Nelson Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom

Posted on by Jeremy Daggett

I finally read Nelson Mandela’s autobiography Long Walk to Freedom. I say “finally” because I should’ve read the book six years ago when it was on the curriculum for a study abroad program in Zambia that I directed, but I was just too busy with grad school and directing the program that I put it off.

What a moving, inspiring story. Before reading the book, I knew very little about Nelson Mandela’s life, work, and cause. I hadn’t even read the wikipedia article. If you’re in the same boat, do yourself a favor and learn some about this man’s life. One of the most striking aspects is the sheer amount of time he was in prison—27 years.

Twenty. Seven. Years.

Talk about patience. He considered his entire time in prison as part of the struggle to end apartheid. Near the end of the book, after he’s released and he’s approaching the first multi-racial election in South Africa’s history, he encourages patience of those black South Africans who think everything might change quickly. This man knew patience.

Also near the end of the story:

I had cast the first vote of my life.

Having just had the mid-term elections in the US, that quote smacked me in the face.

The audio version was fantastic and only (ha!) 27 hours long. I haven’t yet watched the movie.

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