Nelson Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom
Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela
Long Walk to Freedom is an autobiographical work by Nelson Mandela where he shares his experience of how he became first black president of South Africa and what challenges he had to face in this journey towards freedom.
On 10th May, 1994, he took vow as president and in this chapter, the speech which he delivered during the ceremony has been mentioned. Along with that the names of freedom fighters, who played a vital role in the path of South Africa’s freedom and encouraged Mandela to come forward are depicted. Mandela talks about different dignities who attended the ceremony and how it became remarkable for Africans.
He talks about two national anthems sang during the ceremony and what their importance are. Nelson Mandela encourages everyone towards their right and duty, according to him no human being should be exploited. He believes that an individual should have two types of duty to serve, first for his family and second for the nation. He motivates people to choose the right path in journey of their life.
- (to be) besieged by- to be surrounded closely by
- Amphitheatre- a building without a roof, with many rows of seats rising in steps (typical of ancient Greece and Rome)
- Confer- (a formal word) here, give
- We, who were outlaws- because of its policy of apartheid, many countries had earlier broken off diplomatic relations with South Africa
- Emancipation- freedom from restriction
- Deprivation- state of not having one’s rightful benefits
- Discrimination- being treated differently or unfavourably
- Spectacular Array– an impressive display (colourful and attractive)
- Not Unmindful Of- conscious of; aware of
- Chevron- a pattern in the shape of a V
- Despised- had a very low opinion of
- Wrought- (old fashioned, formal word) done, achieved
- Profound- deep and strong
- Resilience- the ability to deal with any kind of hardship and recover from its effects
- Pushed to our Limits- pushed to the last point in our ability to bear pain
- Inclinations- natural tendencies of behaviour
- Inevitably- unavoidably
- Illusion- something that appears to be real but is not
- Transitory- not permanent
- Curtailed- reduced
- Prejudice- a strong dislike without any good reason
Oral Comprehension Check
Page No.- 18
1. Where did the ceremonies take place? Can you name any public buildings in India that are made of sandstone?
Ans. The ceremonies took place in the campus of the Union Building of Pretoria.
The Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi, The Supreme Court of India and Red Fort are some public buildings in India that are made of sandstone.
2. Can you say how 10 May is an ‘autumn day’ in South Africa?
Ans. 10th May is an ‘autumn day’ in South Africa because on this day a new Africa immersed in front of entire world, as imperialism was removed by Nelson Mandela’s vow as a President.
3. At the beginning of his speech, Mandela mentions “an extraordinary human disaster”. What does he mean by this? What is the “glorious … human achievement” he speaks of at the end?
Ans. “An extraordinary human disaster” is sufferings and exploitation of black people on the basis of race and not considering them as humans.
“Glorious… human achievement” is Mandela’s vow as a first black President, which shows the changing scenario of blacks in their own country.
4. What does Mandela thank the international leaders for?
Ans. Mandela thanked the international leaders for joining the ceremony as he was feeling privileged by the presence of these leaders. As Africa and Africans were not accepted by the world, but now leaders were participating in the oath taking ceremony due to which Mandela felt special and thanked them.
5. What ideals does he set out for the future of South Africa?
Ans. Mandela set out the ideals of removing poverty and sufferings of people. He also mentions that there should be no discrimination.
Page No.- 21
1. What do the military generals do? How has their attitude changed, and why?
Ans. Military Generals of the South Africa saluted Mandela and pledged their loyalty.
Their attitude changed because now a native was given the responsibility and to take charge of his country, and they didn’t arrest him but saluted him this time.
2. Why were two national anthems sung?
Ans. Two national anthems were sung because one was representation of Africa by Africans, while the other was representation of Africa by English people.
3. How does Mandela describe the systems of government in his country (i) in the first decade, and (ii) in the final decade, of the twentieth century?
Ans. (i) In the first decade of the twentieth century, there were differences between the whites and blacks. Discrimination on the basis of skin colour and domination played an important role. There was inhumane behaviour with the black population on their own land.
(ii) In the final decade of the twentieth century, the previous system of government was replaced and overturned with the new one. Now native Africans were able to enjoy their freedom and their birth rights.
4. What does courage mean to Mandela?
Ans. For Mandela courage does not means the absence of fear but a victory over fear. He feels that a person should always look towards any problem bravely, he might not be fearless but he should must know how to defeat his fear.
5. Which does he think is natural, to love or to hate?
Ans. He believes love to be natural, as love comes more naturally to human heart than hate.
Page No.- 24
1. What “twin obligations” does Mandela mention?
Ans. “Twin obligations” which Mandela mentions were that every man should have two duties to be done. First is towards his family, parents, wife and children; and the second obligation towards country, community and its people.
2. What did being free mean to Mandela as a boy, and as a student? How does he contrast these “transitory freedoms” with “the basic and honourable freedoms”?
Ans. Like other small kid, for Mandela too freedom meant enjoying life and living happily. Mandela believed that the freedom which we wish in our childhood are merely for short term happiness but our adulthood introduces us with more serious issues of life and it is a point when a person’s “transitory freedom” is replaced by “the basic and honourable freedoms”.
3. Does Mandela think the oppressor is free? Why/Why not?
Ans. According to Mandela oppressor is not free. Mandela feels that an oppressor is a prisoner of hatred, who is looked behind the bars of prejudice and narrow mindedness.
Thinking about the Text
1. Why did such a large number of international leaders attend the inauguration? What did it signify the triumph of?
Ans. The presence of large number of international leaders at inauguration indicates a positive gesture towards a country which has got its rights in true manner. It signified the triumph of good over evil, by portraying in front of us image of racism and its impact.
2. What does Mandela mean when he says he is “simply the sum of all those African patriots” who had gone before him?
Ans. By these words Mandela wants to give tribute to those who died in the war against racism and exploitation. He remembers them and pays his tribute to them by saying that he has got all his power because of them. He supports people who chooses the right path and rise their voice against wrong.
3. Would you agree that the “depths of oppression” create “heights of character”? How does Mandela illustrate this? Can you add your own examples to this argument?
Ans. Yes, I agree with the statement that the “depths of oppression” create “heights of character”. Nelson Mandela illustrates this by giving examples of great heroes of South Africa like Oliver Tambo, Walter Sisulu and others who sacrificed their lives in the long freedom struggle.
In India we find plenty of such examples in the face of Mahatma Gandhi, Lala Lajpat Rai, Jawahar Lal Nehru, Subhash Chandra Bose, Sardar Bhagat Singh and many more who set an example for people in the path of independence and freedom.
4. How did Mandela’s understanding of freedom change with age and experience?
Ans. With age and experience Mandela understood the real meaning of freedom, and it couldn’t be doubted. Earlier being a kid for him freedom was living life freely and happily; but maturity made him realise that the real meaning of life and freedom is to live as human being without any harm and exploitation.
5. How did Mandela’s ‘hunger for freedom’ change his life?
Ans. Mandela realised in his youth that it was not just his freedom that was being curtailed, but the freedom of all blacks. This changed Mandela from within and he started showing up to the people, what a fearful man can do if he becomes fearless. He sacrificed everything for the sake of freedom and his countrymen, for which he had even to go to the jail. And in this way hunger for freedom changed his life.
Thinking about the Language
I. There are nouns in the text (formation, government) which are formed from the corresponding verbs (form, govern) by suffixing -(at)ion or ment. There may be a change in the spelling of some verb – noun pairs: such as rebel, rebellion; constitute, constitution.
1. Make a list of such pairs of nouns and verbs in the text.
2. Read the paragraph below. Fill in the blanks with the noun forms of the verbs in brackets.
Martin Luther King’s _______ (contribute) to our history as an outstanding leader began when he came to the _______ (assist) of Rosa Parks, a seamstress who refused to give up her seat on a bus to a white passenger. In those days American Blacks were confined to positions of second class citizenship by restrictive laws and customs. To break these laws would mean _______ (subjugate) and _______ (humiliate) by the police and the legal system. Beatings, _______ (imprison) and sometimes death awaited those who defied the System. Martin Luther King’s tactics of protest involved non-violent _______ (resist) to racial injustice.
Martin Luther King’s contribution (contribute) to our history as an outstanding leader began when he came to the assistance (assist) of Rosa Parks, a seamstress who refused to give up her seat on a bus to a white passenger. In those days American Blacks were confined to positions of second class citizenship by restrictive laws and customs. To break these laws would mean subjugation (subjugate) and humiliation (humiliate) by the police and the legal system. Beatings, imprisonment (imprison) and sometimes death awaited those who defied the System. Martin Luther King’s tactics of protest involved non-violent resistance (resist) to racial injustice.
II. Using the Definite Article with Names
Here are some more examples of ‘the’ used with proper names. Try to say what these sentences mean. (You may consult a dictionary if you wish. Look at the entry for ‘the’.)
1. Mr Singh regularly invites the Amitabh Bachchans and the Shah Rukh Khans to his parties.
2. Many people think that Madhuri Dixit is the Madhubala of our times.
3. History is not only the story of the Alexanders, the Napoleons and the Hitlers, but of ordinary people as well.
1. This means that famous Bollywood stars such as Amitabh Bachchan and Shahrukh Khan are invited on a regular basis to the party hosted by Mr Singh.
2. This means Madhuri Dixit’s acting and dancing skills are compared with Madhubala’s acting and dancing skills.
3. this means history is not only about the struggles of great fighters and leaders like Alexander, Napoleon and Hitler, but also common people.
III. Idiomatic Expressions
Match the italicised phrases in Column A with the phrase nearest in meaning in Column B. (Hint: First look for the sentence in the text in which the phrase in Column A occurs.)
|1. I was not unmindful of the fact||(i) had not forgotten; was aware of the fact |
(ii) was not careful about the fact
(iii) forgot or was not aware of the fact
|2. when my comrades and I were pushed to our limits||(i) pushed by the guards to the wall |
(ii) took more than our share of beatings
(iii) felt that we could not endure the suffering any longer
|3. to reassure me and keep me going||(i) make me go on walking |
(ii) help me continue to live in hope in this very difficult situation
(iii) make me remain without complaining
|4. the basic and honourable freedoms of…earning my keep,…||(i) earning enough money to live on |
(ii) keeping what I earned
(iii) getting a good salary
1. I was not unmindful of the fact- (i) had not forgotten; was aware of the fact
2. when my comrades and I were pushed to our limits– (iii) felt that we could not endure the suffering any longer
3. to reassure me and keep me going– (ii) help me continue to live in hope in this very difficult situation
4. the basic and honourable freedoms of…earning my keep,… – (i) earning enough money to live on