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Long Walk to Freedom

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Long Walk to Freedom

The Autobiography of Nelson Mandela

Little, Brown US,

15 min read
10 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

Nelson Mandela’s candid, heroic life story inspires, informs and instructs

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Editorial Rating



  • Innovative


Reading this firsthand, contemporaneous account of Nelson Mandela’s life is an extraordinary opportunity. Mandela, a South African freedom fighter and a political prisoner for 27 years, tells his own saga of how he helped his black countrymen throw off their apartheid chains, how the African National Congress waged and won its struggle, and how he became his nation’s first black president. Learn all this and more, directly from the living legend who brought it to pass. getAbstract recommends this compelling autobiography, an inside view of South Africa’s struggle and the revered Mandela’s unique political life.


The Birth of the “Troublemaker”

Nelson Mandela was born on July 18, 1918, in a small village in South Africa’s Transkei region. His father named him Rolihlahla, which colloquially translates to “troublemaker” in Xhosa. This moniker proved prophetic. Mandela was born to a noble lineage. His father was a chief of the Thembu tribe, part of the ancient Xhosa nation. As a child, Mandela was a “herd-boy,” tending calves and sheep. His meager diet consisted primarily of “mealies” (corn). He attended a small one-room schoolhouse in his village, often wearing his father’s cutoff pants secured by a string around the waist.

When Mandela was nine, his father died. His family sent him to live with Chief Jongintaba Dalindyebo, the Thembu’s acting regent in Mqhekezweni, “the great place,” Thembuland’s provincial capital. He received a good education for a black South African of his generation, studying at Healdtown, a Wesleyan college in Fort Beaufort, and at the University College of Fort Hare, in Alice. While he was a student, the regent arranged for him to marry the daughter of a Thembu priest. He refused and ran away to Johannesburg.

A Rebel from the Start


About the Author

After 27 years in prison, Nelson Mandela became president of South Africa from 1994 to 1999. He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993.

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    L. C. 3 years ago
    This quote inspires my daily labor. "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world" As you might have guessed I am teacher and I'm proud to be part of this wondrous thought.
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    A. M. 3 years ago
    This helped me do my LIFE SKILLS PROJECT
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    S. K. 4 years ago
    The summary omits to mention that Mandela and others were found with plans to plant explosives and blow up Johannesburg Station; this lead to his conviction and imprisonment.