Long Walk to Freedom
By– Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela
Important Long/ Detailed Answer Type Questions- to be answered in about 100 -150 words each
1. Nelson Mandela in his inaugural speech used these two words ‘an extraordinary human disaster’ and so ‘glorious a human achievement’. What did he mean by that?
Ans. The extraordinary disaster was the rule of Apartheid in South Africa. This disaster of racial discrimination brought oppression, deprivation, cruelty and suffering for the black people of South Africa. Blacks were not allowed to visit the places reserved for the whites. They led a life of humiliation.
At last on 10 May 1994, after more than three centuries of white rule, Nelson Mandela’s African National Congress Party won the elections. Nelson Mandela became the first black President of South Africa. The coming into power of non-racial government was a glorious human achievement.
2. What were the difficulties faced by Nelson Mandela in achieving freedom for his people?
Ans. In his endeavour to get freedom for his countrymen from the rule of Apartheid, Nelson Mandela had to undergo many hardships and suffered a lot. This great patriot had to sacrifice the comfort of his home and loving family. He was declared an outlaw for demanding equality for all his fellow black Africans. He was punished, isolated and put into jail. He and his comrades were oppressed and tortured beyond tolerance. He suffered hunger, oppression and injustice but kept the flame of independence burning in his heart. His undaunted courage, persistent struggle and unparallel sacrifice bore fruit and South Africa got freedom from the rule of Apartheid on 10 May 1994.
3. Give the character-sketch of Nelson Mandela.
Ans. Nelson Mandela is a great patriot. He loves his country and countrymen. For him, the greatest wealth of South Africa is her people.
He has a sacrificing nature. He sacrificed his life of comfort, family and home and plunged into the struggle for freedom. He believes in equality for all. He opposed the rule of Apartheid for which he was declared an outlaw. He was oppressed and tortured in jail for several years but he never broke. It shows his traits of tolerance, courage and perseverance.
4. What different concepts of freedom did Mandela have at different stages of his life?
How did Mandela’s understanding of freedom change with age and experience?
Ans. Mandela had different concepts of freedom at different stages of life. As a boy, he had an illusion about freedom. He thought he was born free. As long he obeyed his elders he had the freedom to run in the fields swim in the stream and ride on the back of bulls.
As a student he cared for transitory freedom — freedom to stay out at night, read the books of his choice and go where he liked.
When he became a young man he yearned for basic and honourable freedoms of achieving his potential, earning his keep, marrying, having a family and living a lawful life.
Slowly his concept of freedom widened especially when he joined the African National Congress. He realized that true freedom is not individual freedom but freedom for all.
5. The inauguration ceremony symbolised a common victory for justice, for peace, for human dignity against the most hated apartheid regime based on racial discrimination. Comment.
Ans. The inauguration ceremony of the installation of a democratically elected government in South Africa was of great historical importance. After the Boer war, the white ‘peoples’, patched up their differences. They imposed the domination of the whites through the apartheid based on racial discrimination. The inauguration ceremony attracted worldwide recognition. International leaders and dignitaries from more than 140 countries assembled at the amphitheatre in the Union Buildings in Pretoria. The whole world hailed it as a common victory for justice, for peace, for human dignity. The grand struggle of the black patriots against the most hated regime of apartheid succeeded. There was a spectacular display of jets and the salute by the bedecked generals with ribbons to President Mandela. It showed the military’s loyalty to democracy. The playing of the two national anthems symbolised a new regime based on equality irrespective of race and colour.
6. Why was Nelson Mandela overwhelmed with a sense of history? Give the birth and finally the burial of the apartheid regime in South Africa.
Ans. On the day of the inauguration of the Republic, Nelson Mandela was overwhelmed with a sense of history. It was quite natural for a man who taught against the hated regime for decades. After the Boer war, the white groups patched up their differences. They imposed the domination of the whites over the majority population of South Africa. The birth of the apartheid was the birth of one of the harshest and inhumane regimes in the world. It was based on racial discrimination and oppression. Deep oppression and atrocities produced thousands of black patriots who were ready to sacrifice their lives for the freedom of their fellow men. The determined struggle of these black heroes ended in their victory. A democratically elected government headed by President Nelson Mandela was installed on the 10th of May, 1994.
7. The apartheid regime, the whites created in South Africa, was one of the harshest and most inhumane societies the world has ever known. Elucidate.
Ans. The apartheid regime symbolised oppression, exploitation and an extraordinary human disaster. The white regime was based on racial discrimination. The blacks in South Africa were deprived of their rights, equality and human dignity. After the Boer war, the white groups in South Africa patched up their differences. They imposed a system of racial discrimination against the black people of their own land. It was one of the harshest and most inhumane regimes the world has ever known. The policy of apartheid created a deep and lasting wound in South Africa and its people. Thousands of black patriots sacrificed their lives fighting for the rights and freedom of their people. Thousands of Tambos, Sisulus, Dads, Fishers and Sobukwes suffered deep oppression and tortures but never gave up their cause. Ultimately, their struggles and sacrifices led the blacks to victory under Nelson Mandela. Their victory was a common victory of humanity, for peace, for justice and for human dignity.
8. Which twin obligations does Nelson Mandela mention in the lesson? Why were he and the rest of blacks able to fulfil those obligations?
Ans. Nelson Mandela that every man has twin obligations in life. The first obligation of a man is to his family, to his parents, to his wife and children. He has another obligation also. He has an obligation to his people, his community and his country. Every man is to do his duty according to his situation and strength. But in South Africa, it was impossible for a man like Mandela or other blacks to fulfil those obligations. If a man tried to live as a human being, he was punished and isolated. If any person in South Africa tried to do his duty to his people, he was forcefully separated from his family and his home. He was forced to lead a life of secrecy and rebellion. Nelson Mandela placed his people above his family. In attempting to serve his people, he was prevented from fulfilling his obligations as a son, a brother, a father and a husband.
9. How was Mandela’s concept of freedom was different in boyhood and youth than what it was in his mature age? How were ‘transitory freedoms’ changed into his hunger for the freedom of his people?
Ans. Nelson Mandela was not born with a hunger to be free. In his boyhood, he felt free until he obeyed his father and tribe. The concept of freedom was limited only to run in fields, swim in the local stream and ride on the slow-moving bulls. When he was a youth, he realised that his boyhood freedom was an illusion. His freedom had already taken away from him. He yearned to enjoy ‘transitory freedoms’ like staying out at night, reading and going anywhere as he pleased. When he joined the African National Congress, only then his own freedom became the greater hunger for his people. He desired that his people should live their lives with dignity and self-respect. This hunger for freedom forced him to be a rebel and live in secrecy away from his family.
10. Why does Mandela say that freedom is indivisible? How are the oppressed and the oppressor alike are robbed of their humanity?
Ans. Nelson Mandela believes that freedom is indivisible. His hunger for his own freedom became the greater hunger for the freedom of his people. He couldn’t live his life with dignity and self-respect if his own people were bound in chains. The chains on any one of his people were the chains on all of them. The chains on all of his people were the chains on him. Mandela realised that the oppressor must be liberated as surely as the oppressed. A man who takes away another’s freedom is a prisoner of hatred, prejudice and narrow mindedness. He is not truly free if he is taking away someone else’s freedom. Surely, he is not free when his freedom is taken away from him. Thus the oppressed and the oppressor alike are robbed of their humanity.
11. Describe the contribution of Nelson Mandela in the struggle for independence of the blacks of his country against the hated apartheid regime.
Draw a character-sketch of Nelson Mandela highlighting his struggle against the apartheid regime for the human rights of his people.
Ans. Nelson Mandela was the tallest of all the black heroes who waged a relentless fight against the racial-regime in South Africa. He suffered untold sufferings and tortures in prison but led the country to install the first democratically elected government in South Africa. Nelson Mandela was not born with a hunger to be free. Later on, he realised that his boyhood freedom was an illusion. He also realised his concept of freedom in his youth was also ‘transitory’ and was limited to his personal freedom. Only when he joined the African National Congress, his own freedom became the greater hunger for the freedom of his people. Only then, a frightened young lawyer was transformed into a bold `criminal’. A family-loving husband was forced to lead the life of a monk in secrecy. Nelson Mandela is grateful in acknowledging the unimaginable sacrifices of thousands of black heroes for the freedom of their people. Modestly, he realises that freedom is indivisible. He realised that he could not lead a free and honourable life if his people were in chains.
Nelson Mandela had a wider vision of humanity. For him, freedom was comprehensive and couldn’t be divided. It shows his greatness that both the oppressor and the oppressed should be liberated. Both of them alike are robbed of their humanity.