." I enjoyed seeing the admiration he had for his second wife, Winnie Madikizela, pour through in this section. Part 6: The part that stood out for me in this section: his travels to West Africa where the anti-apartheid movement received financial and moral support from West African heads of state in Liberia, Mali, Guinea, Ghana, Sierra Leone, etc. This is also the section where he discusses the violence that had increased in African townships and the decision the ANC made to add guerrilla fighters to the resistance (MK). Part 7: After living underground for seventeen months, President Mandela was arrested for "inciting African workers to strike and for leaving the country without valid travel documents" (1962). At first he was given five years. Later, someone from his organization (the guerrilla MK) would become a snitch for the police and a few executives from the organization, including Mandela, would be jailed for years. Part 8: This was a heart-wrenching section. He talks about the dark years on Robben Island: "I could walk the length of my cell in three paces. When I lay down, I could feel the wall with my feet and my head grazed the concrete at the other side....I was forty-six years old, a political prisoner with a life sentence." He was entitled to have only one visitor and receive one letter within a six month timeframe. During this time, his wife was being harassed, jailed, interrogated, held in solitary confinement, and he wondered, "What were the authorities doing to my wife? How would she bear up? Who was looking after our daughters? Who would pay the bills?"Part 9: Mr. Mandela's role as an underground leader was finally visible to the public. Keep in mind, when he was first jailed, people had no idea how he looked like because pictures were banned and the prisoners even had to steal newspapers which were considered contraband. Negotiations had started and this is also when he started to write this book, "I adopted a rather unorthodox work schedule: I would write most of the night and sleep during the day." He also mentioned a student boycott in this section that was mentioned in Kaffir Boy: The True Story of a Black Youth's Coming of Age in Apartheid South AfricaPart 10: Serious negotiations with the government and the incoming president, De Klerk. This section showcased one of Mr. Mandela's strengths: inclusiveness. He even stated that he wasn't in favor of having his white brothers leave, he just wanted his black brothers to have rights to their country. Pivotal moment I think, especially if you've read a lot of books on post colonialism. Part 11: Freedom, separation from his wife, details of diplomatic meetings. This section is an invigorating read as President Mandela describes the crowds upon his release, his meetings with old friends, etc. One great moment was his reminder of seeing Mrs. King seated on the stage when he gave his first speech after being released: "Mrs. Coretta Scott King, the wife of the great freedom fighter Martin Luther King Jr.. was on the podium that night, and I looked over to her as I made my reference to her husband's immortal words..." Breathtaking moment. It made me want to re-read a few of the biographies I've read on Dr. King. "I was not born with a hunger to be free. I was born free." -Nelson Mandela

  • ZaRi
    2019-05-12 03:14

    برای من لحظه مشخصی برای کشف حقیقت نبوده و هیچ چیز بخصوصی ناگهان الهام بخش من نشده، بلکه فقط مجموعه ای منظم از هزاران مورد بی حرمتی، هزاران مورد خرد شدن شخصیت و هزاران مورد لحظه از یاد رفته مرا به خشم می آورد، شورشی می کرد و این خواسته را در من تقویت می کرد که با سیستمی که مردم مرا اسیر خود کرده مبارزه کنم.هیچ روز بخصوصی وجود نداشته که در آن روز گفته باشم از امروز به بعد زندگی خود را وقف آزادی مردم می کنم، بلکه فقط پی بردم که در حال مبارزه هستم و جز این نمی توانم کار دیگری انجام دهم...!

  • NG
    2019-04-24 23:15

    من أحلى كتب السير الذاتية التي قرأتها، وأكثرها صلة بنضالنا في العالم العربي من أجل الحرية والديمقراطية. تبدأ مع طفولة المتناضل الأفريقي الأشهر نيلسون مانديلا، وتنتهي بتوليه الرئاسة في بلده، لكن نهاية الكتاب هي في الحقيقية بداية، فهي وعد باستكمال طريق النضال الطويل نحو الحرية..لن أتحدث طويلا عن الكتاب، لكني سأنقل بعض العبارات والمقاطع منه التي أراها الاهم، أو الأشد صلة بواقعنا العربي، أو -وهو الأغلب- المقاطع التي تحمل افكارا استغربت أن تصدر عن مناضل مثله، وعلى سبيل المثال خلافه مع بعض من قادة "المؤتمر" على فكرة المقاومة المسلحة والعنف.. وفي ذلك يقول مناديلا عن فترة بداية مقاومة الأبارتايد في جوب افريقيا:"الحكومة والشرطة كانت قد اتخذت التدابية لمنع اي اجتماع سلمي وتجريمه، وكانت الامور تسير تجاه حكم بوليسي. وبدأت أرى أن الاحتجاجات القانونية ستصبح مستحيلة في الوقت القريب فإن المقاومة السلمية تكون فعالة إذا تمسك من تقاومهم بنفس القوانين التي تتمسك بها أنت وإلا فلا فاعلية لها. وبالنسبة لي كان عدم العنف استراتيجية فقط ولم يكن مبدأً أخلاقيا. فلا يوجد خيار أخلاقي في استعمال سلاح غير فعال."وفي موقف آخر يقول:"لا نستطيع هزيمة الحكومة عسكرياً، ولكن بوسعنا جعل حكمها صعبا."وهي فكرة شجاعة من مانديلا، ولها منطق وجيه، لكنها مخيفة، وحتما كانت السبب وراء العديد من أحداث العنف الدموية التي يسردها الكتاب فيما بعد، وإن كان البادئ في تلك الحالات كان غالبا سلطات الدولة القمعية.لكني اتساءل.. ماذا لو كان مانديلا قد تعامل مع قضيته بسلمية غاندي، هل كانت ستجدي؟ هل كان المصير سيختلف؟ومع ذلك فإن اللجوء إلى العنف كان الحل الأخير الذي اضطر إليه المؤتمر، بعد محاولات مستمرة لحل القضية سلميا فشلت جميعها لتعنت السلطة في التعامل مع السكان الأصليين والمنظمات التي تمثلهم.على أن سنوات السجن التي تقارب الثلاثين قد صقلت فكر مانديلا، وقد تطورت آرائه بشكل كبير، إذ اكتشف لاحقاً انه أحياناً ما تكون المفاوضات هي الحل للخروج من المشكلة، بدلا عن صراح طويل الأجل يستنفذ الطاقات بلا جدوى حقيقية.. وكان هذه الفكرة من المفاجآت بالنسبة لي في هذا الكتاب.. فلم اتصور مناديلا كمفواض، بل كمناضل، ولم أكن أعرف أنه شارك في مفاوضات طويل الأمد إلى خذا الحد..على أن مانديلا ظل رافضاً لوقف العنف ضد السلطة، طالما اقتنع ان السطلة لن تنفذ تعهداتها.. وكان مصرا على أن يرتبط وقف العنف بتنفيذ خطوات جدية من جانب السلطة.. حيث لم يكن تطور فكر مانديلا وقبوله بالمفاوضات بديلا عن النضال على الأرض، لاسيما عند النظر إلى هذا النضال، ليس كطريقة للحل، بل كورقة من أوراق المفاوضة.وفي ذلك يقول:"كنت أود إفهام الحكومة أنه رغم رفضي العرض فإني اعتقد أن المفاوضات وليست الحرب هي السبيل للحل."كما يؤكد مانديلا على أن الأولوية للحلول السلمية، فحتى العنف لم يلجأ إليه إلا كحل أخير: "الشروط التي تريد الحكومة فرضها تسبب لي الدهشة، لأننا لم نسلك طريق العنف إلا بعد أن سدت أمامنا جميع .طرق المقاومة"ولنتأمل هذا الرأي الذي يقوله مانديلا هنا (وكان ذلك في مناسبة انضمام اشخاص جدد للمؤتمر، مع ملاحظة ان مانديلا لم يكن قد تعرض للسجن بعد): "وكان عديد ممن انضموا للمنظمة الجديدة قد فعلوا ذلك لأسباب شخصية منها الغيرة والرغبة في الانتقام. وكان اعتقادي دائماً أن على المقاتل من أجل الحرية أن يكبت كثيرا من المشاعر الشخصية التي تجعل منه فرداً مستقلاً بدلاُ من جزء من حركة جماهيرية، واعتقدات أن كثير من تلك الآراء والتصرفات غير ناضجة. ورغم تعاطفي مع آراء الأفارقة والقوميين فقد كنت اعتقد أن النضال من اجل الحرية يتطلب من الإنسان القبول بآراء وسيطة وتقبل نظم قاومها حينما كان أحدث سنا." "ليس هناك أي تعارض لتأييدي الكفاح المسلح وتمسكي بالمفاوضات، فالكفاح المسلح هو الذي أتى بالحكومة إلى حافة المفاوضات."أي أن مانديلا يربط بين الاثنين، ولا يرى الكفاح المسلح غاية، بل وسيلة للوصول إلى المفاوضات، فالمفاوضات بالنسبة له هي الأساس.وعن رأيه في أساليب المقاومة داخل السجن: "وكنت أرى أن مجرد الاضراب عن الطعام داخل السجن أمر غير واقعين فلكي يكون فعالاً يجب أن يعلم به العالم الخارجي، وكانت الاتصالات شبه مستحيلة في تلك السنوات. وبالنسبة لي كان الاضراب عن الطعام أمراً سلبياً يضر بصحة أجسادنا الضعيفة، واستدعاء للموت. وكنت دائماً أفضل أنواع المقاومة الأكثر ايجابية ونضالاً كالاضراب عن العمل والتباطؤ ورفض أعمال النظافة وتلك أعمال تضر بالسلطات ولا نعاقب بها انفسنا. ..."ثم يعود مانديلا للتأكيد على نقطة هامة في النضال ضمن مجموعة.. إذ رغم اختلاف أعضاء المؤتمر على العديد من الأفكار إلا أن القرار ما إن اتخذ حتى يلتزم به الجميع. "... ولكن اقتراحاتي لم تلق تأييدا، وكان متى اتخذ القرار اؤيده تماما."ثم يخرج مانديلا منتصراً من السجن، وتبدأ مفاوضاته مع الحكومة، وتظهر مشكلة جديدة.."كانت هناك المشاكل الفلسفية أيضاً، فإنه بالإمكان توحيد الحركة أثناءالحرب مع العدو المشترك، لكن إيجاد سياسة على مائدة المفاوضات أمر مختلف، فإنه كان علينا أن ندمج مجموعات عديدة في المؤتمر وأيضاٌ آراء مختلفة."مما يذكرني بمرحلة ما بعد الثورة التي تمر بها دول الربيع العربي أو أي دولة تخرج من حالة حراك جماهيري كبير على الأرض ضد عدو مشترك.وقد توصل مانديلا إلى حل تلك المشكلة جزئياً من خلال مؤتمرات جماهيرية واسعة، لكن لم تكن تلك نهاية المشكلات.. فقد نكثت الحكومة بوعدها في مرحلة ما، وتسببت في مذبحة كبيرة، وقام مانديلا يخطب في الجماهير فلاحظ ما يلي: "كانت اللافتات التي حملها المتجمهرون تنادي باستعمال السلاح والتخلي عن المحادثات، وتفهمت عواطف الجماهير التي كانت تريد إسقاط الأبارتايد وكانت قد سئمت المفاوضات، وكان العمل الجامهيري في تلك اللحظة طريقاً وسطاً بين المفواضات والكفاح المسلح."ويقصد بالعمل الجماهيري هنا حركة واسعة من المظاهرات والاضرابات التي نظمها المؤتمر في البلاد.ومن المثير للاهتمام حقاً ان مانديلا أجرى عدد من الاجتماعات مع مسؤولي الحكومة بشكل سري، ولم يكن ذلك خداعا للجماهير، ولكن لإعطاء الفرصة للحكومة للتفاوض دون ضغوط الرأي العام للبيض الذين كانوا يرفضون التفاوض مع الأفارقة.. فمانديلا كان مفاوضا بارعا، فضل مساعدة الخصم من أجل الوصول إلى تسوية مقبولة من كافة الأطراف على أن يضغط على الحكومة من اجل الدخول في مفاوضات علنية تتوقف بعد قليل تحت ضغط الرأي العام، فتصل البلاد بذلك إلى طريق مسدود..ومن اللافت للنظر كذلك الطريقة التي تعامل بها المؤتمر مع الجماهير في فترة الانتخابات، التي دخلها المؤتمر لأول مرة كمنظمة شرعية.. إذ نظم المؤتمر مؤتمرات جماهيرية واسعة لتوعية الجماهير "مؤتمرات الشعب"، وصاغ برنامجه بشكل مفصل ليشرح رؤيته، لافتاً النظر إلى أنه لا يريد للمؤتمر أن يكسب تعاطف الجماهير وأصواتهم عبر تذكيرهم بما قدمه لهم في فترة النضال، ولكن عبر طرح رؤيته للمستقبل، فالنضال لا يجب في رأي مانديلا أن يكون الإنجاز الوحيد الذي على اساسه يكسب المؤتمر أصوات الجماهير ويصل إلى البرلمان.كما يلفت مانديلا الأنظار إلى أمر آخر:"وشعرت أيضاً أننا يجب أن نخبر الشعب بما لن نستطيع عمله. فقد كان الجميع يشعرون أن الحياة يمكن أن تتغير في أعقاب انتخابات ديمقراطية حرة. ولذلك كنت أخبر الجماهير أنهم يجب ألا يتوقعوا أن يتملكوا سيارة مرسيدس ويكون لديهم حوض سباحتهم الخاص بعد الانتخابات، فكنت أقول لهم انه لن يكون هناك تغيير مفاجئ سوى احترامهم لأنفسهم كمواطنين في أرضهم وأنهم قد ينتظرون خمس سنوات لتؤتي الخطة ثمارها، كما كنت أقول لهم إن عليهم أن يعملوا بجد إن أرادوا حياة أفضل " فلن نفعل ذلك لكم ولكنكم أنتم الذين ستحققونه بأنفسكم"."وفي الخاتمة المؤثرة التي كتبها مانديلا منهياً بها قصة صراع طويل، يقول: "لم أفقد الأمل أبداً أن التغيير لابد آت، ليس فقط بسبب هؤلاء الأبطال، لكن بسبب شجاعة النساء والرجال العاديين من شعبي، فلا يوجد أحد يكره شخصاً بسبب لونه او خلفيته أو دينه، فإن الناس لابد أن يتعلموا أن يكرهوا، وإن كانوا قادرين على تعلم الكراهية فلابد وأنهم قادرون على تعلم الحب. ففي أحلك أوقات السجن حينما كنت ورفاقي نساق إلى حافة القدرة على الاحتمال كنت أرى وميضاً من الإنسانية في أحد الحراس، ربما لمدة ثانية، لكن كان ذلك الوميض يطمئنني."الحق أن قصة كفاح جنوب أفريقيا، ومانديلا تحديدا، من أروع قصص الكفاح، تكاد تكون أسطورية، وأرى فيها الكثير من ملامح الربيع العربي، وإن كان الفارق الأساسي (بخلاف أن ما يجري في العالم العربي ثورات وانتفاضات وليس مجرد صراع من أجل الحقوق المدنية) أن مانديلا لم يفكر في الانتقام من نظام سابق، بل وسعى للتأكيد في كل مناسبة، وفي كل موضع من هذا الكتاب على أنه لا يرغب في طرد البيض من البلاد ولا في الانتقام منهم، بل في أن يكونوا شركاء للأفارقة في الوطن (وربما يعود هذا لمسألة الفرق بين الثورة والكفاح من اجل الحقوق المدنية كما أسلفت).. ويتجلى الفارق الثاني في أن كفاح جنوب أفريقيا كان منظم من قبل عدد من المنظمات، ولم يكن حركة جماهيرية غير منظمة، مما أعطى الأفارقة القدرة على ترتيب أنفسهم بشكل أفضل، وجعل من الممكن التفكير بشكل عملي وفي حلول المشكلات بشكل أكثر حكمة في المواقف التي تحتاج إلى تعامل دقيق.الخلاصة: أنصح كل عربي بقراءة هذا الكتاب، فما احوجنا الآن إلى استخلاص العبر من تجارب من سبقونا، لا سيما لو كانت متشابهة في كثير من جوانبها مع ظروفنا.

  • Alex
    2019-05-18 01:17

    Long Walk to Freedom is the first book I've read by the leader of a country containing instructions on how to overthrow a country.Mandela is serious about this. He mentions that when his African National Congress decided to commit to violence, they read "works by and about Che Guevara, Mao Tse-tung, Fidel Castro" to figure out how to do it. The phrase "A freedom fighter must..." recurs. He means this to be read by freedom fighters. This book is many things, but maybe the most important thing is a manual for revolution.It's also a defense of Mandela's legacy, and that part is interesting too. Mandela won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993, which seemed odd to everyone since he has not advocated peace. "I called for nonviolent protest for as long as it was effective," he says. When it was ineffective, "I was candid and explained why I believed we had no choice but to turn to violence." He lays out the "four types of violent activities," which should be undertaken in order: "sabotage, guerrilla warfare, terrorism, and open revolution." The ANC never moved beyond sabotage, but he says clearly: "we were prepared to move on to the next stage: guerrilla warfare and terrorism." So maybe I shouldn't say defense. It's a clarification.This sets us up for the most dramatic scene in the book, and one of the most dramatic in history: the Rivonia Trial in 1964, in which Mandela and several others were sentenced to life in prison for sabotage. This was a victory: death was on the table. Mandela chose not to defend himself; instead he delivered a statement about which his lawyers said, "If Mandela reads this in court they will take him out in back of the courthouse and string him up." Here's part of his statement:I planned sabotage. I did not plan it in a spirit of recklessness nor because I have any love of violence, I planned it as a result of a calm and sober assessment of the political situation after many years of tyranny, exploitation, and oppression of my people by whites.During my lifetime I have dedicated myself to this struggle of the African people. I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.You can actually hear part of this speech here - skip to 2:10 if you're in a hurry. It's an incredible thing to listen to. I grew up while Mandela was in prison, and apartheid in South Africa was the first injustice I was aware of. My first experience with activism, in Amherst MA with the mighty activist Frances Crow, was running around town putting up posters with Mandela's face on them. Mandela screwed up my hair: in high school my mom wouldn't let me grow it long until I claimed that I wasn't cutting it until Mandela was freed, which she felt she couldn't argue with. They freed him like six months later and I was like aw, man. It seemed like a foolproof plan! I got to see him speak shortly afterwards in Boston on his freedom tour, but I didn't have a chance to tell him about my hair.This is all to say that reading this book was a powerful experience for me. Mandela is one of history's true heroes of freedom. To be able to read his words is special and of immense value. I got actual chills at times, reading about how (for example) he refused to be freed if it meant compromising his movement. He was in jail for nearly 30 years. This isn't one of those books that makes you realize that the writer is just a person like you and me. Mandela was not like you and me. He was a titan.

  • Caroline
    2019-04-30 21:51

    What to say about one of the world’s most highly esteemed books? I am wholly inadequate to give a review of the book as such, but here, as usual, are a few notes to remind myself of the reading... (view spoiler)[MANDELA* M comes across as a person of deep determination, stubbornness, integrity and drive. Not a man to deviate from the path he has chosen, and throughout his life he seems wholly driven to do what he must do, whatever the odds against him.* He spent a total of 27 years in jail as a political prisoner. Interestingly he was every bit as much a political animal in prison as he was when a free man. He would argue for the right to eat decent food, or wear long trousers, or for the rights of his fellow inmates – just as he would argue for the rights of his fellow men and women within the broader scope of Africa. He has always has an innate sense of justice, wherever he is.* He seems incredibly generous towards people, and throughout this long book there was not one instance of him harbouring a grudge. Always, in every situation, he strives for justice, rationality and peacemaking. Not peacemaking at all costs (it was his idea to implement a militant arm of the ANC), but peacemaking wherever possible. He continued his behind-the-scenes talks with President de Klerk in the early 1990s when most people would simply have walked away in frustration. He continued talking and liaising with the Pan Africanist Congress (PAC) movement in South Africa, in spite of the degree to which they tried to undermine the efforts of the ANC. Always, Mandela was trying to establish ties, rather than cause rifts. He is also generous when talking about his two ex wives, being supportive of Winnie in spite of the publicity against her. In all his relationships with people he seems to have strived to keep channels of communication open, and relations civil. Given my very human propensity for pettiness, I could hardly believe the magnanimity of M’s spirit. But there it is - page after page testifying a commitment to openness and communication.THE ANC * The ANC was founded in 1912. M joined in 1944. For the most part it was an organisation of peaceful protest, but in the early 1960s M called for militant opposition. This was mostly to take the form of sabotage. It was decided that this would be carried out under separate umbrella – a militant arm of the ANC. This was called Umkhonto we Siziue (The Spear of the Nation), or “MK” for short.*M and the ANC were outstanding in their support of racial inclusiveness. They felt that the fight for black people’s freedom could be fought by black people, coloureds, Indians and whites, and they sought racial harmony, alongside seeking justice. White South Africans are incredibly lucky that it was the ANC that came to be the party of power, and that the proposed way forward was one of peaceful reconciliation.* The ANC were not always supported by other black independence groups in South Africa. PAC objected to their liberal view/inclusiveness towards different racial groups. The Inkatha Freedom Party also objected to them, though I have not really been able to fathom out why. It was a very nasty divide though, with the IFP being very aggressive, and there were many attacks and killings in ANC strongholds done by the IFP, especially when talks between M and President de Klerk became serious. Investigations found that the IFP had been given finances by the police, and other bodies that were against the breakdown of apartheid.POLITICS AND LAW IN SOUTH AFRICA* I always thought that the treatment of Africans, before the arrival of The Nationalist Party (the Afrikaans’ party) - in 1948 - was pretty decent. But this is some of the legislation that was introduced under the auspices of earlier, British-friendly governments.- 1926 The Colour Bar Act: This banned Africans from practising skilled trades.- 1927 The Native Administration Act:This made the British Crown, rather than the Paramount Chiefs, the supreme chief over all African areas.- 1936 The Representation of Natives Act:This removed Africans from the common voters’ roll in the Cape.So – the rot was setting in well before The Nationalist Party came to power. But things went from bad to worse under The Nationalist Party. Here is some of the legislation that they introduced.1949 The Prohibition of Mixed Marriages Act1949 The Immorality Act:This made sexual relations between whites and non-whites illegal.1950 The Population and Registration Act:This labelled all South Africans by race.1950 The Group Areas Act.This required separate urban areas for each racial group.1950 The Suppression of Communism Act:This outlawed the Communist Party in South Africa.1959 The introduction of the Bantustan System by Dr. Verwoerd.Separate ethnic enclaves or homelands were created for all African citizens. Three million whites would have 87% of the land. Eight million Africans would have 13% of the land.1963 The Ninety-Day Detention Law:- This waived the right of habeas corpus- Any police officer could detain any person – without a warrant – on grounds of suspicion of a political crime- Those arrested could be detained without trial, charge, access to a lawyer, or protection against self-incrimination – for up to 90 days.- And the 90-day detention could be extended, as John Vorster (Deputy Minister) said “until this side of eternity”, i.e., when a sentence had expired, the prisoner could just be re-detained without charge, rather than being released.There were various everyday crimes that faced Africans. In 1952 M opened a law practice with Oliver Tambo, and on a daily basis they were defending people against these charges. At this time theirs was the only black law practice in the country.Typical crimes specific to Africans.- To use facilities designated for “Whites only”, eg a doorway, a bus, a drinking fountain, a beach.- To be on the streets after 11pm.- To be found without a pass book.- To have the wrong signature in your pass book.- To be unemployed, and in the wrong place.- To have no place to live. (hide spoiler)]~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~This book is a must read for anyone remotely interested in South Africa. At 750 pages it is a bit of a door stopper – but it is infinitely readable. Mandela writes wonderfully well, and his story is utterly gripping. It was a bittersweet read for me at this time, as he draws to the end of his life. He has been a monument on our landscape for so long, and such a great hero in the eyes of so many. Me included.

  • Amanda Brinkmann
    2019-04-25 00:00

    I tried reading this book SO many times right after it was published - but found myself so upset and saddened, that I realised I was simply not emotionally ready to deal with the contents. So - it sat on my shelf for nearly 10 years, before I felt ready and healed enough to pick the book up again.It was, for me, a riveting read. I sobbed my way through a great many of the sections, I learned so much about the history of my country and the genesis of the African National Congress and its original noble and lofty ideals. The wisdom, strength, fortitude and humanity of Nelson Mandela - our Madiba - radiated from every page. I felt very enriched after closing the last page of the book. I also felt an immense sense of bereftment, anger [ because of the realisation about just how MUCH had in fact been censored and kept away from me, whilst growing up, by the Apartheid government] and also sadness. It took me months to process all of the information, but it certainly provided me with another layer of knowledge and perspective so as to better understand the psyche of the people of our Rainbow Nation. A must-read.

  • Joey
    2019-05-09 01:06

    I learned Nelson Mandela’s life from my high school history because of the word, apartheid. (Thanks to Mahatma Gandhi; he introduced him to us on his cause of Caste System in India.) However, I just scratched the surface of him t as my teacher did not tell much details about him as if he was not attached much importance to the subject. ( If I were my teacher, I would have told much more about him.) In fact, I mistook him for a Black-American. Uh-oh! I was still an ignoramus at that time despite the fact that I was enthused about studying history. Few years later, he drew my attention when he was in the news ; he was reported to have passed away. The world was so grieved by his death that he was almost the headlines of all the newspapers and news programs. Only that time did I realize that he was such a big name in the world. As usual, I desired to know him more by reading his life. However, I did not afford to buy his book then. Eventually, my generous-to-fault student gifted me this book. Of course, I grinned from ear to ear with joy. Full of enthusiasm, I started to read it. However, it took me time to finish it and ended up on my study table for a few months. The book is light because of Mandela’s prose but steeped in geographical places and anthropological and political terminologies only South African can almost relate to. Nevertheless, I liked it on account of Mandela’s ideologies, experiences, and speeches he delivered before his people.I enjoyed reading Mandela’s autobiography because of his light English prose as the indication that he had studied well- typical of a smart student studying in English speaking countries. For your information, South Africa has many official languages, and English is one of them. Thus, not the majority of its population uses the language every day. Another impressive thing about writing his autobiography is his capability to incorporate his various feelings, be they in positive or negative, into his compelling narrations. Sometimes, other autobiographers write with highfalutin, highbrow, and high-flown stories or with unfathomably philosophical insights beyond my understanding (, but still I try to bend my mind to them until I bash my head against the wall ending up into a library of books or surfing the internet. Ones of best examples so far are Thomas Merton’s The Seven Storey Mountain and Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Selected Writings and Poems.) Therefore, reading Mandela’s autobiography can be likened to a teen-ager’s diary. Everyone can take a fancy for his diary unless you are that a political animal. On the contrary, his usage of some political, geographical, and anthropological terms which I am not very much familiar with undermine the said like-a-teen-ager’s-diary element. You might get tired of them , saturated with the words you need to absorb in and turn over in your mind. In fact, it has 859 pages, the thickest book I have read this year. Thus, you have no choice but to turn to Google or to a library of history books if you are a Luddite in order to understand them by heart. That’s why I did not lay a finger on it for a few months. In the end, Mandela’s autobiography, in my hypothetical suggestion, could still be a critically acclaimed book for its two kinds ,A LONG WALK TO FREEDOM: NELSON MANDELA'S AUTOBIOGRAPHY: AN ABRIDGED VERSION- expunged some technical words and A LONG WALK TO FREEDOM: NELSON MANDELA'S AUTOBIOGRAPHY: UNABRIDGED VERSION, same with this original version. Reading his speeches is also page-turning. There’s something about his speeches – they were like causing mass hysteria among South Africans at that time. I tend to read his narrations as fast as I could in order to imaginatively listen to them . As a matter of fact, I tended to search his speeches on Youtube wondering how he delivered them. I would say that Nelson Mandela, along with Malcolm X , has most moving speeches I have read so far.Mandela’s autobiography reminded me of Malcolm X, another Black -American revolutionary who had somewhat the same cause—racial equality. Malcolm X , based on his best-selling authorized biography, also believed that Black-Americans should be equal to White Americans . He demonstrated against the culture of discrimination against his fellow Blacks. The only differences between their causes were: specifically, Mandela fought against the Apartheid whereas Malcolm X against general forms of discrimination. Still, both of their causes categorically fall to racial equality. Besides, there is one surprising thing that made me jump to my conclusion: Nelson Mandela’s last resort was using violence when he came to the point that diplomatic negotiation did not work at all. In fact, he had been influenced by the idea of both Martin Luther King Jr. and Mahatma Gandhi on civil disobedience. After all , he succumbed to Malcolm X’ slogan , “ BY ANY NECESSARY MEANS.”, which I surmised he had disliked ;rather, admired Martin Luther King’s , “ I HAVE A DREAM.”I guess I can also conclude as well as you agree that , sometimes , in any circumstances even in history, Malcom X’s slogan worked and is feasible as long as this is the last resort as was Mandela’s. On the contrary, in the end, Mandela had proved that “virtue of patience” in the name of peaceful, friendly, and sincere ,as he put it, negotiation can work. Likewise, Mandela was weaned on communism or Marxism - the political idea that also influenced Malcolm X and Richard Wright, famous for his books, The Native Son and Black Boy. Did this idea also occur to some revolutionaries in a place with insurgent atmosphere because of social injustice? So does to some at the present situation? Before I finished it, Aristotle had taught me his The Republic, a philosophy book that also deals with the real meaning of JUSTICE. ( I haven’t written my review of it yet.) It has the dialogues among the Philosophers debating over the scopes of justice. As a student of his , discombobulated, mulling over his students’ philosophical explanation, upon reading Mandela’s autobiography, it dawned upon me that justice means equality. In other words, I applied understanding The Republic by Aristotle to Mandela’s book. For instance, for Plato and Socrates, justice is fulfilling one's appropriate role, and consequently giving to the city what is owed.* In a simple way, I want to illustrate the virtue Nelson Mandela believed in my life. I want that life in some aspects is “FAIR”. That’s why, without malice, without this air of pride and pompousness, I want to respect people regardless of their skin color , sex , and race ; I respect in action people with deeply-seated religious beliefs despite I have this Richard Dawkins’s –desire to change the world; I empathize “the destitute” despite that giving alms is not my principle except for “the needy”, but bringing them to their senses that capitalism is an evil, that living in this world is consummate “survival of the fittest”. Mandela applied his rude awakening to equality to understanding the people he got along with . With this belief, he became a freedom fighter, stalwart, determined, humble with undefeated fighting spirit. That was Nelson Mandela, and in the end, despite the travails he had gone through, he made it to his final walk to FREEDOM. Obviously, my long review of this book indicates my feeling of fulfillment. I am glad that I finished it after a short while. I do not regret having laid it aside on my study table. Just I let the time permit. Thanks to my student ( Sr. Angela ) for picking it among the books in a book store, without the idea that I had longed to read it ; she had granted my wish. If I were a pantheist, I would exclaim ,”What a divine intervention!” ^_^

  • Kimberly
    2019-05-01 06:09

    I bought this book in January and didn't get around to reading it until March. I was at a Goodwill 50% off sale the day I got this and as soon as I saw it I knew I had to have it.As someone who has strong roots in South Africa but has never been there I am always eager to learn more about the country my father and his family were born in particularly because my father and his family left South Africa in the 40's to escape the apartheid even though they were "coloured" and not "black" it still impacted them. I hadn't read an autobiography or biography since I was younger and I knew that even though I'm a quick reader that this book would take me a while to read due to the tone. I'm quite impressed with Mandela's story telling ability. He narrates his life flawlessly in a way that is easy to read and understand. It was informative and I enjoyed learning things from his perspective. I quite enjoyed the part at the start of the book where he talks about his childhood and his family. This book had no downsides for me. He's a truly inspirational man who deserves praise for being one of the people who helped build the New South Africa. I recommend this book to anyone who is looking to expand their horizons and read a book about one of the most inspirational people ever.

  • Julie
    2019-05-03 23:57

    If we do nothing else for those who suffer for a cause, we must at least bear witness and say, I have seen, and understood. Many people the world over have waxed prolific and poetic on this book, and all that is left to say is, it is a must-read for anyone who cares about anything at all in this world. This struggle cannot be dismissed as a partisan "engagement". It is not just about apartheid; it is not about fighting a harsh regime; it is not about man's inhumanity to man -- and all that "stuff" that so many readily dismiss, once the book is shelved again.It is about one man, walking, and holding his head up despite everything that was thrown upon his shoulders. It is how to preserve dignity, strength and integrity -- and have the moral constitution to wake up to it day after day after day, for the entire course of his life. It's easy to maintain a posture for a day or a week or a month; but to hold on to it for a lifetime -- that is a strength that only a very few can maintain.To emerge out of the darkness of his prison, of his life, and still shine with hope for humanity -- and faith that goodness will prevail -- leaves me speechless.

  • لونا
    2019-04-25 03:16

    تستهويني جداً كتب السيرة الذاتية .. .. وعندما تكون هذه السيرة لشخصية نضالية كنيلسون مانديلا فأعلم أنك ستخوض تجربة فكرية غزيرة و استثنائية لرجل تحوَّل وتطور من كونه ولداً أسوداً يعيش في كوخ في قرية نائية إلى أن أصبح أول رئيس أسود لجنوب أفريقيا منهياً بذلك حقبة التمييز العنصري هناك تنبيه:- الريفيو تخليص لما جاء في الكتاب ولذلك فهو ليس موَّجه لمحبي المراجعات القصيرةقام ملك التيمبو بتنصيب "غادلا هنري مفاكانيسوا" زعيماً على قبيلة مفيتزو وتسمى عشائر هذه القبيلة بالكوسا، وزعيم هذه القبيلة تزوج من أربعة نساء، كل امرأة تنحدر من إحدى العائلات الحاكمة الرئيسية:-الأسرى العظمى وينحدر منها ولى العهد، وأسرة اليمين، ثم أسرة اكزيبا (وتسمى أحياناً اليسار)، وأخيراً صغار العائلات وتسمى بالعائلات المساندة أو الداعمة ... وكان حصيلة الأبناء من هذه العائلة ثلاثة عشر( أربعة صبيان وتسعة بنات)... ومن أسرة اكزيبا ولد بطل هذه القصة " روليهلاهلا" والذي يعني المشاغب وكان أصغر الصبيان وأكبر أبناء عائلة اليسار .. .. بعد أن عُزل والده من منصبة انتقل إلي قرية الطفولة التي عاش فيها أروع لحظات حياته قرية ( قونو) وعمل بها راعياً للماشية وهو في عمر الخامسة أما سر تغيير اسمه فهو معلمته ... وهو حال أغلب الأطفال الذين ما أن يلتحقوا بالمدرسة حتى تُغيير المعلمة أسمائهم لصعوبة لفظ الأسماء الأفريقية، فأطلقت عليه المعلمة اسم نيلسون مانديلامن الأسماء الأخرى التي ينادى بها مانديلا "ماديبا" وهو الاسم القبلي له، أطلق عليه بعد الاحتفال الذي حدث له مع مجموعة من الصبيان في قرية قونو إعلاناً بكونهم أصبحوا رجالاًأول نقطة تحول في إدراك نيلسون مانديلا كانت في عمر التاسعة بعد وفاة والده ورحيله مع أمة إلى عاصمة مقاطعة تيمبولاند " مكيكزويني" حيت مظاهر النظام والثراء التي أصابته بالصدمة .. .. تولى هذا السلطان "يونجينتابا" رعاية مانديلا بعد ذلك وعاملة كأحد أبناءه لأن والد مانديلا كان سبب ما وصل إليه هذا السلطان من منصب ونفوذ، وعادت والدة مانيلا بعد أن أطمئنت على ولدها إلى قرية قونو مرة أخرى .. .. وصف نيلسون مانديلا هذه الصدمة الحضارية كالآتي:- (...وإن الأسس الغضة لشخصيتي التي أقامها والدي أخذت تهتز، وبدا لي في تلك اللحظة أن الحياة ربما كانت حملت لي في طياتها أكثر من أن أصبح مجرد بطل في المصارعة بالعصي) وهي اللعبة التي أحبها وبرع فيهاالمؤتمر الوطني الأفريقي كان أول تنظيم سياسي ينضم له مانديلا (وهو من الأحزاب التي لا تعترف بها الدولة) وقد استغرق عدة سنوات قبل أن يتخذ قراره بالانضمام، لأنه أراد أن يكون واعياً سياسياً قبل أن يقدم على هذه الخطوة وقد ساعده في اتخاذ هذه الخطوة التنوع السياسي الذي يتميز به محيطه من الأصدقاء ودراسته للقانون وتدربه في مكتب للمحاماة واحتكاكه بشريحة واسعة التنوع .. .. وبذلك يكون قد خرج من "الشكل" التي وضعه به السلطان وهو أن يكون رجل أسود من النخبة التي تُكن الولاء للبيض وتعترف بفضلهم وتساندهم، ولكنه بالمحصلة كان مقصوص الجناحين فلونه في النهاية لن يختفي مهما علا شأنه الذي لن يصل لمكانة الرجل الأبيض كان أول نشاط سياسي قام به مانديلا ورفاقه هو إنشاء رابطة الشباب داخل الحزب وتفعيلها رغم الممانعة التي واجهوها من قادة الحزب .. .. وبذلك نجحوا أن يضيفوا الطابع الثوري للحزب خصوصاً عند فوز الحزب الوطني بالانتخابات عام 1948 وهذا الحزب كان أهم توجهاته هو صياغة قوانين وتفعيلها لزيادة القمع على السود "قوانين التمييز العنصري" وتركزت حملة الحزب الوطني على "الخطر الأسود" .. .. ومن هنا زاد حجم النشاط اللازم من الحزب الوطني الإفريقي في مسيرته وكان أول هذه النشاطات هو "خرق القوانين" حيث يقوم المتطوعين بدخولهم لأماكن ممنوعة عليهم "للبيض فقط" وعند اعتقالهم لا يقاومون أبداً فشعار المتطوعين كان "يا مالان افتح أبواب السجن فإننا داخلون" ومالان هو رئيس الحزب الوطني الفائز في الانتخابات الرئاسية .. .. وبذلك أصبح الدخول للسجن وسام شرف لكل إفريقي مناضلاستمر النضال السلمي لمانديلا ورفاقه وافتتح في هذه الأثناء أول مكتب محاماة للسود وخلال فترة عمله اكتشف واحتك أكثر بالظلم التي يمارس على شعبه الحزب الشيوعي وحزب الهنود كانا يعملان جنباً لجنب مع الحزب الوطني الأفريقي من أجل دولة العدل لجميع الأطياف وأعلنوا "ميثاق الحرية" واستمروا في نضالهم السلمي المتمثل في الاعتصامات وخرق القوانين .. .. في ديسمبر 1956 وجهت لأكثر من 100 شخص تهمة الخيانة العظمى ومحاولة قلب النظام وإقامة دولة شيوعية واستمرت المحاكة "المضحكة" حتى صدر الحكم بالبراءة في مارس 1961 وفور خروج مانديلا من السجن كان واثقاً من سجنه مرة أخرى فعاش متخفياً واستمر نضاله السري وأُطلق عليه لقب زهرة الربيع السوداء أصبح واضحاً للعيان عدم جدوى النضال السلمي فقام مانديلا بعرض فكرة النضال العسكري على الحزب، فقوبل بالرفض في البداية ثم وافق الحزب وعينه رئيساً للجناح العسكري، وأنشأ حركة سُميت الحركة ب"أمكا" وتعني رمح الأمة وهدفها الأساسي التخريب وتحاشي هدر الأرواح .. .. أول الخطوات كانت سفر مانديلا للخارج لتلقي الدعم الدولي والتدريب العسكري وجمع المال وهذا ما كان، وعندما عاد للوطن تم القبض عليه وحُكم عليه بالسجن ل5 سنوات وما لبث أن وجهت له تهمه أخرى هو ورفاقه ونجا من حكم الإعدام "تحت ضغط المجتمع الدولي المتابع للقضية" ونُقل إلى جزيرة "روبن" وقضى فيها سنوات حياته الحالكةمانديلا "المشاغب" لم يتوقف نضاله بدخوله سجن جزيرة روبن فالتمييز العنصري طاله داخل السجن أيضاً وكان الفارق واضحاً في نوع الأكل والملابس والمعاملة بين المساجين، فاستمر نضاله داخل السجن لتحسين وضعه هو و رفاقه السود وغيرهم من الهنود والملونين، وقد أرهق إدارة السجن بالمساءلات والاعتراضات التي يبرع فيها كونه محامياأطلق على الجزيرة اسم "الجامعة" لأن أغلب السجناء تحصلوا على الشهادات وأيضاً (السبب الأهم) تدريس السجناء تاريخ المؤتمر الوطني الأفريقي والنضال الهندي وتاريخ الماركسية والاقتصاد السياسيوبعد 18 عاماً نُقِل مانديلا ورفاقه لسجن "بوللسمور" وكانت المرحلة الأولى لمساومة الحكومة له بنيل حريته مقابل التخلي عن النضال المسلح فرفض لأن سياسة الحكومة العنصرية هي المسئولة على النضال المسلح وعليها هي أن تغيير من سياستها العنصرية التي لن تتغير بتوقف هذا النضال المسلح .. .. ولكنها كانت سنوات للحوار بين الأطراففريدريك ويليام دى كليرك كان أخر رئيس أبيض لجنوب أفريقيا، عند توليه المنصب أعلن بداية حقبه جديدة وقال في خطابه "لقد حان وقت المفاوضات" .. .. وبهذا أفرج عن مانديلا في 11 فبراير 1990 (بعد 27 عاماً) عن عمر يناهز الواحد والسبعين معلناً بداية فصل جديد في جنوب أفريقيا عنوانه الحرية27 أبريل 1994 اتجه السود لأول مرة في تاريخ الدولة لإدلاء أصواتهم في أول انتخابات غير عنصرية بعد عدة سنين من المفاوضات قضاها مانيلا ورفاقه .. .. فاز الحزب الوطني الأفريقي بالانتخابات وأصبح نيلسون مانديلا أول رئيس أسود لجنوب أفريقيا نيلسون مانديلا (الحائز على جائزة نوبل للسلام 1993 مع دي كليريك) يستعرض سيرة حياته و سنوات نضاله باستفاضة وموضوعية تامة في هذا الكتاب الرائع

  • Henry Martin
    2019-04-21 06:04

    It is not very often that I set to read non-fiction. This book, however, was originally recommended to me by a Rwanda refugee and so I made an exception. What a good decision that was.Although I was familiar with Mandela's life and South Africa's struggle against the apartheid regime, this book provided me with much more profound understanding of the struggle and the historical events leading to the eventual overthrow of the racist regime. This book, however, is much more than an account of a dark time period in the history of humanity. Above all, this book is an amazing portrayal of a life of a man, an exceptional man who is much too human. We are taken through time, from Mandela's childhood to his presidency, blessed with a unique view of a man marked to die in a secluded prison. His struggle to become a "first-class" citizen and the brutal force with which the then government crushes the hopes of the young men and women is only but a part of the story. Most importantly, we are allowed a unique window into Mandela's psyche and his philosophy, for this book, to me, is mostly about human spirit, its strengths and its weaknesses. Mandela's contemplations regarding the social order, humanity, law, schools and his personal approaches are fascinating and profound. He delves into the depths of human behavior in a fluid, understandable way; his words flow on the pages from one event onto the next, while maintaining a uniform message. Although he did engage in securing financing for a possible armed conflict, his hopes and faith reside in a non-violent solution. Mandela's life is, after all, one giant wound on the face of mankind. Neglected and abandoned by the superpowers of the world, the people of South Africa never lost hope and Mandela is a fascinating and shining example of a man, stripped of everything, who, no matter what life threw in his way, maintained his dignity and his sight not only on the problems, but also on the solutions. An amazing read I am happy to recommend. This book should be read by everyone.

  • Tonya
    2019-04-30 21:52

    What do I really have to say? :-) I read this before the first time I went to South Africa and fell in love with the country...hence two return trips! I had some amazing experiences during the pr days and one was a private tour of Robben Island with Ahmed Kathrada while in SA. He was imprisoned with and a close friend of Mandela's (one of eight sentenced to life imprisonment during the Rivonia Trial). Anyway, obviously it was amazing since he knew EVERYTHING about the time and place (he was there afterall), but reading this book before then allowed me to be much more knowledgeable about the politics of the time and more importantly, the life of such an extraodinary man. Though my anger did boil at times due to the injustice of what was happening, this book is 100% inspiration. I just could not put it down. I think it was like 800 pages or more, and I read it in two days, staying up all night! And to top it off, I met Mandela only a few days later at an event he hosted and it was one of very few times in my life that I was in complete awe!

  • Laura
    2019-05-14 21:51

    I learned (as if I didn't already know) that I am one slack m*^&rf&*ker, and this is the perfect book to read if you need some motivation to get off your ass and/or get over yourself. There are also a lot of fascinating things about his story that i didn't know -he grew up literally barefoot in the bush, bailed on being a tribal councilor and ran away from home, and a lot of interesting ins and outs of how african consciousness developed in SA the 60s and 70s, plus tips on how to keep yourself motivated and entertained if you ever end up in jail. Considering the current state of this country this could turn out to be very useful info if we all wind up in gitmo! :) Overall I'd say enlightening, inspiring, interesting.

  • Sarah
    2019-05-20 23:13

    It was an interesting read. Sorry, that's a bit of an understatement and the dry tone in my head doesn't really translate. Mandela is a good, clear writer, but not creative or inventive. One can see the methodical planning that made him such an effective political leader and innovator, but as the author of a 625 page book, his style is a little stiff. The first half of the book is about his upbringing and path into politics. The problem I was having was that there was no way to tell from his formative years how or why he stood apart. Indeed, I would say that as a literary figure, he does not become a leader until after he has been imprisoned for several years, past when he was considered a leader by members of his organization and constituency. Almost as if he needed to be a leader in the eyes of others before he considered himself to be one or truly acted as one. Maybe it is the reality that one cannot lead until after there are people who will follow that lead. I am interested in how he became such a leader in the eyes of the people. What is it about someone that turns them from an ordinary person to a freedom fighter or revolutionary to a true leader, born up by the masses.I was also comparing the regime of South Africa to those in South America. The ANC and other groups in South Africa had certain advantages which made their form of protest -- the slow-downs, the rallies -- successful and possible, and ironically, the advantages stemmed from the control exercised by the colonial rulers and the legacy of British Imperialism. Mandela could, at times, invoke certain rules of law, and demand that the protesters were treated fairly under the laws. Whatever the laws at the time were (except the very last years where it seems the government learned that if they wanted to get serious about suppressing the people, they could not be hampered by the rule of law), the government would obey them. In contrast, in the South American dictatorships, headed not by imperial forces, there was no rule of law. People simply disappeared. The revolutionaries could not appeal to the court system for justice because the government did not have laws that even nominally protected dissenting voices. One thing Mandela said over and over again was the oppressing party dictated the terms of the struggle. Those who were challenging the government's policies had to respond in the manner in which they were treated. In India, the government allowed protest and dissent, which in turn meant that Ghandi could demonstrate by walking though the country and preaching nonviolence as a means of rejecting colonial rule. In contrast, in South America, a protester could not more begin to speak against the government before being shot, imprisoned or tortured, with no chance of appealing to a higher power for protection. Maybe that is why there were more rebels in countries trying to overturn the dictatorships than there were revolutionaries in the Western understanding of the term.At the end of the book, when the power was really going to shift and Mandela, in his 80s, was elected president, I actually became more agitated. At what price was his freedom? And what would the people who fought so hard, who died, paying the ultimate price, think? Those who died, would they think their sacrifices worth while, especially because in the end it was through peaceful negotiation and compromise. With the transition away from apartheid being so moderate and their sacrifice being so extreme. Maybe it was the disconnect that struck me so forcefully, that Mandela himself never talks about being tortured or injured in the struggle. Throughout he remains the great statesmen who is untouched by the violence. Those who were tortured, hanged, beaten, or shot, by contrast seem like a corollary, unrelated to the final pressures that forced the government's position to the negotiation table.

  • Megan Baxter
    2019-05-09 06:08

    I've known far too little about Nelson Mandela. I knew who he was, of course, and some of the bare outlines of his life. But I think I'd fallen into knowing little more than what Cornel West, after Mandela's death, called the "Santa-Clausification" of the South African leader. By that, he meant the process of turning Mandela from who he was into a harmless, strangely apolitical grandfatherly figure that could be used as a symbol by left and right alike. Note: The rest of this review has been withdrawn due to the changes in Goodreads policy and enforcement. You can read why I came to this decision here.In the meantime, you can read the entire review at Smorgasbook

  • Chris
    2019-05-01 00:04

    Recently, I was teaching a class where the students read an essay about the reconciliation meetings that were done in South Africa. And my students did not know, or claimed not know, who Mandela was. Sad, but true. As time goes on, we forgot. We are a nation that has been, and in many ways still is, affected by 9-11, but the average college freshman who is currently 18 was 5 then. There are people whose understanding of apartheid, if they have one, is one of distance and this happened last generation. It’s the nature of time, but we do fight against it. We read the words of those who lived it. This is why Mandela’s book should be read. Because we should know, beyond doubt that we should know. Because Mandela’s book is honesty. He doesn’t really excuse, but explains the radical steps that he had to take. He re-considers them and shows why such steps were considered. He doesn’t hide what he was – either in the past or when he was writing the book. Understanding his power, knowledge is power. And that type of power changes the world. That is why we, as the human race, should remember not to forget.

  • Mohamad Dahrouj
    2019-05-12 23:03

    هي قصة نضال تصلح مثلا لكل شعوب الارض المظلومة التي تبحث وسط ظلام القهر عن الحرية . قصة تروي مسيرة نضال طويلة من الكوخ الى قصر الرءاسة ومن الجهل المفروض على السود في وطنهم الى المحاماة عرف خلالها مانديلا النضال بكل أشكاله السلمي والمسلحين والعصيان المدني والمظاهرات ودخول السجن للفت الأنظار الى قضيته . كان صاحب فكرة النضال المسلح وكان اول من تدرب على استعمال السلاح في اثيوبيا . لكن اعتقاله المبكر اثر بشكل كبير على مخططاته النضالية. اما السجن الذي استمر ٢٧ عاما فكان قاسيا بكل ما تعنيه الكلمة لكنه ورفاقه قاوموا السجن والسجان واعتبروا ان سجنهم هو شكل من اشكال النضال في جنوب افريقيا كما اعتبروا ان المفاوضات هي أيضاً شكل من اشكال النضال فيها .مما اثار انتباهي ان مانديلا لم يكن من مؤسسي حزب المؤتمر بل انه التحق به متأخرا جداً ولم يتسلم قيادة الحزب الا بعد خروجه من السجن لكنه برز كأحد القادة المسموع كلمته مبكرا.من عباراته في هذا الكتاب :زوجة المناضل كالأرملة .إن النضال من أجل الحرية يفرض على المناضل أن يقدم تنازلات وان يلتزم بضوابط ربما كان ينقدها عندما كان غرا متسرعا .كان من المقرر أن أعود إلى المحكمة للاستماع إلى الحكم ، ومهما كانت النتيجة فإني لن أعود إلى البيت بعد ذلك فإما السجن وإما العمل السري.

  • Kavita
    2019-05-05 05:13

    It was indeed a long, long walk to freedom. Apartheid, established in 1948 in South Africa, was abolished in 1990. Nelson Mandela is one of the most well-known icons of the fight against this discriminatory system. This book explores his life, historical and political events during his lifetime, his thoughts and feelings as well as his contribution to the fight against apartheid and racism. The book starts off with Mandela's childhood days, and sketches out his family connections and his prospects if he had not become the father of the nation. This part drags a little, especially since I had no sympathy with the undemocratic procedures of ruling in the African tribes that keep out women and are authoritarian to a large extent. Mandela's first step towards freedom was when he ran away to escape an arranged (read,forced) marriage. From this point on, the story picks up as it explores his coming to terms with the knowledge of how his colour has the ability to influence his choices. The most interesting part of the book is the middle part where he describes his time in prison in detail. It is both horrifying and edifying and it is during these chapters that the reader develops a strong empathy with the man. The last part of the book deals with his life after prison, politics and the dismantling of apartheid. It also deals with the elections, violence and how Mandela ultimately becomes President.Mandela is a thoughtful and educated man and has analysed everything in detail before he set it down on paper. Hence, he was able to tell us exactly what stand he took on an issue, why he took that stand and he also goes through the entire procedure of arriving at a decision. This serves to give a greater understanding of the man himself. I really enjoyed the small tidbits of his personal life and his relationships with other members of the ANC. There are flashes of humour in the book, and the emotions come through as well. While reading this book, one needs to remember that this is Mandela's story, and hence, his viewpoints and his thoughts about life and politics are what have been explained in detail. For example, there are instances where he makes excuses for a terrorist attack by claiming it was the inevitable result of oppression. He also overlooks Winnie Mandela's crimes. I disagree, but these are the events seen from his perspective. One of the most interesting features of this book is that it showcases apartheid and its results in detail. He shows how apartheid affects every section of society. Even in prison, there is a distinction in the way different prisoners are treated on the basis of their colour. There was one incident that really stood out. When Mandela travels by plane on an underground mission, he was startled and fearful on seeing that the pilot was a black man. If this is how an activist fighting for freedom of black people reacts instinctively to black people in power, we have a long way to go to achieve true equality. Another interesting thing is that for most of the struggle against apartheid, Mandela was out of bounds, unable to communicate with his comrades and had no freedom of movement or any real political power. At one point, he mentions that the public had not seen his face for thirty years. Yet, he inspired a nation and took steps to bring about a peaceful beginning to a democratic State.The book also makes a political statement, especially in the final chapters. Mandela stands up for ANC consistently and completely, so he is definitely boosting the party image. It helps to have a basic working knowledge of South African history and politics while reading this book. Mandela mentions all the major events and goes through their effects but I found I yearned for more knowledge to understand the situation better. I was consistently looking up everything for a more detailed analysis. For example, I had no idea why exactly opposed the 'group rights' clause so vehemently. This often happened because I guess the author wrote for a South African audience. The final chapters were too rushed but I guess it would take another lengthy book to make sense of the South African politics from 1990-1994.I think this is a great book by a great man. It is not just what he aimed for in his life, but his spirit of compassion, inclusiveness, forgiveness and ability to live by his principles that made him great.

  • Susan
    2019-04-26 02:09

    My Lord, what a book! This book depicts the harsh realities of living in the Apartheid South Africa! Imagine living in a country where you are denied basic human rights, been told you are less because of your skin colour. The scary thing is that South Africa was not the only country with this sort of system. Nonetheless, Nelson Mandela's book is truly beautiful, honest, raw, emotional and makes you see that you should never stop fighting against what is wrong. He is a true testament to courage, bravery and a man who sacrificed his freedom for the freedom of South Africa. Amazing book!

  • Carlos Bazzano
    2019-05-14 04:58

    "…en el campo de la educación pública, la doctrina de “iguales pero separados” no tiene lugar. Por tanto, sostenemos que los recurrentes y otros en situación similar se ven, por razón de la segregación impugnada privados de la igualdad ante la ley protegida por la Decimocuarta Enmienda…" (Brown v. Board of Education, 17 de mayo de 1954)De todos los sistemas opresores que ya han sido puestos en vigencia a lo largo y ancho del mundo, el appartheid ha sido uno de los tantos cuyos efectos perniciosos aún han de sentirse a pesar del tiempo transcurrido desde su eliminación. Pocas acciones humanas resultan tan deshonrosas como privar a alguien de derechos a causa del color de su piel, su raza (remember holocausto), lugar de origen (inmigrantes) e incluso entre personas de color similar a causa de la etnia en cuyo seno ha venido al mundo (léase Genocidio en Rwanda donde el gobierno Hutu buscó eliminar a casi todos los individuos de etnia Tutsi e incluso lo generalmente actuado en República Dominicana contra personas de origen haitiano, mientras esto escribo tengo en mente cierta nefasta sentencia dictada por el Tribunal Constitucional y uno de la Corte Interamericana de Derechos Humanos que el país se negó a cumplir).Reminiscencia directa del infame fallo dictado por la Corte Suprema de los Estados Unidos en el caso Plessy v. Ferguson, en el que se sentó la no menos infame doctrina del separate but equal esta doctrina aboga por la absoluta separación de las razas, tratado a una, la blanca, como siendo la superior y a las demás (negra, mestiza, aborigen) como inferior. Resulta increíble el tiempo que ha tomado a las distintas sociedades que han padecido este mal en erradicarlo. En el caso de los Estados Unidos, el separate but equal fue declarada legal en 1896 e ilegalizada en 1954 a través del celebérrimo caso Brown v. Board of Education; en Sudáfrica se inició en 1948 (no es que antes, y ello el libro lo deja bien claro, la situación de las personas de raza negra fuera mejor, sino que el nivel de opresión era ligeramente inferior al que resultó durante la aplicación de tal política) y finalizó en 1994 al asumir el autor la presidencia de la República (aunque oficialmente culminó en 1996 al ponerse en vigencia la nueva Constitución).En este marco se inscribe la vida de este gran hombre, uno al que admiré toda mi vida, ejemplo de lucha, de persistencia, de perseverancia y, por sobre todo, de reconciliación. Seré sincero, solo conocía al Nelson Mandela líder de la resistencia negra contra la opresión del appartheid no conocía al hombre Nelson Mandela, al padre, al esposo dos veces separado, al abuelo, al amigo, etc. por ello este libro me ha llenado de una manera que pocas lecturas lo han hecho, ver que un gran personaje al que admiras no es más que un ser humano como cualquiera de nosotros puede resultar gratificante.Ya muchos quisiéramos tener la fortaleza del señor Mandela, quien a lo largo de su vida se ha enfrentado a adversidades de todo tipo, y ha triunfado por sobre todas ellas, incluso su largo período privado de su libertad no representó un fracaso, sino el más grande de todos sus triunfos, el de la propia dignidad, del autocontrol y del valor de perseguir los propios ideales que guiaron siempre su existencia sea en libertad o cuando estuvo privado de ella. El señor Mandela vivió para ver lo que muy pocos logran: vivió para ver que aquello por lo que llevaba luchando toda su vida se hacía realidad. La suya fue una vida plena que mereció la pena ser vivida incluso cuando la muerte asomó a las puertas, confieso que durante la lectura llegué a envidiar la actitud de este hombre, no sé si estando en sus zapatos lograría actuar como lo hizo él. La suya es una vida que vale la pena ser conocida, Nelson Mandela es un titán de la libertad al igual que lo fue Ghandi en su tiempo. Quizá pueda parecer raro que alguien cuente su propia vida pues puede caerse en la tentación de ensalzarse a uno mismo, empero, el autor aclara en todo momento que es solo un hombre y expone sin complejos sus debilidades y, por qué no (al fin y al cabo luchó toda su vida por tener la posibilidad de relatarlo) sus fortalezas. Confieso que antes de leer el libro vi la película que en él se basa y, con toda sinceridad la misma no convence ni hace justicia a una vida intensa como la del señor Mandela, no solo porque no han contado la historia con toda la fuerza que deberían sino también a causa de la mediocre intepretación de Idris Elba, particularmente me quedo con la personificación de la película Invictus en la cual un soberbio Morgan Freeman dio vida a MandelaTermino con estas palabras pronunciadas por él mismo en el Juicio de Rivonia: "Durante el tiempo que llevo de vida, he dedicado mis esfuerzos a la lucha del pueblo africano. He luchado contra la dominación blanca, y he luchado contra la dominación negra. He abrazado el ideal de una sociedad libre y democrática en la cual todos puedan vivir en armonía y con igualdad de oportunidades. Es un ideal por el que espero vivir y que espero vivir para verlo realizado. Sin embargo, Señoría, si fuera necesario, es un ideal por el estoy dispuesto a morir".Un libro cuya lectura vale la pena por cada palabra de sus más de seiscientas páginas.

  • Sharon Watkins
    2019-04-30 04:53

    If you ask my daughter why she chose to move to Africa, she will tell you that it must have been her long childhood exposure to Paul Simon's "Graceland." But I think the truth actually lies in her exposure to the extraordinary life story of Nelson Mandela. Nelson Mandela is a world treasure: principled, dedicated, uncompromising, and consistently both human and humane.This autobiography recounts Mandela's life from early childhood in a Transkei village, through the political awakening of his young adulthood, his activism for racial equality in apartheid South Africa, and the terrible sacrifice he made for his people when he was held as a political prisoner, often in deplorable conditions, his only crime being one of conscience. It is a measure of the man that he emerged from over 27 years of profoundly unjust treatment, still prepared to become an inclusive leader of all of the people of South Africa.This kind of book, as detailed as it is on the evolution and politics of the ANC, could easily have been a slow read. But Long Walk to Freedom is anything but that; it is a compelling page turner.I cannot recommend this book highly enough to do it justice.