After reading Long Walk to Freedom I think I have a much broader appreciation for not only Nelson Mandela but also the country of South Africa as well. The book walks you through the life of Nelson Mandela and takes you to each individual place that he remembers. Each location that is given is so significant in regards to a specific time in Nelson Mandela’s life and they give insight into the key events in his life that shaped him and molded him into the man he is today.
It is clear that this book tells the reader about the key events Nelson Mandela has come across in his life and the places where he has been but I think that it also tells the reader about South Africa as a whole. Through the descriptions of the events and people Nelson Mandela encounters the reader not only sees the happenings that shaped Mandela but what also shaped the country of South Africa as a whole. Early on when reading through “A Country Childhood,” and “Johannesburg,” I could see the make up of the country. I could see where Nelson Mandela came from and the rural side of South Africa, at Mvezo a tiny village on the banks of the Mbashe River in the district of Umtata, the captial of the Transkei. During his encounter at the police station over his fathers old gun it was evident that Mandela made clear note in his book that the officer was white that he spoke to and I think that this shows the ongoing “tension” between the different races in the country. As the novel progressed I could see where Mandela by some way or another found himself in new place surrounded by new people, new challenges, and new developing culture all around him that he felt the call to learn more about.
One of the most noticeable things about Mandela in this book is that he loves the simple things. Early on in “A Country Childhood” he tells us that he used to love the rolling hills and fertile valleys, and later on page 68 he describes Johannesburg in his own simple way, “Johannesburg in those days was a combination frontier town and modern city.” I feel like this is the exact same way that he went about his life and later went about politics. He was extremely honest and dealt with circumstances face to face and at the root (p. 67).
I feel like Nelson Mandela truly laid the foundation for the country of South Africa. The country can look to his leadership style and decision making abilities and follow after him in an attempt to strive on to become and even greater country. No doubt there is still some struggle within the country but Nelson Mandela also left a legacy that I believe we will see more of down the road at some point. By his leadership he has impacted other and influenced their leadership styles and characteristics. By having the opportunity to just be in South Africa we will be able to literally see the impact that Nelson Mandela has made and that is what gets me excited. I can read all I want and hear all I want about how great this man has been for this country, but I believe this trip will allow me to see his impact on a real and personal level.