I've always had a great admiration for Nelson Mandela, but have only known the very basics about his life and political career. Whenever I saw him on TV I was always captivated by the man who had ruled a nation, yet seemed so grounded and modest that I could only respect him. I have to admit that up to the point of reading this book I was totally ignorant to the extremities of apartheid in South Africa for which Mr. Mandela had given his entire life to beating. I have now read these wonderful memoirs in their entirety and must say my admiration and respect for the man has increased to a level I genuinely cannot describe. Having an interest in history, this was undoubtedly a book that I had to read at some point, but up until this point I had, in my mind, placed the struggle against apartheid along the same lines as the civil rights movement in the United States; but I have now come to realise that, although there are similarities, there are a lot more differences.
One of the most glaring differences between the two, which Mr. Mandela touched upon in his memoirs, was that in the United States the black population were guaranteed equal rights through their constitution but simply had these taken away from them by the racist political elites, whereas in South Africa, there was legislation and laws forbidding equality to the black majority of the country and this helps distinguish very clearly the route Mr. Mandela had to take in beating apartheid. I'm not going to say much about the story itself as it's one to be read and enjoyed first hand, but I will give my impressions on Mr. Mandela which were gained purely from reading his memoirs. I gained the impression that he has always been aware he's not perfect, nor is he one that thinks he's always right. He is a man that shows respect to every person he meets, but he won't shy away from an argument or a battle when he is attacked either verbally or physically. He's a man of reflection and integrity; he will look back on a past decision and say honestly whether it was the right or wrong call of the time. He's a man who has a lot of love and respect for all of his family, political friends and his country. He has given all of his life in the pursuit of freedom for his country, and he deserves out respect for that.
He has a remarkable story to tell and it would be a shame if anyone who read this review or at some point had seen this book whilst browsing and skipped past it without even considering what they could learn. I've now an enormous appreciation for the fight which Mr. Mandela put up against the immense oppression of the South African government; and perhaps it has a greater message to send. The message we can all take from this is that, no matter how big the government or how powerful the oppression, the strength of human will and desire can truly overcome any obstacle thrown at it. Mr. Mandela also expresses a very strong message about there being goodness in all of us, no matter how much we try to hide it. He shows compassion towards those who were once his enemies as he realises that they are all good people at heart, and it is him and those like him that must teach those in the world whose job it is to hate, exactly how much better it is to love your enemy.
Beautiful life story of a beautiful man. You must own this book.
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About the reviewer
Steven Stewart (Steveo)
Currently studying Law at University, my main interests revolve around Politics. I read quite a lot and love learning about History. Not just the history of a specific time, place and person, but I'm … more
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