Nelson Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom Chapter Explained

Summary of Nelson Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom

Chapter 2 of the Class 10 English textbook, ‘First Flight’, is titled Nelson Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom. It is an autobiography of Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela. He was the first black South African President, an anti-apartheid revolutionary and political leader who served the country from 1994 to 1999. Here, we bring you a summary of the prose in the form of CBSE Notes. Students can go through the prose summary of an extract from the “Long Walk to Freedom” book. It includes an illustration of Nelson Mandela’s inauguration ceremony and excerpts from his speech and the struggles he faced as a freedom fighter. CBSE Class 10 students can also refer to CBSE Class 10 English Prose Notes – Nelson Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom for their Board exam preparation.

Nelson Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom Summary

Nelson Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom is an extract from the autobiography of Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela that describes the struggle for freedom of black people in South Africa. On 10th May 1994, Nelson Mandela took the oath as South Africa’s first Black President after more than three centuries of White rule. His party had won 252 out of the 400 seats in the first democratic elections in the history of South Africa.

Many dignitaries and political figures from several countries attended the inauguration ceremony that took place in the Union Buildings amphitheatre in Pretoria. In his speech, Mandela addressed all dignitaries respectfully and assured his fellow countrymen that his country would never experience similar suppression by one group over another. While taking his vow as the first black President, he established democracy in the country and said there would be no discrimination against people, irrespective of caste, colour, creed or race. He assured that the government would always treat all the people of the country with due respect and equality.

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The lovely day of inauguration was symbolic for Mandela as the South African people sang two national anthems – the vision of whites sang ‘Nkosi Sikelel –iAfrika’ and the blacks sang ‘Die Stem’, the old anthem of the Republic. All these events reminded Mandela of how black-skinned people were exploited by white people earlier. He deeply felt the pain of his race and said that this type of suppression and racial domination of the white-skinned people against the dark-skinned people on their own land gave rise to one of the harshest and most inhumane societies the world had ever seen or known. He strongly believed that no person is born to hate the other person on the basis of skin colour, background or religion. However, people must learn to hate because if they learn to hate, they can be taught to love as well, as love comes more naturally to humans than hate. He also mentioned how a person becomes brave, not because he does not feel afraid, but because he knows how to conquer his fears.

Furthermore, Mandela stated that every man in life has two major obligations. The first one is his obligation towards his family, which includes his parents, wife and children, and the second is towards his motherland, countrymen and his community. Everyone is able to fulfil those obligations according to his own interests and inclinations. However, it was difficult to fulfil both these obligations as a black man in a country like South Africa before the democratic wave took over the nation by storm. When Mandela became an adult, he realised that freedom was merely an illusion and temporary in nature for the black-skinned people of his country. He felt that they were treated as slaves of exploitation, and all the people of his race were treated unfairly by the white-skinned people.

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According to Mandela, freedom was indivisible for all. But the people of his colour and race were bound in chains of oppression and tyranny. He knew that the oppressor must be liberated just like the oppressed because a person who snatches another’s freedom is also a prisoner of similar oppression. Thus, the oppressor is not free too and feels shackled in the chains of oppression himself.

Conclusion of Nelson Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom

In the chapter – Nelson Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, we learnt that brave men are not those who never feel afraid but the ones who know how to conquer fear. Mandela strongly felt that every individual has certain duties and responsibilities towards his own country and community. We hope this CBSE Class 10 English First Flight Prose Summary of Nelson Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom must have helped students to get a brief idea about the chapter.