Nelson Mandela: “No Easy Walk to Freedom”
He is the son of Africa, the father of a nation, and one of the most revered and exemplary persons in the world. He is undoubtedly one of the greatest and most influential figures of the twentieth century, a man of enormous moral integrity, and respected throughout the world for his dignity, courage, and tolerance. Nelson Mandela, or Rolihlahla Dalibhunga, belonging to the Madiba clan of the Thembu tribe in South Africa, was born on July 18, 1918. In the Xhosa language, his name meant ‘pulling the branch of a tree’ or ‘troublemaker’. We all know about South Africa, apartheid, and Nelson Mandela, but after reading Nelson Mandela: “No Easy Walk to Freedom” by Barry Denenburg, we get a vivid picture of an eminent man who has immovable determination, great courage, and limitless tolerance, making this book very absorbing and worth recommending.
Mr. Nelson Mandela has always been portrayed as a man of immovable determination. From his early days, and even during his tribal education, he showed a unique sense of firm, yet silent willpower as he listened to his tribal Elders talk about African history. After converting to Christianity, he wanted to become a lawyer. “He would become a lawyer and work to free his people…the name by which he would become known to people all over the world. Nelson. Nelson Mandela,” (pg. 9) says Denenburg. When he was in prison for all the long twenty-seven years, he had one determined goal in mind: to be released unconditionally by the white South African government. And yes, after ten thousand days, the white minority government had to bow down before his persistence and release him from prison in 1990. “He was seventy-one years old,” (pg. 144). In Mandela’s own words, “We have waited too long for freedom. We can wait no longer,” (pg. 145). While Nelson Mandela had a strong, unmovable willpower to the cause of his people, he also proved to be an exceptionally courageous man.
Furthermore, Mandela’s great courage and spirit has shone through his entire life. At times, the author succeeds in painting a picture of a man who was the epitome of courage. After he was sentenced to life imprisonment, “Mandela helped many learn to survive behind bars,” (pg. 89). “Mandela risked punishment as he talked to [inmates who just arrived], while hammering in the quarry,” (pg. 88) — as Mr. Denenburg writes about his courage. Even after staying in those small cells, working in the quarries for ten years, losing fifty pounds, and deteriorating eyesight, “Mandela would not give up. He kept up his morale, continued to be self-disciplined, determined, and confident,” (pg. 90). Mandela’s courage behind bars seeped through the hearts and souls of millions of Black South Africans, and imbibed in them the sheer grit to free their country from white domination.
Nelson Mandela is a role model in his ability to tolerate injustice, oppression, humiliation, and apartheid yet staying firm and focussing in his mission. The author mentions, “[When Mandela] was sent to Robben Island, his younger fellow political prisoners were taken with his humility and tolerance,” (pg. 89). In an exclusive interview with a journalist at Pollsmoor Prison, he describes, “Whites in South Africa belong here—it is their home. We want them to live with us and share power with us,” (pg. 138). He proved himself to be a pragmatic statesman devoted to building a multiracial democracy. In his twenty-minute speech after his release from prison, he stressed, “I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities,” (pg. 147). In his speech through his daughter, he concludes, “Your freedom and mine cannot be separated. I will return,” (pg. 141). Mandela has shown a remarkable sense of tolerating and adapting to any situation, and, in this biography, we get a fascinating illustration of a man who is tolerance personified, and who had provided to millions of political prisoners throughout the world a shining example.
After reading about Nelson Mandela in Mr. Denenburg’s biography, we come across a person who is greatly admired, respected, and courageous. His indomitable courage, sheer determination, and immeasurable tolerance have made him a name common to households throughout the world. In this spellbinding, yet intriguing, biography, the author has brilliantly described Nelson Mandela’s life, his country, his lifelong struggle for freedom, and his final victory against all odds in life. This book is a real treasure to keep as well as to recommend to others.