Nelson Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom Summary

“Long Walk to Freedom,” Nelson Mandela’s memoir, recounts the former South African President’s incredible journey. It provides a detailed narrative of Mandela’s difficult journey to freedom. This chapter delves into portions of the book, offering light on major events such as the historic inauguration ceremony. The book not only features Mandela’s remarkable address, but it also delves into his personal journey as he evolved into a tireless warrior for freedom. Furthermore, it emphasises the collective struggle of numerous individuals who battled heroically for their freedom. During Mandela’s presidency, South Africa suffered from the horrific policy of “apartheid,” a system filled with racial inequality and prejudice. This cruel administration was particularly known for its brutal treatment of those with dark skin, robbing them of fundamental rights on a regular basis. In this story, we investigate Mandela’s strong attempts to construct a society free of prejudice based on skin colour, socioeconomic status, ethnicity, age, and gender.

Summary of Nelson Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom

Installation of the First Democratic Government of South Africa

On 10th May, 1994, the first democratic, non-racial government of South Africa was installed. The installation ceremony took place in a sandstone ampitheatre formed by the Union buildings in Pertoria, where many leaders of the world had gathered. Nelson Mandela had come to the ceremony with his daughter Zenani. Mandela took his oath as the President of a free South Africa. He pledged to obey and uphold the constitution and to devote himself to the well-being of the people.

Mandela Addresses the Guests

After taking oath, Mandela addressed the guests. He promised to create a society of which all humanity would be proud. He thanked the international leaders for joining the ceremony
that represented a common victory of justice, peace and human dignity. He promised that he would work to remove all kinds of poverty, sufferings oppression and discrimination from the society.

Display of the Military Power by South African Jets

When Mandela had taken oath, South African jets displayed the military power. It also showed the loyalty of military to democracy. The highest military generals saluted him.
He recounted that they would have arrested him many years before. It was followed by the playing of two national anthems. The whites sang ‘Nkosi Sikelel’ the old song and the blacks sang ‘Die Stem’ the new song which marked the end of the ceremony.

Apartheid and South Africa

Nelson Mandela reminiscences (remembers) about days gone by which will soon be the part of history where the whites had formed a system of racial dominance against the blacks. It was
the basis of the harsh societies which is now overturned. He says that the policy of apartheid (policy of racial segregation) created a deep and lasting wound on his country and its people.

Mandela Recalls the Sacrifices of Freedom Fighters

On the auspicious day, Mandela regretted the loss of thousands of people and remembered
their sacrifices for the freedom from discrimination. He recalled great freedom fighters like Oliver, Tambos, Walter Sisulu, Chief Luthuli, Yusuf Dadoo etc. who were the men of uncommon courage, wisdom and generosity. Mandela believed that the freedom fighters are the real wealth of the country.

Mandela Joins African National Congress

Mandela realised that his complete community including him lacked freedom. So, he joined
the African National Congress with a desire to gain freedom, respect and dignity for his
community. The desire for freedom for people as a whole changed his whole life. He was imprisoned many times in the process of gaining freedom for his people and was transformed from a frightened young man to a bold person which turned him from a law abiding person to become a criminal. He realised that freedom is indivisible and just like the oppressed (tortured) the oppressors (torturer) in not free.

Mandela’s Realisation

Mandela realised that he could not enjoy his freedom when his community was not free. He also realised that just like oppressed (torturer), the oppressor (tortured) is also not free. The oppressed is a prisoner of hatred, prejudice and narrow-mindedness. Thus, both the oppressor and the oppressed alike are robbed of their humanity. Both of them must be liberated.

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