A Long Walk To Freedom- Hal Baird

After reading this book I was reminded of Mandela’s struggle and how it resembled the struggle for civil rights here in America. Nelson Mandela’s story is very similar to Martin Luther King’s, Rosa Parks’, and the rest of the African American community in their fight for equal rights. Long Walk to Freedom is an autobiography of Mandela’s life and gives the reader insight to his success and failures along the way. He begins the book with his birth and the importance of his name “Rolihlahla” which in his native language meant “pulling the branch of a tree” but really “troublemaker”. This name turns out to be quite ironic because he caused trouble for all the right reasons. He was a man who saw what was right and did all in his power to achieve his goals. Nelson received imprisonment for rebelling, treason, and conspiracy against the South African Government. Mandela was fighting like Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks for justice. He strongly opposed to the idea of being inferior because of skin color. One of the main themes of the novel was respect, people want and need to be respected no matter where they come from. The theme of the story strongly emphasized on being dedicated to ones cause and never giving up no matter how hard it is. After all the hardships, Nelson Mandela became known as a martyr and those who oppressed him before are now praising him. This book has taught me the same things that I have grown up on, “Stand up for what is right.” And that is exactly what he did. He never gave up until the job was done.

This is a story of South Africa and the many great things about this country. After reading his words I cannot wait until we arrive at Cape Town. I have been long awaiting this trip and I plan to experience the culture in every way. This book has also reminded me of how South Africa and America will be forever linked to one another. Their apartheid was the same as our segregation. The United States was able to overcome it and I believe that South Africa will prove to be a strong democracy and continue to thrive as a united country.

Hal Baird


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