Long Walk to Freedom

by Nelson Mandela

Long Walk to Freedom is an autobiography about one of the greatest men on earth Nelson Mandela. Tt describes the South African Apartheid. Mandela describes his childhood; his development into a freedom fighter; his twenty-seven years in prison; and his remarkable role in the construction of a new, democratic South Africa. The book begins by Mandela describing his childhood and describing his upbringing in the Xhosa tribe, one of South Africa’s biggest cultural groups. It describes his early childhood, which was spent herding cattle and practicing traditional Xhosa fighting. Then when he was older his father sent him to a school which was rare for a boy from his village. Mandela excelled in school and his uncle paid for him to continue his education at a series of elite boarding schools. He then describes his young adulthood. He tells about his journey to becoming the leader of the South African freedom movement. He moved to Johannesburg and became active in the African National Congress (ANC). He describes the issues of South Africa at the time, like the unjust racial laws and the Apartheid. It is described in great detail and really covers the issues in South Africa, it shows you just how horrible humans can be. He focuses on the political and social aspects of apartheid in South Africa and who was responsible. Mandela describes the Tactics they used to sabotage the regime, for example guerrillas. He quickly became an important figure in the fight for civil rights. He was arrested in 1961 and convicted for inciting people to strike. He was sentenced to 5 years. However, soon afterwards, additional charges of sabotage were brought against him. He then went on to describe his time at Robben island and Pollsmoor prison where he spent 25 years. Mandela endured despite the brutal conditions and maintained hope. The book then goes on to describe his embrace by the public after his release, South Africa’s first free elections, and his ascent to presidency in 1994. I think this is one of the best books in the world because it describes the life of one of the most important, amazing, inspirational person in the 20th century.

Lem Mandara

Rating: 5 Recommend



Without having read the book, I would have easily claimed that I knew a substantial amount about the life of Nelson Mandela, one of the most renowned leaders in Africa up to date. However, after reading ‘A Long Walk To Freedom’, Mandela’s own account of his life and the struggles that he faced not only during the twenty seven years spent on Robben Island, but those that came prior to the imprisonment, and those that followed into his presidency, I realised that my claim was far from the truth. He begins by describing the humble beginnings from which he originated; consuming meals mainly consisting of corn (‘mealies’) and having to fix his own clothing at home. The accounts he gives of his childhood, not only describing the hardships he faced but also the way in which he overcame them, show that Mandela was born a leader. An example of this comes in the description of the loss of his father- Mandela’s mentor and main supporting figure in his life. This event meant that he had to seek mentorship from a village chief, and during his years in college, the chief suggested that Mandela should marry the village priests’ daughter. Understanding that this was not in line with what he wanted for himself (Mandela had no interest in marrying the girl), Mandela set off for Johannesburg, abandoning all that he knew in favour of staying true to himself. This event is only one of many in which his true character shines and we get to see a true leader, one who was ready to face the unknown rather than succumbing to the pressure surrounding him. The main purpose of this book is to show- as detailed in the title- the journey undertaken by Mandela and his fellow comrades in fighting for the freedom of blacks and other non-whites living in South Africa during the apartheid and many would agree that this was the most influential time in Mandela’s life- even more influential than the term he spent serving as South Africa’s president. This section of the book details the brute force used against Mandela and over 100 members of the National African Congress (the name of Mandela’s political party, although at this time it was simply a resistance group). After being accused of attempting to implement a communist approach to the leadership in South Africa at the time, Mandela and approximately 3000 other prisoners were taken to Robben Island where they served varying sentences, Mandela having served for 27 years. During these years, he was given the opportunity to be free as long as he stood down and agreed to stop resisting the apartheid. His refusal to such an offer is what- in my opinion- made him a true leader, a true servant leader. This was a moment in which he realised that what he was fighting for was far greater than himself, and his willingness to sacrifice his freedom so that the generations to come would never face the same brutality is what stood out the most in this book.

Maria Beebe

Rating: 4 Interesting



Long Walk to Freedom is an account of Nelson Mandela the many things that made him grow into the man he became. Nelson Mandela was born the son of a chief. He was given the birth name Rolilahla which when translated, means “pulling the branch of a tree” which is a euphemism for “troublemaker” which could’ve always hinted at his future. When his dad died at the age of 9, Nelson moved to the capital of Thembuland, Mqhekezweni, otherwise known as the Great place and found that the chief was now his guardian as Mandela’s father helped the regent get to his position. This change led to many new opportunities and Nelson was able to get a proper education where he got to learn English along with geography and history. Nelson Mandela had always thought of the white men in his country as benefactors and contributors to good in South Africa. This image had been disrupted at his circumcision ceremony when the main speaker revealed to them that those white men were oppressors and that the men of South Africa will work the strenuous low jobs so tht the white man will grow in prosperity. Nelson Mandela did not let himself believe the words that were said that night but he never forgot, and he soon understood these words and realised that he was the ignorant one. Nelson Mandela later studied law and he joined the ANC (African National Congress) in 1950 he describes that it was the only organisation that welcomed all people. He explains how the organisation used guerrilla tactics and underground organisations to battle against the apartheid. A person that Mandela looked up to was a lawyer in the ANC named Anton Lembede and how he strongly believed in Africa’s reclamation of their land and would stop at nothing to make sure this happened. Unfortunately, in 1961, Mandela was convicted for inciting people to strike and leaving the country without passports and he was sentenced to five years in prison. He was later sentenced to life imprisonment for sabotage in the Rivonia trial instead of being given a death sentence, which was the maximum sentence for sabotage. He later described his hard and strenuous time in prison on Robben island where he stayed for 28 years as he was released in 1990 by the South African President, Frederik de Klerk. After Mandela was released from prison he was not angry at anyone. When he gave his speeches, he did not blame the white man and tell him to leave, but instead wanted them to stay as it was now their land too. He reminded his people that if they wanted something, they would have to work hard and even after he achieved freedom for South Africa, he did not feel completely accomplished and this teaches me to always work hard for what you want, and that you shouldn’t always be content with your achievements because there is always more that can be done.

Irene Githatu

Rating: 5 Recommend



Long Walk to Freedom is an autobiography written by the former and late president of South Africa Nelson Mandela. Nelson Mandela is one of the greatest moral and political leaders of our time. The book is about his life and includes his 27 years in prison. Mandela writes about his life growing up in rural South Africa in contrast to the life of living under the white oppressors in a white dominant country that he later experiences. Mandela had chosen a career in law but was drawn to politics and became actively engaged in political freedom fighting for the majority black community and joined the African National Congress (ANC). In 1964 he was arrested and sentenced to life imprisonment on cherges of treason, plans to sabotage and violent conspiracy against the South Africa regime. He was put in a prison for political criminals called Robben Island a few miles of the coast of South Africa, here he would spend the next 27 yrs of his life. After his time in prison he was elected as the first black South African president. I personally enjoyed this book as it takes you throught the life and journey of one of the most influencial and moral leader of our time and shows that no matter where you come from you can make a change in peoples lives and in the world to. It has taught me to be patient and resillient in everything that I do and to do the best to help others and fight for what is right.

Lawrence Mutua

Rating: 3 Worth Reading



Long Walk To Freedom is a detailed and captivating autobiography by Nelson Mandela. The book entails Mandela’s life journey starting from his humble childhood to his twenty-seven grueling years at Robben Island. Mandela begins by describing his childhood in a village located in the Transkei region in South Africa. Here Mandela shows us an insight of his childhood partaking in stick fights with fellow boys to herding cattle and farm work. His accounts of the hardships he faced as a child and how he overcame them showed me that he was a born leader. Even though he grew up in difficult surroundings; Mandela educated himself by attending a small schoolhouse in his village often wearing loose pants secured by a loose string around the waist. At the young age of nine, Mandela faces his first hardship in life after his Father and mentor sadly passed away. This left Mandela with a void in his life leading him to move and live next to Thembu’s acting regent in Mqhekezweni. The regent insisted that Mandela should be educated and attended a range of colleges. Mandela excelled in his education and during his time as a student the Regent thought it would be best for him to marry the Thembu priests daughter; Mandela saw this not fit and in a heart-lead decision he fled to Johannesburg. This next chapter of his life (some could differ) was the most influential in Nelson’s journey to freedom. It details Mandela’s join and involvement with the ANC (African National Congress) a resistance group that was against apartheid. During this time apartheid gripped South Africa and Mandela saw how wrong and unjust it was. Mandela describes his methods of resistance against the methods of apartheid such as non-violent protests and stay ins clearly showing his leadership ways. He goes on detailing all the inhumane methods of separation during Apartheid and how to counter them. Nelson quickly became a well-known figure in the anti-apartheid civil rights movement. In 1962 Nelson and other members of the ANC were charged for multiple accounts of treason leading to his twenty-seven years of imprisonment. Not only does this book well highlight Mandela’s life it also shows how influential a leader Mandela was. A quote that really stood out for me was “A leader... is like a shepherd. He stays behind the flock, letting the most nimble to go out ahead, whereupon the others follow, not realizing that all along they are being directed from behind”. This quote shows how determined of a leader Mandela was and headstrong for the fight against apartheid.

Collins Mgomella

Rating: 4 Interesting



Many of you may have heard of India's revolutionary anti-colonial nationalist (Mahatma Gandhi), America’s civil rights legend (Martin Luther King Jr), or even Julius Kambarage Nyerere-Tanzania’s ‘Baba wa Taifa’ (Father of nation), but have you ever heard of Nelson Mandela? A Pan-African political leader and philanthropist who had united several people in order fight the discriminatory legislation, known as Apartheid, that undermind the liberal rights of South Africa’s non-white civilians. Throughout his lifetime Mandela had the charisma and compassion that allowed him to reform a once racist colonial South Africa into the influential and diverse nation that it is today. During his rise to power, Mandela had always put the well-being of others before himself, so much to the extent that, he made the decision to rebuff the opportunity of succeeding his father as chief, and instead chose to continue his studies as he aspired to become a lawyer. However, Mandela instead, became a member of the A.N.C (African National Congress) as a fighter and the rest is history. Whilst reading Nelson Mandela’s autobiography “Long Walk to Freedom”, we can join Mandela in his long walk to freedom as this book explains the aspects that allowed him to achieve remarkable success as a leader. In fact, this book has the ability to equip the reader with the formula that made it possible for a Xhola boy from the village of Mvezo, to become the President of a powerful nation.

Ebenezer Laltaika

Rating: 5 Recommend