Nelson Mandela: Long walk to freedom is the second chapter of the Class 10th book First Flight, this chapter is an excerpt taken from Nelson Mandela’s autobiography. This chapter is about the events on the day of Nelson Mandela’s Inauguration. This article includes a detailed summary of Nelson Mandela with the most important word meanings. After you have completed the summary do test your knowledge with MCQ quiz questions at the end.
Nelson Mandela also explains the sacrifices that the people of South Africa had to make for Freedom. By the end of the summary, you will know what tortures Mandela had to go through to end apartheid and to get freedom for his people and country.
Writer– Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela
“It always seems impossible, until it is done
This chapter is an extract taken from Nelson Mandela’s autobiography – Long walk to freedom. Nelson Mandela was the first Black president of South Africa. He was elected through a democratic election.
Apartheid was the policy of racial discrimination based on the color of the skin. Discrimination based on color was present in South Africa for a long time, but Apartheid was first used in 1948.
All the important and high-paying jobs were reserved for whites. The black people didn’t even have the right to basic education or voting. It was finally abolished in the early 1990s.
Mandela joined the ANC(African National Congress) in 1943 to throw away apartheid. He was imprisoned in 1962 and spent twenty-seven years of his life behind the bars.
He was finally released in 1990 due to increasing international pressure and growing fear of racial civil war. Mandela was elected as the president of South Africa through the first democratic elections held in 1994.
Do watch the video given in this summary to better understand the events on the day of Inauguration.
Nelson Mandela Summary.
The sky was clear on the tenth of May 1994. Nelson Mandela had been meeting with VIPs and World Leaders for the past few days. They wanted to pay their respect to the newly elected president.
Mandela’s inauguration ceremony was the biggest gathering of International leaders in South Africa. The inauguration took place in a beautiful sandstone amphitheater in Pretoria(The capital of South Africa).
People of all colors and nations had assembled to witness the beginning of South Africa’s first democratic, non-racial government. Mr. Mandela’s daughter Zenani accompanied him on the inauguration day.
Mr. De Klerk first took the oath as the second Deputy President of South Africa. Then Mr. Thabo Mbeki was sworn in as the first Deputy President of South Africa. Now it was Mandela’s turn to take oath as the first democratically elected president of South Africa. In his speech, he said
After the speech got completed, the sky was overcast with south African helicopters, jets, and troop carriers. The Impala jets in a V shape formation left a smoke trail of the colors of the South African flag.
It was the demonstration of the military’s loyalty to the new government. Now the highest military officials and Policemen saluted Mandela to show their loyalty. Mandela remembers the time when the same men, instead of saluting, would have arrested him.
At the end of the ceremony, the South African national anthems were played. The whites sang ‘Nkosi Sikelel –iAfrika’ and the black sang the old anthem ‘Die Stem”. That day none of the group knew the lyrics of that Anthem. (Both of the National anthems combined were more than 5 minutes long, so in 1997 they were merged into one, to form the new national anthem of South Africa)
History of the Struggle for freedom in South Africa
In South Africa in the early 1900s after the Anglo Boer war, the White people of the nation formed a system of racial domination. Black people were the victims of this system.
No members of the society had ever been treated in such a cruel manner. Finally, this system came to an end in the 1990s, and a democratically elected government was formed.
The people of South Africa had made unimaginable sacrifices and faced horrifying tortures for this democracy. Mandela wished his comrades could witness this day, but sadly some of them had passed away.
According to Mandela, Even though South Africa may be rich in gems and minerals but, its true wealth is its people. Apartheid caused a lot of suffering to the people of South Africa, and it would take decades to overcome its impact. But this oppression also resulted in forming men of great courage and wisdom.
Some of these men are –
Mandela’s views on Obligations, Love, and Courage
Mandela’s Early Life
As a boy, Mandela was free to run in the fields, swim in the rivers, roast corn, and ride bulls. This amount of freedom was enough for him, and he never felt the need for more.
Now, as a young student, he was only concerned with his freedom.
He realized that he was never truly free when he was denied fundamental freedoms like- the freedom to read what you like.
Later he realized that he was not even free to achieve his full potential. He was not free to keep the money he earned, marry the girl of his choice and have a family.
Now he observed that along with him, his fellow brothers and sisters were also never free. The desire for his freedom was changed into the greater desire for the freedom of his people. It was this desire for the freedom of his people that decided the direction of his remaining life.
This desire transformed him from a frightened and law-abiding attorney into a Bold criminal. This desire made him sacrifice his family life and live away from them like a monk.
Views on Courage and love
Nelson Mandela learned the real meaning of courage from his comrades. In their fight for freedom, they were attacked and tortured many times but, they never gave up. They showed unimaginable strength and courage. No one is born fearless you have to learn to overcome your fears. For them, courage does not mean the absence of fear but the triumph over it.
According to Mandela, a person is not born with hatred towards others based on their color or religion. They have to be programmed by their environment and people to develop such hate and Prejudice. It is more natural for a man to love than to hate others.
Everyone is good and loving on the inside, even though it may not seem so sometimes. Even when Mandela and his comrades were getting tortured in prison, he would see some kindness in a guard, and it would restore his faith in humanity. It would give him the hope and strength to keep going.
The Twin Obligations
Every man has two obligations –
- His obligations towards his family, his parents, his wife, and his children.
- His obligations towards his country, community, and people.
In a well-organized and progressive country, he may fulfill these obligations according to his own will and abilities. But in an oppressed country like South Africa, a mam of color was not allowed to fulfill these obligations.
When a man of color tried to fulfill his obligations towards his people and community, he was forced to live apart from his family. He was arrested and tortured. When Mandela tried to fulfill his obligations towards his community and people. He had to sacrifice his personal life for the greater good.
The Oppressor and the Oppressed
Nelson Mandela experienced that he could not even enjoy his limited freedoms as his people were not free. Freedom can’t be conditional, and the same rules must apply to all. He felt that his freedom was connected to the freedom of every one of his people.
According to him, both the oppressor and the oppressed are trapped. The oppressor may put others into prison, but in reality, he is also not free. While the oppressed may be trapped in a real prison, but the oppressor is also trapped in the prison of hatred. The oppressor also needs to be liberated from his prejudice and narrow-mindedness
Today Nelson Mandela is considered by many to be the father of his nation. Nelson Mandela is a symbol of resilience and determination.
His tremendous willpower helped him to get through the most inhumane conditions.
His vision of a democratic South Africa gave him the power to go through his time in prison. After decades of struggle, his nation was finally free. He witnessed his vision becoming a reality.
Throughout the chapter, we can sense that Mandela had no residual hatred towards the people who tortured him. He only had compassion and kindness for them. He acknowledged the contribution and sacrifices of his comrades for this freedom and wished that they could be present to witness that day.
The writer of Long Walk to Freedom is Nelson Mandela.
The Inauguration was held on the 10th May 1994 at the amphitheater in Pretoria.
It is a system of discrimination based on color.
According to Mandela, a man has obligations towards his family and his country.
Nelson Mandela Summary-Word Meanings
- Besieged – Surrounded by
- Dignitaries – An influential and important person
- Inauguration – A formal opening
- Decade – Ten years
- Ceremonies – Formal public event
- Amphitheatre – A circular building without a roof having rows of seats risisng in steps
- Pretoria – Capital of South Africa
- Autumn – The season of the year that comes between summer and winter.
- Podium – A raised platform on which a person stands to be seen by the audience
- Sworn in – To make someone a formal promise in the law of court at an offical ceremony
- Constitution – The fundamental rules and regulations of any country
- Confer – To grant
- Liberty – The freedom to follow one’s own will
- Newborn – A recently born baby
- Humanity – Kindness
- Apartheid – The policy of racial discrimination based on color
- Curtailed – To limit
- Distinguished – Important and respected
- Liberate – To free someone or something
- Twilight existence – A half secret life
- Yearned for – To desire something very strongly
- Profound – Deep
- Oppressor – A person who treats people cruelly
- Oppressed – Someone who has been treated cruelly
- Law abiding – One who obeys the rules
- Despised – Had a very low opinon of
- Obligaitons – Duties
- Deprivation – Denying someone of their rights
- Prejudice – An unreasonable disliking towards someone
- Loyality – Faithfulness
- Generosity – Large heartedness
- Resillence – The ability to overcome difficult situations
- Mealies – Corn
- Ripped – To be removed quickly and forcefully
- Isolated – To be kept apart from others
- Abide by – To follow the rules
- Indivisible – Cant be divided further
- Chains – restrections
- Grimmest – Most unpleasent
- Glimmer – A small hope
- Extinguished – To put out
- Comrade – Those who fight for the same cause
- Emancipation – Social or political freedom
- Array – A large collection
- Chevron – V shaped
- Trail – Line
- Bedecked – Decorated
- Unmindful – Not giving enough care or attention
- Transitory – Short lived