I recently read the" long walk to Freedom "by Nelson Mandela his Autobiography published in 1995 thanks to my book lover friend Wendy who lent me this excellent book .
Madiba as Mandela is endearingly known was the adopted heir of Thembu dynasty and was groomed to be a tribal leader ,Mandela means the one who pulls the branch of a tree which means the trouble maker ,he did live up to his name to the racial regime of the whites that ruled over South Africa with the hated apartheid system .
Mahatma Gandhi had done his bit as an young Indian lawyer in South Africa by opposing the inhuman system of segregating people by color in his own non violent protest and to young Mandela this appealed a lot .
He was for non violent protest but the Sharpeville massacre made him change his policies to a certain extent He knew that the regime that ruled South Africa would never bother unless they are pricked and hence to a certain extent advocated selective acts that would hurt the Government and its minions but with non violent protests as the dictum .
Nelson was put in prison and banned for several occasions and had to live underground for some years
Finally over the famous Rivolini trial he was incarcerated sfor more than 27 long years where for a major part he was in the infamous Robben island off Cape town .
“The authorities (at Robben Island) liked to say that we received a balanced diet; it was indeed balanced between the unpalatable and the inedible is his qoute on its diet
The indignities and tortures he encountered and the pang of separation from his near and dear ones he went through is narrated very vividly .
“Prison itself is a tremendous education in the need for patience and perseverance. It is above all a test of one’s commitment says Nelson about those hard times
Finally with international pressure increasing to release by then the well known prisoner of freedom Nelson was released by the authorities
“I always knew that someday I would once again feel the grass under my feet and walk in the sunshine as a free man”
he went on to be the top negotiator with the government
he went on to share the Nobel prize for peace with the South African president and was by then a well known world statesman and became South Africas first president on its freedom
Madiba is still active for he says
“I dare not linger, for my long walk is not yet ended.