Nelson Mandela: "No Easy Walk to Freedom"

Nelson Mandela: "No Easy Walk to Freedom"


240 Pages


From his humble beginnings in rural South Africa to his tragic death at age 95 in 2013, Nelson Mandela's life is a tale of inspiration and courage. The most up-to-date biography of Nelson Mandela.
This powerful biography provides an in-depth look at Nelson Mandela who grew up in a rural village in South Africa under racist apartheid rule--a regime he ultimately helped overthrow.
Denenberg explores the history of South Africa and its often violent struggle for civil rights, while tracing Mandela's role in that history. Lawyer, leader of the African National Congress, political prisoner who spent 26 years in jail, president--no one else has had such enormous influence on his fellow South Africans. Even beyond South Africa Nelson Mandela influenced freedom fighters everywhere.
This latest biography traces Mandela's complete life story.



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Published 06 January 2014
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EAN13 9780545726368
License: All rights reserved
Language English
Document size 1 MB

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To all those who took the time to write — you are m y inspiration.
“No Easy Walk to Freedom” is from a speech by Nelso n Mandela given September 21, 1953. The quotation was adapted from an article by Jawaharlal Nehru:
There is no easy walk to freedom anywhere, and many of us will have to pass through the valley of the shadow of death agai n and again before we reach the mountaintops of our desires.
South Africa is about three times the size of Califo rnia. It is situated at the southern tip of the African continent, surrounded on three s ides by ocean. Lying south of the equator it has, in general, a warm, sunny climate. The landscape is as beautiful as it is varied, including some of the best beaches in th e world. It is divided into four provinces: the Cape Province, the Transvaal, the Orange Free State, and Natal. It is blessed with natural wealth, making it the richest country in Africa. More gold is produced by South Africa than by any other country in the world. Diamonds are another important source of South Africa’s economic strength. Almost every important mineral is found there. Although it represents only four percent of the con tinent’s land and six percent of its population, it is the most highly developed cou ntry in Africa. The first heart transplant operation was performed in South Africa. Its medical facilities are the best in the world.
But South Africa is not known for any of these thin gs. Primarily it has been known for its history of government policies toward the black African majority. Black South Africans had been enslaved, exploited, oppres sed, tortured, and killed by the white South African government for over a hundred y ears. Until April 1994, South Africa’s white citizens, nu mbering five million, ruled the country, even though they represented only fourteen percent of the population. South Africa has become known as the home of the wo rld’s most famous former political prisoner. A prisoner who emerged to becom e an internationally respected
statesman. This is his story and the story of his c ountry.
Rolihlahla is Nelson Mandela’s tribal name. He was bo rn on July 18, 1918. In Xhosa, the language that his parents spoke, Rolihla hla means “one who brings trouble on himself.” Nelson grew up in a valley surrounded by grass-cove red hills. His village, Qunu, was located in the Transkei territory of South Africa. The youngest and only boy of four children, he and his father cared for the cattle and sheep, and Nelson helped when it was time to plow the fields. When his chore s were done, he played soccer and learned to hunt and to fight with sticks. As much as anything he enjoyed listening silently to his elders talk of African history. At meetings, after the chiefs and other im portant persons from the surrounding areas had completed their business, the y would sit and tell stories — stories of long ago, before the whites came to Africa. They also told stories of wars between the white man and the black man and how the white men stole the blacks’ cattle and drove the blacks from their own land. His father was the chief counselor to the Paramount Chief of their tribe — the Thembu. The Paramount Chief himself was related to him, and his great-grandfather had been a king. When he was twelve, his father died. Before he died , he saw to it that his son was placed in the care of an uncle, who was also a tribal chief. His parents had already seen how eager he was to learn, and his unc le was asked to provide him with a good education.
Thevillage of Qunu in the Transkei territory, where Mandela was born; Mandela’s own
home is no longer standing.
Understandably, when he first arrived at his new village, he kept to himself. But soon he grew more comfortable. His uncle’s wife lov ed him as much as she loved her own child, whose name was Justice. He and Justice became like brothers. They hunted birds, using slings, and roamed and romped i n the fields. Best of all, they enjoyed racing on horseback. As before, he worked hard, herding the cattle, milk ing the cows, and he was always ready to lend a hand. He was well behaved an d diligent in his studies. The church schools he attended were run by missiona ries. Christian missionaries had been coming to Africa for over fifteen hundred years. Their mission was to convert Africans to Christianity. Some missionaries tried to convince the Africans to accept foreign rule. But many worked to provide them with a Western education. Sometimes schools run by the missionarie s were the only ones available, and in many cases included children of all races. Like his mother, Rolihlahla became a good Christian . He studied English, the Xhosa language, history, and geography. His teachers were very good, and he received the education his father had hoped he woul d. When he was twenty, he enrolled at Fort Hare Colleg e, one of the few universities in South Africa that allowed full-time black students. It was located in the quiet town of Alice, in the Cape Province. He was interested in politics and current affairs a nd thought he might become a lawyer. By studying law he might be able to help his people obtain the rights denied them by the white rulers. He studied hard at Fort Hare, although he still had time to learn the fox-trot and the waltz. It wasn’t long, however, before he becam e involved in politics. He joined the Students’ Representative Council, which was org anizing a protest against the living conditions at the university. When the stude nts decided to strike, he joined them and was expelled.