Long Walk To Freedom By Nelson Mandela
A book that needs little introduction. If I could sum it up in a short quotation from the author himself, it would be the following:
"I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die."
At just over 750 pages, it's a long read, but it's an incredibly important one. During this COVID-19 lock down, I've had a good opportunity to read literature that's been crying out to be read for a long time. Madiba's book had been sitting on the shelf of Bora coffee in Shirley since we opened in 2017, but as I packed my bag for South Africa earlier this year, I decided to bring it along with me.
I've been to South Africa on three separate occasions, and it was after my most recent trip spent in Johannesburg and Port Elizabeth in January of this year, that I was inspired to delve into a world that I wanted to learn a lot more about.
In many ways, Madiba personified the African spirit; he was dogged, values driven, principled and courteous. His autobiography really exemplifies the decency of the human spirit and Madiba takes his reader on the most awe-inspiring journey, starting in the wilds of the Transkei, through the impenetrable fortress of Robben Island, culminating with his freedom in the new Rainbow Nation.
What is utterly remarkable about Long Walk to Freedom is the fact that Madiba was able to eloquently describe, and then deconstruct the abominable policy of apartheid, with holding any disdain for his persecutors. As a leader, his ability to put his cause above himself is perhaps his stand out feature.
This book is important for absolutely everyone. Although political in nature, it's more of a treatise on how to be a morally good person and an instruction on why it's important to stand up for what you believe to be right, no matter what the potential sacrifice to your own life and freedoms.