Class 10- “Nelson Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom”

Nelson Mandela,Long Walk to Freedom,Mandela

Chapter 2, “Nelson Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom” Summary, Theme, Important Passages, Character Sketch, Question Answers and MCQs.

Chapter 2- Nelson Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela:

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  • Amphitheatre: An oval or circular open-air venue with tiered seating, often used for performances or ceremonies.
  • Anglo-Boer War: The South African War lasted from 1899 to 1902 and was fought between the British Empire and the Boer states in South Africa.
  • Apartheid: A political system characterised by racial segregation and discrimination, particularly the system that existed in South Africa before its abolition.
  • Bedazzled: Impressed or dazzled, often in a glamorous or extravagant manner.
  • Bondage: The state of being enslaved or oppressed.
  • Bram Fischer: Refers to Bram Fischer, a South African lawyer and anti-apartheid activist.
  • Chevron: A V-shaped pattern or symbol.
  • Civil: Related to citizens or their rights, particularly within a society or a country.
  • Dignitaries: People who hold high positions or have earned respect and honour, often due to their achievements or societal roles.
  • Emancipation: The act of being set free from legal, social, or political restrictions.
  • Flame: A symbol of passion, vitality, or goodness, often used metaphorically to represent positive human qualities or emotions.
  • Glory: Great honour, praise, or distinction; in this context, it refers to the honour and pride associated with achieving freedom and justice.
  • Glimmer: A faint or brief indication or appearance; in this context, it refers to a small sign of humanity or compassion.
  • Jubilant: Feeling or expressing great joy or happiness.
  • Narrow-mindedness: The quality of being intolerant or limited in perspective or understanding.
  • Non-racial: A term indicating the absence of racial discrimination or bias, promoting equality among all races.
  • Oppression: Prolonged cruel or unjust treatment or control over others.
  • Patch up: To mend or repair, often used figuratively to describe the resolution of differences or conflicts.
  • Pledge: To make a solemn promise or commitment.
  • Pretoria: The administrative capital of South Africa, where the inauguration ceremony took place.
  • Prejudice: Preconceived opinion not based on reason or experience is often harmful and unfair.
  • Resilience: The ability to recover quickly from difficulties or challenging situations.
  • Sobukwes: Refers to Robert Sobukwe, a prominent anti-apartheid political leader in South Africa.
  • Triumph: A great victory or achievement.
  • Troop carriers: Vehicles or aircraft designed to transport troops or soldiers.
  • Twilight: A period or state of obscurity, ambiguity, or gradual decline; metaphorically used to describe a state of secrecy or rebellion.
  • Transitory: Temporary or short-lived; not lasting indefinitely.
  • Troop carriers: Vehicles or aircraft designed to transport troops or soldiers.

Summary “Nelson Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom”:

The excerpt from Nelson Mandela’s autobiography “Long Walk to Freedom” recounts his journey from childhood freedom to realising systemic oppression in South Africa. Mandela’s political awakening led him to join the African National Congress, advocating for the freedom of his people. Through sacrifices and struggles, Mandela became a symbol of resistance against apartheid. The excerpt highlights Mandela’s inauguration as South Africa’s first black president in 1994, marking the end of apartheid and the beginning of a new era of democracy and equality. Mandela emphasises the interconnectedness of freedom, acknowledging that true liberation requires the emancipation of the oppressed and the oppressor. Through his narrative, Mandela portrays the universal quest for dignity, equality, and human rights.

Theme “Nelson Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom”:

The excerpt “Nelson Mandela: Long Walks to Freedom” revolves around the struggle for freedom, equality, and justice in the context of South Africa’s transition from apartheid to democracy. Several key themes emerge from Nelson Mandela’s reflections and experiences:

  • Triumph Over Adversity: The excerpt highlights the victory of the human spirit over adversity as Mandela recounts the long and arduous struggle against apartheid. Despite facing oppression, imprisonment, and personal sacrifice, Mandela and his fellow activists persevered in their quest for freedom and equality.
  • Reconciliation and Forgiveness: Mandela emphasises the importance of reconciliation and forgiveness in building a new, democratic South Africa. He calls for unity among people of all races and backgrounds, advocating for a society where past injustices can be acknowledged and overcome through dialogue and understanding.
  • Leadership and Vision: Mandela’s leadership and visionary outlook play a central role in the excerpt. He articulates a compelling vision of a non-racial, democratic society based on equality, justice, and human dignity principles. Mandela’s leadership inspires hope and optimism among his followers and serves as a guiding light in the struggle against apartheid.
  • Sacrifice and Resilience: The excerpt highlights the sacrifices made by Mandela and his comrades in the fight against apartheid. Mandela reflects on the courage, resilience, and determination of those who endured imprisonment, torture, and persecution for the cause of freedom. Their unwavering commitment to justice is a testament to the strength of the human spirit.

Character Sketch:

Based on the excerpt from Nelson Mandela’s autobiography “Long Walks to Freedom.”

Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela:

Background: Born in 1918 in the village of Mvezo in South Africa, Nelson Mandela grew up in a society deeply entrenched in racial segregation and discrimination. Despite facing numerous challenges and injustices due to the apartheid system, Mandela pursued his education and became actively involved in the fight against racial oppression.

Personality Traits:

  • Courageous: Mandela demonstrates immense courage throughout his life, from his involvement in the anti-apartheid movement to his imprisonment on Robben Island. Despite facing considerable personal risk and hardship, he remains steadfast in his commitment to justice and equality.
  • Resilient: Despite enduring thirty years of imprisonment, Mandela maintains a resilient spirit and refuses to be broken by the oppressive regime. He emerges from his incarceration determined to continue fighting for freedom and justice for all South Africans.
  • Compassionate: Mandela’s compassion is evident in his dedication to the well-being of his people and his commitment to reconciliation and forgiveness. He seeks to unite South Africans of all races and backgrounds, promoting a vision of a non-racial, democratic society.
  • Visionary: Mandela possesses a visionary outlook, believing in the possibility of a South Africa where all citizens are treated equally regardless of race. He articulates a vision of democracy, peace, and human dignity, inspiring hope and optimism among his fellow countrymen.
  • Statesmanlike: Mandela exhibits statesmanlike qualities as a leader, demonstrating diplomacy, eloquence, and wisdom. He navigates the complexities of political transition with grace and foresight, earning the respect and admiration of both domestic and international audiences.

Nelson Mandela emerged as a towering figure in the struggle against apartheid, embodying the ideals of courage, resilience, compassion, and visionary leadership. His journey from activist to president symbolised the triumph of the human spirit over adversity and inspired generations worldwide.

Important Passages/Lines “Nelson Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom”: 

1. “Today, all of us do, by our presence here… confer glory and hope to newborn liberty.It reflects on the collective impact of the attendees, suggesting that their mere presence contributes to the celebration and affirmation of newfound freedom and hope for the nation.

2. “Out of the experience of an extraordinary human disaster that lasted too long, must be born a society of which all humanity will be proud.” This line reflects on the enduring struggle against apartheid, characterising it as an “extraordinary human disaster” that persisted for too long. It underscores the necessity of emerging from this dark chapter to establish a society where all humanity can take pride.

3. “We have, at last, achieved our political emancipation.” It signifies the culmination of the struggle for political liberation, declaring that the people have finally attained their political freedom after years of oppression under apartheid.

4. “We pledge ourselves to liberate all our people from the continuing bondage of poverty, deprivation, suffering, gender and other discrimination.” Mandela and his compatriots pledge to work towards the liberation of all South Africans from various forms of oppression and discrimination, including poverty, deprivation, suffering, and gender discrimination. This commitment reflects the broader goals of the liberation movement beyond political emancipation, aiming for social and economic justice for all citizens.

5. “Never, never, and never again shall it be that this beautiful land will again experience the oppression of one by another.” Mandela declared an unwavering commitment to ensuring that South Africa never returned to the oppressive system of apartheid, where one group was subjected to the domination of another. This statement underscores the determination to build a society based on equality, justice, and respect for all individuals, regardless of race or background.

6. “The sun shall never set on so glorious a human achievement.” Here, Mandela expresses his belief in the enduring significance and impact of South Africa’s achievement in overcoming apartheid. By proclaiming that the sun shall never set on this glorious human achievement, he suggests that the legacy of freedom and justice established in South Africa will remain enduring and far-reaching, casting a bright light for future generations.

7. “Let freedom reign. God bless Africa!” This line concludes Mandela’s speech with a call for freedom to prevail and a blessing for the nation of Africa. It captures the overarching theme of the speech, emphasising the importance of freedom, justice, and unity for the African continent as a whole.

8. “The day was symbolised for me by the playing of our two national anthems…” Mandela reflects on the symbolic significance of hearing the old and new national anthems during the inauguration ceremony. This moment represents the transition from the old era of apartheid, characterised by division and oppression, to the new era of democracy and inclusivity. It symbolises the reconciliation and unity of all South Africans, regardless of their past divisions, under the banner of a new democratic South Africa.

9. “Now, in the last decade of the twentieth century… that system had been overturned forever and replaced by one that recognised the rights and freedoms of all peoples, regardless of the colour of their skin.” Mandela reflects on South Africa’s profound transformation in the final decade of the twentieth century. He acknowledges the end of apartheid, emphasising that the oppressive system has been permanently overturned and replaced by a new order that upholds the rights and freedoms of all individuals, regardless of race. This marks a significant shift towards inclusivity and equality in South African society.

10. “The policy of apartheid created a deep and lasting wound in my country and my people.” Mandela acknowledges the detrimental impact of apartheid on South Africa, describing it as a deep and lasting wound inflicted upon both the nation and its people. This line underscores the extensive damage caused by the policy of racial segregation, highlighting the pain and suffering endured by generations of South Africans as a result of apartheid’s discriminatory practices.

11. “But the decades of oppression and brutality had another, unintended, effect, and that was that it produced the Oliver Tambos, the Walter Sisulus, the Chief Luthulis, the Yusuf Dadoos, the Bram Fischers, the Robert Sobukwes of our time…” Mandela acknowledges the unintended consequences of decades of oppression and brutality under apartheid. Despite the hardships endured, he recognises that this period also gave rise to remarkable individuals who exhibited extraordinary courage, wisdom, and generosity in the face of adversity. By listing the names of prominent anti-apartheid activists, Mandela pays tribute to their resilience and contributions to the struggle for freedom.

12. “Perhaps it requires such depths of oppression to create such heights of character.” Mandela reflects on the paradoxical nature of oppression, suggesting that it may foster the development of remarkable character traits in those who resist it. He implies that the immense challenges of oppression can cultivate extraordinary courage, resilience, and moral strength in individuals, enabling them to rise above their circumstances and become beacons of hope and inspiration for others.

13. “My country is rich in the minerals and gems that lie beneath its soil, but I have always known that its greatest wealth is its people, finer and truer than the purest diamonds.” Mandela emphasises the intrinsic value of the South African people, highlighting their resilience, integrity, and humanity. Despite the country’s abundant natural resources, he asserts that its greatest wealth lies in its people, who possess more precious qualities than any material riches. This sentiment underscores Mandela’s belief in the importance of human dignity and the need to prioritise the well-being and empowerment of all South Africans in the nation’s journey towards reconciliation and prosperity.

14. “In life, every man has twin obligations — obligations to his family, to his parents, to his wife and children; and he has an obligation to his people, his community, his country.” Mandela articulates the dual responsibilities that individuals face in life: obligations to their immediate family and loved ones, and commitments to their broader community, society, and nation. This statement reflects Mandela’s belief in the interconnectedness of individual and collective well-being, suggesting that individuals must balance their responsibilities with their duties towards the greater good of society.

15. “But in a country like South Africa, it was almost impossible for a man of my birth and colour to fulfil both of those obligations.” Mandela acknowledges the systemic barriers faced by individuals of his racial and social background in South Africa. Despite the universal nature of familial and societal obligations, he highlights the stark reality that in a country plagued by institutionalised racism like South Africa, individuals like himself often find it exceedingly difficult to fulfil both sets of obligations simultaneously. This speaks to the profound impact of apartheid on the lives of ordinary South Africans, particularly those who were marginalised and oppressed due to their race.

16. “I was not born with a hunger to be free. I was born free — free in every way that I could know.” Mandela reflects on the innate sense of freedom he believes all individuals possess from birth. He contrasts this intrinsic freedom with the oppressive conditions imposed by apartheid, suggesting that his desire for independence was not something acquired later in life but rather a natural aspect of his existence. This assertion underscores Mandela’s belief in the universality of human rights and the inherent dignity of every individual, regardless of external circumstances.

17. “But then I slowly saw that not only was I not free, but my brothers and sisters were not free. I saw that it was not just my freedom that was curtailed, but the freedom of everyone who looked like I did. That is when I joined the African National Congress, and that is when the hunger for my own freedom became the greater hunger for the freedom of my people…” In this passage, Mandela reflects on his journey towards activism and the realisation that his lack of freedom was intertwined with the oppression faced by others who shared his race.

He recognised that the denial of liberty extended beyond himself to his community, leading him to join the African National Congress. His quest for freedom transformed into a broader commitment to fight for the liberation of his people, highlighting the interconnectedness of personal and collective struggles for freedom and justice.

18. “It was this desire for the freedom of my people to live their lives with dignity and selfrespect that animated my life,……………..the chains on anyone of my people were the chains on all of them, the chains on all of my people were the chains on me.” In this passage, Mandela describes how his dedication to the freedom and dignity of his people transformed him from a timid individual into a relentless activist. He explains how his commitment led him to make personal sacrifices, risking his status as a lawyer and enduring separation from his family.

Mandela emphasises the interconnectedness of freedom, recognising that he could not truly enjoy his liberties while his people suffered oppression. He views freedom as indivisible, understanding that the oppression of any individual within his community affects everyone.

19. “I knew that the oppressor must be liberated just as surely as the oppressed. A man who takes away another man’s freedom is a prisoner of hatred; ……………………… just as surely as I am not free when my freedom is taken from me. The oppressed and the oppressor alike are robbed of their humanity.” In this passage, Mandela expresses a profound insight into the nature of oppression and freedom. He claims that true freedom cannot exist if it is gained at the expense of others’ freedom. Mandela believes that oppressors are also imprisoned by their prejudices and narrow-mindedness, as their actions are driven by hatred and the desire to control others.

He emphasises that both the oppressed and the oppressor lose their humanity in the process, as oppression degrades both parties. Mandela’s words convey a message of empathy and the importance of breaking the cycle of oppression to restore the dignity and humanity of all individuals involved.

20. “…I did not in the beginning choose to place my people above my family, but in attempting to serve my people, I found that ………………… As long as I obeyed my father and abided by the customs of my tribe, I was not troubled by the laws of man or God.” Mandela reflects on his sacrifices to serve his people, which often conflicted with his familial obligations. He contrasts his early life with the later realisation that apartheid restricted his freedom, acknowledging that his childhood freedom was conditional upon obeying the customs of his tribe.

Question Answers “Nelson Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom”: 

Oral Comprehension Check:

Q1: Where did the ceremonies take place? Can you name any public buildings in India that are made of sandstone? 

A1: The ceremonies occurred at the Union Buildings in Pretoria, South Africa. The Red Fort in Delhi is one of the few public buildings in India made of sandstone.

Q2: Can you say how 10 May is an ‘autumn day’ in South Africa?

A2: May 10 is an ‘autumn day’ in South Africa because the southern hemisphere experiences autumn during March, April, and May. Therefore, May 10 falls within the autumn season in South Africa.

Q3: At the beginning of his speech, Mandela mentions “an extraordinary human disaster”. What does he mean by this? What is the “glorious … human achievement” he speaks of at the end?

A3: The “extraordinary human disaster” refers to the system of apartheid in South Africa, characterised by racial segregation, discrimination, and oppression. The “glorious human achievement” he speaks of at the end is the end of apartheid and the establishment of a democratic, non-racial government in South Africa.

Q4: What does Mandela thank the international leaders for?

A4: Mandela thanks the international leaders for attending the inauguration ceremony and supporting South Africa’s journey towards democracy and freedom.

Q5: What ideals does he set out for the future of South Africa?

A5: Mandela sets out ideals for the future of South Africa, including the liberation of all people from poverty, deprivation, suffering, and discrimination. He pledges to establish a society based on justice, peace, and human dignity, where all individuals have equal rights and opportunities.

Q6: What do the military generals do? How has their attitude changed, and why?

A6: The military generals salute Mandela and pledge loyalty to the new government that has been freely and fairly elected. This demonstrates a significant change in attitude, as previously, they would have arrested Mandela as an outlaw. Their loyalty now symbolises the military’s commitment to democracy and the newly elected government.

Q7:  Why were two national anthems sung?

A7: Two national anthems were sung to symbolise the transition from the old era of apartheid to the new era of democracy and inclusivity. This gesture represented reconciliation and unity among all South Africans, regardless of their past divisions.

Q8: How does Mandela describe the systems of government in his country

(i) in the first decade, and (ii) in the final decade, of the twentieth century?

A8: (i) In the first decade of the twentieth century, Mandela describes the government in his country as one characterised by racial domination, where white-skinned people imposed a system of apartheid against dark-skinned people.

(ii) In the final decade of the twentieth century, Mandela describes the government as one that has overturned the system of apartheid and replaced it with a new order that recognises the rights and freedoms of all peoples, regardless of the colour of their skin.

Q9: What does courage mean to Mandela?

A9: Courage, to Mandela, means the triumph over fear. He believes courage is not the absence of fear but rather the ability to overcome it and stand up for what one believes in, even in the face of adversity.

Q10: Which does he think is natural, to love or to hate?

A10: Mandela believes it is natural to love rather than hate. He expresses this belief by stating that people must learn to hate, suggesting that love comes more naturally to the human heart than hatred.

Q11: What “twin obligations” does Mandela mention?

A11: Mandela mentions the “twin obligations” of every man: obligations to his family, such as parents, wife, and children, and obligations to his people, community, and country.

Q12: What did being free mean to Mandela as a boy, and as a student? How does he contrast these “transitory freedoms” with “the basic and honourable freedoms”?

A12: To Mandela, being free as a boy meant enjoying the simple pleasures of childhood, such as running in fields and swimming in streams, within the boundaries of his tribe’s customs. As a student, being free meant enjoying transitory freedoms like staying out at night and reading what he pleased. He contrasts these with the fundamental and honourable liberties of adulthood, such as achieving his potential, earning his keep, and living a lawful life, which were denied to him under apartheid.

Q13: Does Mandela think the oppressor is free? Why/Why not?

A13: No, Mandela does not think the oppressor is free. He believes that the oppressor is imprisoned by hatred and prejudice, locked behind the bars of narrow-mindedness. He argues that taking away someone else’s freedom makes the oppressor a prisoner of their hatred, thus denying them true freedom.

Thinking About The Text:

Q1: Why did such a large number of international leaders attend the inauguration? What did it signify the triumph of?

A1: A large number of international leaders attended the inauguration to show their support for the end of apartheid and the establishment of a democratic, non-racial government in South Africa. Their presence signified the triumph of democracy, justice, and human dignity over the oppressive system of apartheid.

Q2: What does Mandela mean when he says he is “simply the sum of all those African patriots” who had gone before him?

A2: When Mandela says he is “simply the sum of all those African patriots” who had gone before him, he means that his identity and actions are shaped by the struggles and sacrifices of those who fought for freedom before him. He acknowledges that he is part of a larger legacy of African patriots who dedicated their lives to the liberation of their people.

Q3: Would you agree that the “depths of oppression” create “heights of character”? How does Mandela illustrate this? Can you add your own examples to this argument?

A3: Yes, it can be argued that the depths of oppression can create character heights. Mandela illustrates this by highlighting the extraordinary courage, wisdom, and resilience displayed by individuals during times of oppression. For example, individuals like Nelson Mandela himself, Mahatma Gandhi, and Martin Luther King Jr. faced extreme adversity and oppression. Still, they emerged as symbols of hope and inspiration through their unwavering commitment to justice and equality.

My example: Birsa Munda was a tribal leader who fought against British oppression in India during the late 19th century. He organised the Santhal community to revolt against the British authorities, witnessing firsthand the injustices and hardships faced by his people under colonial rule.

Q4: How did Mandela’s understanding of freedom change with age and experience?

A4: Mandela’s understanding of freedom evolved with age and experience. Initially, he believed he was born free and enjoyed personal freedoms within the confines of his tribal customs. However, as he grew older and became aware of the injustices of apartheid, his understanding of freedom expanded to include the broader struggle for political, social, and economic liberation for all South Africans, regardless of race.

Q5: How did Mandela’s ‘hunger for freedom’ change his life?

A5: Mandela’s hunger for freedom transformed his life by leading him to become a prominent anti-apartheid activist and ultimately the first black President of South Africa. His commitment to the liberation of his people propelled him to endure personal sacrifices, including imprisonment and separation from his family, in pursuit of justice and equality.

Thinking About Language: 

I. There are nouns in the text (formation, government) which are formed from the corresponding verbs (form, govern) by suffixing -(at)ion or ment. There may be a change in the spelling of some verb – noun pairs: such as rebel, rebellion; constitute, and constitution.

1. Make a list of such pairs of nouns and verbs in the text.

Rebellion Rebel
Constitution Constitute
Formation Form
Emancipation Emancipate
Transformation Transform

2. Read the paragraph below. Fill in the blanks with the noun forms of the verbs in brackets.

Martin Luther King’s contribution to our history as an outstanding leader began when he came to the assistance of Rosa Parks, a seamstress who refused to give up her seat on a bus to a white passenger. In those days American Blacks were confined to positions of second class citizenship by restrictive laws and customs. To break these laws would mean subjugation and humiliation by the police and the legal system. Beatings, imprisonment and sometimes death awaited those who defied the System. Martin Luther King’s tactics of protest involved non-violent resistance to racial injustice.

II. Using the Definite Article with Names:

You know the definite article ‘the’ is not normally used before proper nouns. Nor do proper nouns usually occur in the plural. (We do not say:

*The Nelson Mandela, or *Nelson Mandelas.) But now look at this sentence from the text:

… the decades of oppression and brutality … produced the Oliver Tambos, the Walter Sisulus, … of our time.

Choose the right answer.

(a) for example Oliver Tambo, Walter Sisulu, …

(b) many other men like Oliver Tambo, Walter Sisulu …/many men of their type or kind, whose names may not be as well known.


Yes, option (b) is correct. When “the” is used with proper names in the plural form, it generally refers to many other individuals who share characteristics or attributes similar to the named individuals, even if their names are not explicitly mentioned.

  • Mr Singh regularly invites the Amitabh Bachchans and the Shah Rukh Khans to his parties. This means that Mr Singh regularly invites individuals similar to Amitabh Bachchan and Shah Rukh Khan, likely referring to other well-known celebrities or influential people in the entertainment industry.
  • Many people think that Madhuri Dixit is the Madhubala of our times. This implies that she has qualities similar to those of Madhubala, a renowned actress from a previous era.
  • History is not only the story of the Alexanders, the Napoleons and the Hitlers, but of ordinary people as well. This suggests that history involves famous figures like Alexander the Great, Napoleon Bonaparte, and Adolf Hitler, as well as ordinary individuals who played significant roles in shaping historical events.

III. Idiomatic Expressions:

Match the italicised phrases in Column A with the phrase nearest in meaning in Column B. (Hint: First look for the sentence in the text in which the phrase in Column A occurs.)


1. I was not unmindful of the fact

  • (i) had not forgotten; was aware of the fact

2. when my comrades and I were pushed to our limits

  • (iii) felt that we could not endure the suffering any longer

3. to reassure me and keep me going

  • (ii) help me continue to live in hope in this very difficult situation

4. the basic and honourable freedoms of…earning my keep

  • (i) earning enough money to live on


In groups, discuss the issues suggested in the box below. Then prepare a speech of about two minutes on the following topic. (First, make notes for your speech in writing.)

True liberty is freedom from poverty, deprivation and all forms of discrimination.

• causes of poverty and means of overcoming it

• discrimination based on gender, religion, class, etc.

• constitutionally guaranteed human rights

For students: 

While attempting this exercise, students should focus on:

  • Understanding the given topic comprehensively, including its various aspects and implications.
  • Making clear and concise notes covering critical points related to the topic.
  • Structuring the speech effectively, with a clear introduction, body, and conclusion.
  • Providing relevant examples or evidence to support their arguments.
  • Using language that is formal, persuasive, and engaging.
  • Practising speaking fluently and confidently within the allotted time frame.
  • Revising and refining their speech for clarity, coherence, and impact.

Sample Notes:

Nelson Mandela,Long Walk to Freedom,Mandela

Key to Abbreviations

Abbreviations Words

Sample Speech:


Ladies and gentlemen,

What does true liberty mean to you? Is it merely the absence of political oppression, or does it extend beyond to encompass freedom from poverty, deprivation, and discrimination? Today, I stand before you to delve into the depths of true liberty, exploring its multifaceted nature and the imperative need for a society where every individual can thrive without barriers.

(Transition to Body)

Let’s first dissect the concept of true liberty. It goes beyond the mere absence of chains; it embodies the freedom from socioeconomic constraints that shackle individuals from realising their full potential.


(Causes of Poverty and Overcoming It)

Consider the scourge of poverty. It is not merely the result of individual failings, but systemic injustices perpetuate inequality. Lack of access to education, economic disparities, and unequal distribution of resources serve as formidable barriers. However, the remedy lies in our commitment to equitable policies, access to education, and empowering individuals through employment opportunities and social welfare programs.


Yet, true liberty remains elusive in the face of discrimination. Whether based on gender, religion, class, or ethnicity, discrimination erects insurmountable walls, hindering individuals from accessing their rights and opportunities. We must confront discrimination head-on, fostering a society where everyone is valued and respected regardless of their differences.


(Human Rights)

Let us remember the bedrock of true liberty: constitutionally guaranteed human rights. These rights protect against oppression and injustice, ensuring everyone is entitled to dignity, equality, and freedom. However, more than the mere existence of laws is required; we must ensure their effective implementation and uphold the rights of all citizens, regardless of their socio-economic status or background.


In conclusion, true liberty is the cornerstone of a just and equitable society where everyone enjoys freedom from poverty, deprivation, and discrimination. We must strive to build such a society where the lofty ideals of liberty and justice are not mere aspirations but tangible realities for all. Let us join hands in this noble endeavour, for in the pursuit of true liberty lies the promise of a brighter and more inclusive future for generations to come.

Thank you.



I. Looking at Contrasts:

Nelson Mandela’s writing is marked by balance: many sentences have two parts in balance.

Use the following phrases to complete the sentences given below.

(i) They can be taught to love.

(ii) I was born free.

(iii) but the triumph over it.

(iv) but he who conquers that fear.

(v) to create such heights of character.


  1. It requires such depths of oppression to create such heights of character.
  2. Courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it.
  3. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.
  4. If people can learn to hate, they can be taught to love.
  5. I was not born with a hunger to be free. I was born free.

II. This text repeatedly contrasts the past with the present or the future. We can use coordinated clauses to contrast two views, for emphasis or effect.

Given below are sentences carrying one part of the contrast. 

Find in the text the second part of the contrast in the text, and complete each item. Identify the words which signal the contrast. This has been done for you in the first item.


  1. For decades the Union Buildings had been the seat of white supremacy, and now it was the site of a rainbow gathering of different colours and nations for the installation of South Africa’s first democratic, non-racial government.
  1. Only moments before, the highest generals of the South African defence force and police saluted me and pledged their loyalty. Not so many years before they would not have saluted but arrested me.
  1. Although that day neither group knew the lyrics of the anthem, they would soon know the words by heart.
  1. My country is rich in the minerals and gems that lie beneath its soil, but I have always known that its greatest wealth is its people, finer and truer than the purest diamonds.
  1. The Air Show was not only a display of pinpoint precision and military force, but a demonstration of the military’s loyalty to democracy, to a new government that had been freely and fairly elected.
  1. It was this desire for the freedom of my people that transformed a frightened young man into a bold one, that drove a law-abiding attorney to become a criminal, that turned a family-loving husband into a man without a home.

III. Expressing Your Opinion:

Do you think there is colour prejudice in our own country? Discuss this with your friend and write a paragraph of about 100 to 150 words about this. You have the option of making your paragraph a humorous one.

Sample Paragraph:

Class 10- “Nelson Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom”

Extra Questions “Nelson Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom”: 

Short Answer Type Questions: 

Set I:

Q1: What is apartheid, and which country recently abolished it?

A1: Apartheid is a system of racial segregation and discrimination. South Africa recently abolished apartheid. It’s a political system that separates people based on race, denying rights to non-white individuals. South Africa abolished apartheid in the 1990s, transitioning to democracy.

Q2: Who was Nelson Mandela, and what was his role in fighting apartheid?

A2: Nelson Mandela was a prominent anti-apartheid activist and leader of the African National Congress (ANC) in South Africa. He fought against apartheid, enduring imprisonment for 27 years. Mandela played a crucial role in dismantling apartheid and fostering democracy.

Q3: Describe the significance of the inauguration ceremony mentioned in the excerpt.

A3: The inauguration ceremony marked the installation of South Africa’s first democratic, non-racial government, symbolising the end of white supremacy and the beginning of a new era of equality and justice. It was a historic event after centuries of racial oppression.

Q4: Who attended the inauguration ceremony, and what was Mandela’s message during his address?

A4: Politicians and dignitaries from over 140 countries attended the inauguration ceremony. Mandela emphasised unity, justice, and peace, highlighting the moment’s significance in South Africa’s history. He vowed to eradicate oppression and discrimination.

Q5: How did Mandela feel about the day of his inauguration, and what symbolism did he find in the event?

A5: Mandela felt overwhelmed by the historical significance of his inauguration day. The ceremony at the Union Buildings in Pretoria symbolised a transition from white domination to a diverse and inclusive government. The presence of international leaders underscored its global importance.

Q6: How did the apartheid policy impact South Africa, according to Mandela?

A6: Mandela believed apartheid inflicted deep wounds on South Africa, dividing its people and causing lasting harm. He acknowledged the sacrifices of those who fought against apartheid and recognised the need for reconciliation and healing in the post-apartheid era.

Q7: What lessons did Mandela learn about courage during his struggles?

A7: Mandela learned that courage involves overcoming fear, as seen in the bravery of his comrades who endured oppression and torture. Courage is not the absence of fear but the triumph over it, demonstrating strength and resilience in the face of adversity.

Q8: What insights did Mandela gain about hatred and love during his experiences?

A8: Mandela observed that hatred is learned, but love is inherent to human nature. Even in the darkest times, he witnessed glimpses of humanity, suggesting that love is more natural and powerful than hatred. He advocated for teaching love over hate.

Q9: What twin obligations did Mandela feel he had, and how did apartheid impact his ability to fulfil them?

A9: Mandela felt torn between his obligations to his family and his people due to apartheid’s restrictions. Apartheid forced him to prioritise his role in the struggle for freedom, often at the expense of his relationships and well-being.

Q10: How did Mandela’s perception of freedom evolve, and what drove his commitment to fighting for it?

A10: Mandela’s perception of freedom evolved from personal aspirations to collective liberation. He realised that true freedom requires the emancipation of all people from oppression and discrimination. His commitment to justice and equality drove his lifelong dedication to the struggle.

Set II:

Q11: How did Mandela’s childhood experiences shape his understanding of freedom?

A11: Mandela’s childhood experiences in a rural village gave him a sense of natural freedom. However, as he grew older, he realised that the oppressive laws and policies of apartheid limited his freedom.

Q12: What prompted Mandela to join the African National Congress (ANC)?

A12: Mandela joined the ANC in response to the injustices and discrimination faced by black South Africans under apartheid. He was motivated by a desire to fight for equality and justice for his people, leading him to activism and resistance.

Q13: Describe Mandela’s transformation from a lawyer to a resistance leader.

A13: Mandela’s journey from a lawyer to a resistance leader was marked by increasing commitment to the anti-apartheid cause. He transitioned from legal advocacy to direct action, recognising the need for more assertive measures to challenge apartheid’s injustices.

Q14: How did Mandela view the relationship between the oppressor and the oppressed?

A14: Mandela believed that both the oppressor and the oppressed suffer from the consequences of oppression. He emphasised the importance of liberating the oppressor and the oppressed from the chains of hatred and prejudice to achieve true reconciliation.

Q15: What role did reconciliation play in Mandela’s vision for South Africa?

A15: Reconciliation was crucial in Mandela’s vision for South Africa’s future. He understood that healing the wounds of apartheid required forgiveness, understanding, and a commitment to building a united and inclusive society.

Q16: How did Mandela define true freedom?

A16: Mandela defined true freedom as the ability of individuals to live their lives with dignity, equality, and self-determination, free from oppression, discrimination, and injustice.

Q17: What challenges did Mandela face in balancing personal and political obligations?

A17: Mandela faced significant challenges balancing his obligations to his family with his political commitments to the struggle against apartheid. He experienced personal sacrifices, including separation from loved ones, as he dedicated himself to the cause of liberation.

Q18: How did Mandela’s imprisonment impact his perspective on freedom and justice?

A18: Mandela’s imprisonment for 27 years strengthened his resolve and deepened his commitment to the fight for freedom and justice. Despite the hardships of confinement, he remained steadfast in his belief in the eventual triumph of justice over oppression.

Q19: What role did Mandela play in the negotiation process to end apartheid?

A19: Mandela was pivotal in negotiating an end to apartheid through dialogue and reconciliation. He engaged in talks with the apartheid government, leading to the eventual transition to democracy and the dismantling of apartheid laws.

Q20: How did Mandela’s leadership style contribute to South Africa’s transition to democracy?

A20: Mandela’s leadership style was characterised by inclusivity, empathy, and resilience. His ability to inspire unity and reconciliation enabled South Africa to navigate a peaceful transition to democracy, earning him respect and admiration domestically and internationally.

Long Answer Type Questions: 

Q1: What was the significance of Nelson Mandela’s inauguration as South Africa’s first black president?

A1: Nelson Mandela’s inauguration as South Africa’s first black president was critical on multiple levels. It marked the end of over three centuries of white minority rule and apartheid, a system of institutionalised racial segregation and discrimination. Mandela’s ascension to the presidency symbolised the triumph of democracy and equality over oppression and injustice. 

It signified a new era of inclusivity and reconciliation in South Africa, where people of all races could participate equally in the political process. Mandela’s inauguration represented hope for South Africans and the international community, demonstrating that peaceful transition and reconciliation were possible even after years of conflict and division.

Q2: How did Nelson Mandela describe the atmosphere and symbolism of the inauguration ceremony?

A2: Nelson Mandela vividly described the atmosphere and symbolism of the inauguration ceremony as a historic moment of profound significance. He emphasised the contrast between the Union Buildings in Pretoria, once a symbol of white supremacy, now transformed into a gathering place for people of diverse backgrounds and nations. Mandela portrayed the event as a “rainbow gathering”, symbolising unity and diversity. 

The presence of international leaders underscored the global importance of South Africa’s transition to democracy. The ceremony, with its military display and the playing of national anthems, represented a symbolic break from the past and a commitment to a new, inclusive future. Mandela conveyed a sense of awe and humility, recognising the weight of history and the hope for a better, more just society.

Q3: What role did international leaders play in Nelson Mandela’s inauguration ceremony?

A3: International leaders played a crucial role in Nelson Mandela’s inauguration ceremony by demonstrating global support for South Africa’s transition to democracy and the end of apartheid. Their presence symbolised solidarity with Mandela and the South African people, acknowledging the event’s significance on the world stage. Additionally, their attendance underscored the legitimacy of Mandela’s presidency and the new government. 

By participating in the ceremony, international leaders conveyed their commitment to supporting South Africa’s reconciliation, peace, and prosperity efforts. Their presence also helped to inspire confidence in South Africa’s future and encouraged investment and cooperation from the international community. Overall, the attendance of international leaders contributed to the celebration and hope surrounding Mandela’s inauguration.

Q4: What were the key moments or gestures during Nelson Mandela’s inauguration speech?

A4: Some key moments and gestures during Nelson Mandela’s inauguration speech included:

  • Mandela acknowledged the historievent’s historical significance of the end of apartheid and the beginning of a new era of democracy.
  • He expressed gratitude towards international guests for their support and solidarity.
  • Mandela’s pledge to uphold the Constitution and work for the well-being of all South Africans, regardless of race.
  • He emphasised the need to eradicate poverty, discrimination, and suffering.
  • Mandela declared a commitment to justice, peace, and human dignity.
  • Playing the old and new national anthems, which unite people of all races, is a symbolic gesture of reconciliation.

Mandela’s speech conveyed a message of hope, unity, and the promise of a brighter future for South Africa.

Q5: What historical context did Nelson Mandela provide regarding apartheid and its impact on South Africa?

A5: Nelson Mandela provided historical context regarding apartheid, describing it as a system of racial domination established by the white-skinned peoples of South Africa against the dark-skinned people. He highlighted its origins in the aftermath of the Anglo-Boer War in the early 20th century and its impact on creating one of the harshest and most inhumane societies in the world. Mandela emphasised the profound and lasting wounds inflicted on the country and its people by apartheid, including oppression, brutality, and deep societal divisions. 

He underscored the sacrifices made by thousands in the struggle against apartheid. He reflected on the transformation from a system of racial domination to one recognising the rights and freedoms of all peoples, regardless of skin colour.

Q6: According to Mandela, what lessons did he learn about courage from his comrades in the struggle?

A6: According to Mandela, he learned profound lessons about courage from his comrades in the struggle against apartheid. He witnessed their extraordinary courage in the face of adversity, observing them risk and even sacrifice their lives for their ideals without breaking them. Mandela realised that courage was not the absence of fear but the ability to triumph over it. 

He saw how these individuals remained resilient and steadfast in their commitment to the cause, defying unimaginable challenges. Mandela understood that courage was essential for enduring the hardships of their fight for freedom and justice. Ultimately, he learned that courage was necessary for achieving meaningful change and overcoming oppression.

Q7: How did Mandela articulate his evolving understanding of freedom and its connection to the struggle against oppression?

A7: Mandela articulated his evolving understanding of freedom as he progressed from personal yearnings for individual liberties to a broader, collective struggle against oppression. Initially, he desired fundamental freedoms like staying out at night or pursuing lawful endeavours. However, after realising the pervasive oppression affecting himself and his community, Mandela’s focus shifted. He recognised that true freedom encompassed the liberation of his people from systemic injustices and racial discrimination. 

His realisation transformed Mandela into a dedicated activist, willing to sacrifice personal comforts for the greater cause. He understood that freedom was indivisible and that the oppression of any group diminished the freedom of all. Thus, Mandela’s journey reflected a deepening understanding of freedom’s interconnectedness with the broader struggle against oppression.


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