Nelson Mandela: In His Own Words Review
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When I sat down to read this book, I was immediately drawn into the life of a man whom I have admired for as long as I can remember. As I read each page, I was overwhelmed, again, by the sheer atrocities suffered by the people of South Africa under the apartheid rule.

Nelson Mandela spent his life fighting against this evil. He was imprisoned for twenty-seven years for encouraging his people to protest the laws that governed them since they had no say in their making-particularly the law establishing a republic in South Africa. He was also charged with encouraging his people to go on strike and for traveling without documents. It seemed to me that they charged him with anything they thought of more to keep him in jail than because of his guilt. His was a power those who sought to quiet him would soon come to realize they could not overcome.

For twenty-seven years, the rulers of his country tried to break him. He was cut off any contact while in prison, enduring great hardships that a lesser man would have succumbed to. He was kept from his family...not allowed to attend the funeral of his son who had been killed in an automobile accident.

Nelson Mandela has had a profound impact on all of mankind with his message of freedom, equality for all and respect for human dignity. After his release from prison, he went on to become the first black President of South Africa and a recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. He received an honorary Doctor of Law Degree at Harvard University in September 1998.

Nelson Mandela - In His Own Words has been written by many as a tribute to “one of the most articulate, courageous and respected men of our time.” It chronicles his life, speeches that he has made and through the richness of his words…the history of his country. There is a section of photographs showing Nelson as a young man in law school; his meetings with Boris Yeltsin; sitting as his wife is installed as Chancellor of the University of Cape Town and his signing in of the New South Africa Constitution. There are so many more that as you look through them you can feel the pulse of his struggles. To this day he remains committed to “freedom and reconciliation, democracy and development, culture and diversity and international peace and well being.”

This book is part of the legacy of Nelson Mandela. It is a tome…a long read but well worth the time. I think it should be offered in high schools as required reading. There are many lessons to be learned.

If students remember but one passage from this book it should be this – “There is no easy walk to freedom anywhere and many of us will have to pass through the valley of the shadow of death again and again before we reach the mountain tops of our desires.” - Nelson Mandela, September 1953

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