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Long Walk to Freedom is an autobiography written by South African President Nelson Mandela, and first published in 1994 by Little Brown & Co. 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.
In the first part of the autobiography “Long Walk to Freedom”, Mandela describes his upbringing as a child and adolescent in South Africa, and being connected to the royal Thembu dynasty. His childhood name was Rolihlahla, which is loosely translated as “pulling the branch of a tree”, or a euphemism for “troublemaker”.
Mandela describes his education at a Thembu college called Clarkebury, and later at the strict Healdtown school, where students were rigorously put in routines. He mentions his education at the University of Fort Hare, and his practice of law later on. He also then writes; “Democracy meant all men to be heard, and decision was taken together as a people. Majority rule was a foreign notion. A minority was not to be clashed by a majority.” (p. 29)
In the second part of the book “Long Walk to Freedom”, Mandela introduces political and social aspects of apartheid in South Africa, and the influences of politicians such as Daniel François Malan who implemented the nadir of African freedoms, as he officially commenced the apartheid policies. Mandela joined the African National Congress in 1950 and describes his organisation of guerrilla tactics and underground organisations to battle against apartheid.
The book won the Alan Paton Award in 1995, and has been published in numerous languages, including an Afrikaans translation by Antjie Krog.
Long Walk to Freedom is an autobiography written by South African President Nelson Mandela