book review: "Long Walk To Freedom"

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photo credit: http://media.npr.org/assets/bakertaylor/covers/l/long-walk-to-freedom/9780316548182_custom-fad8a00037030b02c4d4a2aa9768844528ad75cb-s6-c30.jpg

“Long Walk To Freedom” was a highly detailed read on the life of Nelson Mandela. It starts off from his childhood life in which he played along the hills of Qunu, to his schools days, and to the point in which he becomes the first black layer in South Africa. It is here where things starts to pick up as he joins the African National Congress party, or ANC. The ANC is the oppositional party to the then leading National Party. 

Nelson Mandela was eventually jailed for sabotage against the National Party which put him in jail for 27 years. It was during this time that his autobiography was written. This is where the book really picks up for me personally. Perhaps it has to do with my fascination with prison life, however this is where a large majority of Mandela’s life took place. One of the most interesting aspects during this part of the book was the progress him and his fellow political prisoners made in prison. When they first arrived on Robben Island they were being treated extremely poorly, worse than farm animals. Throughout the 27 years Mandela spent in jail however he managed to use his perseverance to convey the authorities to treat him like a political prisoner, a human being, and not like a criminal. He ultimately finished his sentence in a prison grounds cottage in which he had his own personal chef!

One other thing to note that was very interesting was that throughout his entire time in jail, Mandela always felt that he would not serve his entire life sentence. Despite his poor initial treatment, he always knew that he would one day be free. It’s as if he manifested his own freedom, and I somewhat do believe that that had a large part in is journey towards his personal freedom. Because he had this mindset, he lived as if he was a free man. He never lived with the mindset of a prisoner, of someone that was “stuck”. He was always moving forward. I believe that the time he had spent in jail, all the hardships, trials and tribulations helped develop the character traits in the man who many of us know today as a source of inspiration.

My biggest take away from “The Long Walk To Freedom” is that we have to stand up for what we believe in. Nelson Mandela dedicated much of his life to his belief and goal of a united South Africa with no racial segregation. He spent 27 years of his life to get there; missed crucial time with his family, the death of his mother, followed shortly by the death of his oldest son. The marriage of his daughter, the birth of his grand children and much more. Where we are today is the result of the sacrifices that we have made. Nelson Mandela became one of the greatest human beings to ever live because of his personal sacrifices to a belief, a cause that was so much greater them himself. I believe that it is our purpose in life to do the same, to find our own personal calling and to walk along our own path in life.

-w

Wilson Lau

Vancouver, Canada

Photographer of weddings, and people alike.