In Search of Better Stories

Long Walk To Freedom (Book Review)

Separate toilets, separate buses, separate stores, separate everything! – Why? All because black skin meant inferior & white skin meant superior. Of course at times there has been more sophisticated explanations but ultimately, the white people wanted to control the black people. Much better to oppress than be oppressed. It was into this world that Nelson Mandela was born. His struggle to free his people, went from bad to worse, when the Nationalist party was elected in by a white only electorate on a platform of “keep the niger in his place, and keep the cooly’s out of Africa.” With a white mandate the government went to work “legally” dehumanizing black Africans. Mandela’s struggle against white government oppression, was rewarded with a life in prison sentence. For 27 years Mandela struggled for his people from behind bars. The sacrifice was tremendous, It was 20 years before Mandela was even able to touch his wife, only seeing her once for 30 minutes every year or two. His children grew up without him. Over time a combination of international pressure and internal turmoil, led the government to begin negotiations with the ANC. Mandela was the man to lead these conversations, even while still imprisoned. In the end, Mandela was the catalyst that led to free democratic elections for all the people of South Africa regardless of skin colour or ethnicity. Mandela himself became the president, capturing 62% of the vote in that historic election. Perhaps the most amazing part of this story, came when Mandela finally had power. Instead of a revenge filled backlash against his former persecutors, he pursued peace between the races, as aggressively as he had pursued freedom for his own race.

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