After visiting South Africa for 2 weeks, reading this book seemed like a natural next step in understanding everything we have seen during the trip.
‘Long Walk to Freedom’ is an autobiographical work written by South African President Nelson Mandela, and first published in 1994.
The book profiles his early life, coming of age, education and 27 years in prison. Under the apartheid government, Mandela was regarded as a terrorist and jailed on the infamous Robben Island for his role as a leader of the then-outlawed ANC. He later achieved international recognition for his leadership as president in rebuilding the country’s once segregated society. The last chapters of the book describe his political ascension, and his belief that the struggle still continued against apartheid in South Africa.
It’s rare that a book gives me so mixed feelings as did ‘The Long Walk to Freedom’. I almost lived next to Mandela while reading and laughed and cried with him. It’s emotional, it’s uplifting, it’s the story of a man who had so much strength. Someone we should all take as an example of ambition, devotion for his country and people and faith that his dream will one day come true.
The book is also a very important history lesson about South Africa. Nelson Mandela describes not only the political situation during his lifetime, but also cultural aspects of the country, that offer a background to what South Africa is today.
A must read for anyone who is interested in what great leaders are like and think like.