Nelson Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom
ORAL COMPREHENSION CHECK
Where did the ceremonies take place ? Can you name any public buildings in India that are made of sandstone ?
The ceremonies took place in the lovely sandstone amphitheatre. It was formed by the Union Buildings in Pretoria. These are : the Red Fort, Jama Masjid, North and South Blocks, Parliament House etc.
Can you say how 10 May is an ‘autumn day’ in South Africa ?
Why is 10th May 1994 important for South Africa ? (CBSE 2012)
It is because of weather and the dawning of freedom after about 300 years of white rule. It is also important because of the freedom.
At the beginning of his speech, Mandela mentions ‘an extraordinary human disaster’. What does he mean by this ? What is the ‘glorious … human achievement’ he speaks of at the end ?
By this he means the white rule in South Africa over the blacks. It lasted very long. It was really a disaster of white men ruling over the black.
‘The glorious…human achievement’ is getting political independence from the white rule by the black natives.
What does Mandela thank the international leaders for ?
He thanks the international leaders for coming to take possession with the native people of South Africa. It is a common victory for justice, peace and human dignity.
What ideals does he set out for the future of South Africa ?
He sets out the ideals of liberating his people from various bondages. These are of poverty, deprivation, suffering, gender and other discriminations.
ORAL COMPREHENSION CHECK
What do the military generals do ? How has their attitude changed, and why ?
The military generals discharge their duties. They owe allegiance to their country. They do their duties as per the military provisions.
Their attitude has now changed. They care more for personal gains than their true duties as per the defence rules.
Why were two national anthems sung ?
Two national anthems were sung as there were two main communities or races. One was of the whites and the other of the blacks. Secondly, the anthem of the whites was the anthem of the old republic.
How does Mandela describe the systems of government in his country
(i) in the first decade, and (ii) in the final decade, of the twentieth century ?
(i) In the first decade of the twentieth century the whites of South Africa patched up their differences. They built a system of racial domination against the black people of their own land.
(ii) In the last decade their system had been overturned forever. It was replaced by another. It recognised the rights and freedoms of all people regardless of their skin colour.
What does courage mean to Mandela ?
By courage Mandela means not the absence of fear but the triumph over it.
Which does he think is natural, to love or to hate ?
He thinks that love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite hate.
ORAL COMPREHENSION CHECK
What ‘twin obligations’ does Mandela mention ?
He mentions the twin obligations. One, obligations to his family, his parents, his wife and children. Second, obligations to his people, his community and his country.
What did being free mean to Mandela as a boy, and as a student ? How does he contrast these ‘transitory freedoms’ with ‘the basic and honourable freedoms’ ?
What did ‘being free’ mean to Mandela as a boy and as a student ? (CBSE 2012)
As a boy Mandela meant by being free to wander in the fields near his hut. It was to swim, to run through the village. Also it was to roast mealies at night and to ride the bulls.
As a student he meant to be free to stay out at night. It was to read what he pleased to read and to go where he chose. It was also to be as per his potential.
These were the ‘transitory freedoms’. But the “basic and honourable freedoms’ were the freedoms for the people. These were to live with dignity and self-respect.
Does Mandela think the oppressor is free ? Why/Why not ?
Mandela thinks that the, oppressor is not free like the oppressed. A person who takes away another man’s freedom is a prisoner of hatred. He is locked in prejudice and narrow-mindedness.
THINKING ABOUT THE TEXT
Why did such a large number of international leaders attend the inauguration ? What did it signify the triumph of ?
A large number of international leaders attended the inauguration to pay their respects. It signified the triumph of human freedom and democracy. It also signified the importance of political independence.
What does Mandela mean when he says he is ‘simply the sum of all those African patriots’ who had gone before him ? (CBSE 2012)
The author means that like those patriots he also felt the great need of political independence of the country. Like them he also underwent tortures by the whites in his own country.
Would you agree that the ‘depths of oppression’ create ‘heights of character’ ? How does Mandela illustrate this ? Can you add your own examples to this argument ? (CBSE 2012)
It is a fact that the more one is oppressed, the more one becomes strong in character. Mandela says that the decades of oppression and brutality produced many patriots. They were like Oliver Tambos, Walter Sisulus, Chief Luthulis, Yusuf Dadoos etc.
More examples from my own side sire here. These are of Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal – Nehru, Sdrdar Patel, Lokmanya Tilak, Subhash Chander Bose, Bhagat Singh etc.
How did Mandela’s understanding of freedom change with age and experience ?
First Mandela thought of personal freedom like doing what one liked. But as he grew up he started understanding freedom as indivisible. It is also of his own men. He thought of freedom for all his own people more important than anything else.
How did Mandela’s ‘hunger for freedom’ change his life ? (CBSE 2012)
Mandela’s ‘hunger for freedom’ changed him into a great man, a statesman and a visionary. He worked day and night for it. He underwent physical and mental tortures. It was for obtaining freedom for his own people.
THINKING ABOUT LANGUAGE
I. There are nouns in the text (formation, government) which are formed from the corresponding verbs form, govern) by suffixing—(at) ion or ment. There may be a change in the spelling of some verb-noun pairs : such as rebel, rebellion ; constitute, constitution.
Make a list of such pairs of nouns and verbs in the text.
Read the paragraph below. Fill in the blanks with the noun forms of the verbs in brackets.
Martin Luther King’s ………. (contribute) to our history as an outstanding leader began when he came to the ………. (assist) of Rosa Parks, a seamstress who refused to give up her seat on a bus to a white passenger. In those days American Blacks were confined to positions of second class citizenship by restrictive laws and customs. To break these laws would mean ………. (subjugate) and ………. (humiliate) by the police and the legal system. Beatings, (imprison) and sometimes death awaited those who defied the System. Martin Luther King’s tactics of protest involved non-violent ………. (resist) to racial injustice
II. Using the Definite Article with Names
Here are some more examples of ‘the’ used with proper names. Try to say what these sentences mean. (You may consult a dictionary if you wish; look at the entry for ‘the’.)
1. Mr Singh regularly invites the Amitabh Bachchans and the Shah Rukh Khans to his parties.
2. Many people think that Madhuri Dixit is the Madhubala of our times.
3. History is not only the story of the Alexanders, the Napoleons and the Hitlers, but of the ordinary people as well. (Page 25)
I think, by such a usage, the author gives more importance to such people who were like these great patriots in every way.
1. This means that Mr. Singh regularly invites people like Amitabh Bachchan and Shah Rukh Khan to his parties. The invitees are not exactly these film stars but other persons. They are similar in many ways to these stars.
2. It means Madhuri Dixit has all the traits of Madhubala though she is not that.
3. History is not only the story of great persons like Alexanders, Napoleons and Hitlers but ordinary people.
III. Idiomatic Expressions
Match the italicised phrases in column A with the phrase nearest in meaning in column B. (Hint: First look for the sentence in the text in which the phrase in column A occurs.)
| 1. I was not unmindful of the fact
2. when my comrades and I were pushed to our limits
3. to reassure me and keep me going
4. the basic and honourable free – doms of .….. earning my keep …..
|(i) had not forgotten, was aware of the fact
(ii) was not careful about the fact
(iii) forgot or was not aware of the fact
(i) pushed by the guards to the wall
(ii) took more than our share of beatings
(iii) felt that we could not endure the suffering any longer
(i) make me go on walking
(ii) help me continue to live in hope in this very difficult situation
(iii) make me remain without complaining
(i) earning enough money to live on
(ii) keeping what I earned
(iii) getting a good salary
These are to be matched as given below :
1. In groups, discuss the issues suggested in the box below. Then prepare a speech of about two minutes on the following topic (First make notes for your speech in writing.)
True liberty is freedom from poverty, deprivation and all forms of discrimination.
- causes of poverty and means of overcoming it
- discrimination based on gender, religion, class, etc.
- constitutionally guaranteed human rights
For discussion at class level. There are three topics given in the box. One is fully solved for the students. Two other topics carry the notes. Students may write a speech in their own words using these as a good exercise.
- Causes of poverty and means of overcoming it
Causes : No employment, no means of livelihood, no landholding, no work available, physical situations difficult to fight against, large family due to illiteracy, ignorance, superstitious beliefs, govt, help not possible.
Means of overcoming it: Hunting for work even if migration is there, access to govt, help in the form of schooling, manual work, awakening towards reasons of poverty like large family, superstitions and other blind beliefs like blind belief in fate etc.
Respected Principal, teachers and dear students !
Today I stand before you to speak on the ‘Causes of poverty and means of overcoming it’. Well, you’ll see that poverty is a curse. It has many causes. These are: no employment, no means of livelihood, no landholding and no work available. There are physical situations also. These are like existence of zamindari system. In it, one has plenty of land and a majority are landless labourers only. There exist superstitious beliefs due to illiteracy and ignorance. One has a large family due to these. The result ‘ is one is bom in poverty and dies also in it.
There are means of overcoming poverty. One must hunt for work even if one has to migrate to cities. One must get access to various govt, agencies and help available. One must acquire knowledge about the reasons of poverty. These are like a large family, superstitious beliefs and narrow-mindedness. Belief in fate won’t do anything. One must work and fight against the problems of life courageously.
- Discrimination based on gender, religion, class etc.
Cultural reasons like male dominance, women always treated inferior or secondary, given low salary for work equal to men, religious beliefs like low-caste people are inferior, not allowed in temples, treated inferior, class or caste reasons like low- caste people shall make things impure even by touch, minds of upper-caste people doctored on these beliefs.
Much dilution of this discrimination due to govt, policies and women’s equalling men in superior jobs, govt, efforts in educating the people, reservation in govt, jobs, provision of equality in the constitution, penalising those advocating this sort of discrimination.
- Constitutionally guaranteed human rights
Our Constitution guarantees fundamental rights to the citizens of the country irrespective of caste, creed or religion, right to primary education, to speech, to liberty, to access information, etc, all being equal in the eyes of the law, no discrimination due to colour, creed or religion, provision of many Acts or laws against mental or physical torture of women, child labour or demanding dowry etc, existence of suitable legal provisions together with provisions of law breakers, existence of legal cells or organisations like Human Rights Commission etc.
I. Looking at Contrasts
Nelson Mandela’s writing is marked by balance : many sentences have two parts in balance.
Use the following phrases to complete the sentences given below.
(i) they can be taught to love
(ii) I was born free.
(iii) but the triumph over it.
(iv) but he who conqures that fear
(v) to creat such heights of character
- It requires such depths of oppression …………………………………..
- Courage was not the absence of fear …………………………………..
- The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid …………………………………..
- If people can learn to hate …………………………………..
- I was not born with a hunger to be free …………………………………..
- It requires such depths of oppression to create such heights of character.
- Courage was not the absence of fear but the triumph over it.
- The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.
- If people can learn to hate, they can be taught to love.
- I was not bom with a hunger to be free, I was bom free.
II. This text repeatedly contrasts the past with the present or the future. We can use coordinated clauses to contrast two views, for emphasis or effect.
Given below are sentences carrying one part of the contrast. Find in the text the second part of the contrast, and complete each item. Identify the words which signal the contrast. This has been done for you in the first item.
1. For decades the Union Buildings had been the seat of white supremacy, and now ______
2. Only moments before, the highest generals of the South African defence force and police … saluted me and pledged their loyalty. … not so many years before they would not have saluted ______
3. Although that day neither group knew the lyrics of the anthem … they would soon ______
4. My country is rich in the minerals and gems that lie beneath its soil, ______
5. The Air Show was not only a display of pinpoint precision and military force, but ______
6. It was this desire for the freedom of my people … that transformed ______ into a bold one, that drove ______ to become a criminal, that turned ______ into a man without a home.
1. ………. it was the site of a rainbow gathering of different colours and nations ……….
2. ………. they would not have saluted but arrested me.
3. ………. neither group knew the lyrics of the anthem they once despised ………. known the chords by heart.
4. ………. I have always known that its greatest wealth is its people, finer and truer than the purest diamonds.
5. ………. a demonstration of the military loyalty to democracy, to a new government ……….
6. ………. a frightened young man ………. a law-abiding attorney to become a criminal, that turned a family-loving husband into a man without a home.