Revision Notes English Class 10 First Flight Chapter 2 Nelson Mandela – Long Walk to Freedom

English : First Flight

Chapter 2 Nelson Mandela - Long Walk to Freedom

-by Nelson Rolihalahla Mandela


The extract “Nelson Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom” is taken from the autobiography of this great man. It is a touching account of the horrible atrocities and oppression inflicted by the heartless white rulers on the innocent black natives in South Africa. The regime adopted a policy called apartheid that created one of the harshest systems ofracial discrimination in the world. Mandela shares a few of his bitter experiences during his struggle against apartheid along with the overwhelming emotions he experienced when a democratic era was finally ushered in after years of struggle.


The Inauguration
It was 10th May, the day of oath with a bright and shiny sun. Nelson Mandela was supposed to take oath as the first black President of South Africa. A large number of leaders all from around the world had gathered there to be the witness of the swearing-in ceremony of Nelson Mandela as the first black President. The inauguration ceremony took place in a big open building in Pretoria where the first democratic non-racial government was to be installed.

The Swearing-in Ceremony of Nelson Mandela
Nelson Mandela was accompanied by his daughter Zenani. Mr. de Klerk was the first person who took oath as second Deputy President followed by Mr. Thabo Mbeki who sweared as the first Deputy President of South Africa. Nelson Mandela sweared as the first black President of South Africa. He pledged to obey and uphold the Constitution and to devote himself to the well-being of the people. He also promised to make the nation free from poverty, deprivation, suffering and all sort of discrimination.

Display of the Military Power by South African Jets
When Mandela had taken oath, South African jets displayed the military power. It also showed the loyalty of military to democracy. The highest military generals saluted him. He recounted that they would have arrested him many years before. It was followed by the playing of two national anthems. The whites sang ‘Nkosi Sikelel’ the old song and the blacks sang ‘Die Stem’ the new song which marked the end of the ceremony.

Apartheid and South Africa
Nelson Mandela reminiscences (remembers) about days gone by which will soon be the part of history where the whites had formed a system of racial dominance against the blacks. It was the basis of the harsh societies which is now overturned. He says that the policy of apartheid (policy of racial segregation) created a deep and lasting wound on his country and its people. Now it is the system that recognised the rights and freedom of all people.

Regret of Mandela and Remembrance of Freedom Fighters
On the auspicious day, Mandela regretted the loss of thousands of people and remembered their sacrifices for the freedom from discrimination. He thought of himself as the sum of all those African patriots who sacrificed their lives before him. He was pained that he couldn’t thank them. He recalled great freedom fighters like Oliver, Tambos, Walter Sisulu, Chief Luthuli, Yusuf Dadoo etc. who were the men of uncommon courage, wisdom and generosity. He said that the country is rich in minerals but its greatest wealth is its people.

Goodness and Duties of a Man
The author says that being white or black is not the token of your goodness or superiority. No one is born hating other, people should love one another which comes without force as it is natural. It is man’s essential goodness. A man has to perform duties to his family, community and country which he didn’t see in his country before he pushed himself to fight for the blacks. A black man was punished if he tried to live like a human being and forced to live apart from his own people. So, he was not allowed to perform his duties to his family.

Meaning of Freedom by Mandela
As a kid, Mandela had different meaning for being free as he wanted to run in the fields and wanted to stay out at night. As he grew older, he wanted the freedom of livelihood for himself and his family. But soon he realised that such freedom was only an illusion. He realised that his brothers and sisters who looked like him were not free, so he joined African National Congress (ANC). His hunger for freedom became great for the freedom of his people. He desired that everyone should be given the right to live his life with dignity and respect. He wanted the oppressor and the oppressed to be liberated. As no one is free if one is taking someone else’s freedom. Only such feelings can bring true freedom for everyone.

Conclusion of Nelson Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom
The brave man is not the one who does not feel afraid, but he is the one who conquers that fear. Mandela said that every man has his duties towards his country and community too.


“Nelson Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom” is a befitting title for this extract. It is an autobiographical account by this great South African leader and deals with the long and arduous journey he undertook to bring liberation to his countrymen. He had to struggle against the cruel apartheid regime for over eight decades, which was preceded by three centuries of tireless efforts of his patriotic countrymen. The entire extract focuses on the various stages of the ‘walk’ that led Mandela and his country to ‘freedom’. Therefore, the title clearly connects to the contents of the extract that follows.


The chapter explores the idea of struggle, setback, renewed hopes and ultimate triumph of truth. Its theme is summed up in the last sentence of the extract, “The oppressed and the oppressor alike are robbed of their humanity.” Nelson Mandela shares his experiences to convey the thought that freedom is an individual’s birth right.

Oppression is condemnable when it is inflicted as well as when it is tolerated. People all over the world are equal and deserve respect, irrespective of their cast, creed or skin-colour. So, those who look down upon their fellow beings or mistreat them, behave against the laws of nature. The natural tendency of human beings is to love and not to hate. This flame of love can never be extinguished. Therefore, the chains of hatred that bind the oppressor and the chains that deprive anyone ofhis rights, must be broken.


Nelson Mandela, the legendary South African leader and the author of this extract, clearly advocates the supremacy of love. He conveys the message that love comes more naturally to living beings than hatred. Love and compassion are inborn while hatred is acquired. Therefore, the flame of goodness and love in man can never be extinguished. The author also wants human beings to accept the need for compassion even for one’s oppressor. He believes that liberation from bondage is essential for both the oppressed and the oppressor since slavery robs them both of their humanity.

Another message that the author wishes to impart is about ‘courage’. Courage does not stand for absence of fear, but it actually lies in overcoming fear. So, one must struggle fearlessly for a just cause. Courage helps ordinary people do extraordinary things. It also gives the ability of resilience that helps to fight the adversities of life.


Nelson Mandela

  • This autobiographical extract tells us that Nelson Mandela was born in a family with adequate means. As a child he was free to do whatever he liked as long as he was obedient and honoured the customs of his tribe. On growing up, he acquired education and realised that the freedom enjoyed by him in his childhood was a myth. He found himself and his countrymen bound by racial oppression and discrimination. His love of freedom made him react very strongly against it.
  • Mandela was a courageous person and did not fear anything. He had immense will-power to undergo a long and difficult struggle for almost eight decades before he won freedom for his countrymen. He was a humble man with gratitude in his heart for all those who had kept the flame of freedom-struggle alive before he carried on their legacy. He had a kind heartand boreno malice against anyone.
  • As a dedicated leader of the African National Congress, Mandela worked all his life for peace and humanity. His resilience and selflessness earned him love and respect from the whole world. His views, that even the oppressor requires to be liberated from the chains of hatred that bind him, indicate that he was an apostle of love and harmony. This dynamic leader eventually succeeded in realising his aim to setup a democratic non-racial government in South Africa.
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