Nelson Mandela Long Walk To Freedom Class 10 Summary | Class 10 English Chapter 2 Summary

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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 of racial 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.

Character Sketch

Nelson Mandela:First black President of South Africa who fought for the equal rights of the black. He suffered a lot of pain for the freedom
Zenani:Daughter of Nelson Mandela who accompanied Mandela in his inauguration day. She was very much close to him
Mr. Deklerk Second Deputy President of South Africa
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 heart and bore no malice against anyone.
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Message Of Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela, the legendary South African leader and the author of this extract, clearly advocates the supremacy of love. He convey 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 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 oppress 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 the 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


This chapter is an extract from the autobiography of Nelson Mandela (born- 18 July, 1918), the first Black President of South Africa. It begins with the description of their inaugural ceremony which took place on the 10th of May 1994 where the entire nation along with many international leaders embraced the victory of a newly and fairly elected government. It involved speeches by the President and the two Deputy Presidents followed by an impressive air show of fighter jets and helicopters. Long ago, in the first decade of the twentieth century, white supremacy introduced the system of apartheid and made life a living hell for the dark-skinned population. It gave rise to one of the most inhumane societies of the world. Many people have struggled and sacrificed for basic human rights. 
The author expressed his desire to thank all those freedom fighters who couldn’t live to see this autumn day. He referred to the citizens as the greatest asset of the country. It is these people he gathered his courage from. Mandela believes that courageous is not the man who is fearless, but the man who has overcome fear. He also mentioned the two responsibilities every human has and how in order to fulfil his obligation towards the society, his obligation towards his family was neglected.
He became a man of people when he realised that the idea of freedom was an illusion for him and people like him. It was then he joined the African National Congress and fought for his rights till he became the first black President of the nation. According to him, the oppressor is as much a prisoner as the oppressed. As soon as the former robs the oppressed of their freedom he, himself gets robbed of his humanity. Thus, the oppressor too, is not free.

Detailed Summary

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 Deklerk was the first person who took oath as secpnd Deputy President followed by Mr Thabo Mbeki who sweared as the first Deputy President of South Africa. Nelson Mandela was the last person who 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 the oath, South African jets displayed military power. It also showed the loyalty of the military to democracy. The highest military generals saluted him. He recounted that they would have arrested him many years before. The playing of two national anthems followed it. 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 Policy and South Africa

Nelson Mandela reminiscences 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 created a deep and lasting wound on his country and its people. Now it is the system that recognized 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 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 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 a token of your goodness or superiority. No one is born hating another, 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 was 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, j 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.


  • Patience and perseverance guided by discipline and system yield the desire result.
  • Nelson Mandela joined the African National Congress (ANC). He desired people to live with dignity and respect. He wanted the oppressor and the oppressed to be liberated.
  • According to Mandela, freedom has many aspects like – for a kid it is to run and play, for an adult it is to fulfil the needs, of his own and his family. Real freedom means equal rights for everyone.
  • He also stated that a man should try to make a balance between his duties – duty to his family and duty to his community and country. A black person was treated badly and not allowed to perform his duties.
  • Mandela said in speech that a country is rich because of its people not because of the minerals. Courage is not the absence of fear but the victory over it. People should love others and not hate them due to colour or religion. Love comes naturally not by force, which is the natural goodness
  • Salutation to some great freedom fighters – Oliver Tambo, Walter Sisulu, Chief Luthuli, Yusuf Dadoo and others.
  • Mandela remembered and thanked the people who sacrificed their lives for the freedom.
  • A new system that recognised the rights and freedom of all people was formed.
  • Singing of two national anthems was done-the old ‘Nkosi Sikelel’ by the whites and the new ‘Die stem’ by the blacks.
  • A colourful show by jets and helicopters to show military’s loyalty took place.
  • Mandela pledged to liberate his people from poverty, suffering and discrimination.
  • Nelson Mandela gave speech on the victory for justice, peace and human dignity.
  • Inauguration ceremony or swearing in ceremony was being held in Union Building in Pretoria and first non-racial government took the charge.
  • 10th of May was, a day of freedom for South Africa and there was huge gathering of international leaders and dignitaries.

Important Word Meanings

1. Dawned – (of a day) began
2. Awe – amazed
3. Deputy – second in command
4. Emancipation – the fact or process of being set free from legal, social, or political restrictions
5. Stream – a small, narrow river
6. Abided – obeyed
7. Amphitheatre – an open – air theatre
8. Apartheid – a policy or system of segregation on grounds of race
9. Array – an impressive display
10. Assembled – (of people) gather together in one place for a common purpose
11. Bedecked – decorate
12. Besieged – to be surrounded by
13. Bondage – the state of being a slave
14. Boyhood – the state or time of being a boy
15. Chevron – a pattern in the shape of a V
16. Civil – courteous and polite
17. Comrades – a colleague or a fellow member of an organisation
18. Confer – grant
19. Curtailed – reduce; impose a restriction on
20. Defies – refuse to obey
21. Deprivation – the damaging lack of material benefits considered to be basic necessities in a society 22. Despised – hated, had a very low opinion of
23. Dignitaries – a person considered to be important because of high rank or office.
24. Dignity – the state or quality of being worthy of respect.
25. Discrimination – being treated differently or unfavourably
26. Erected – build; construct
27. Frightened – afraid or anxious
28. Glimmer – shine faintly with a wavering light
29. Glorious – having, worthy of, or bringing fame or admiration.
30. Glory – honour
31. Grimmest – very serious or gloomy
32. Illusion – a false idea or belief
33. Inclination – natural tendencies of behaviour
34. Indivisible – unable to be divided or separated
35. Inevitably – unavoidably
36. Lyrics – the words of a song
37. Mealies – a maize plant
38. Monk – a member of a religious community of men typically living under vows of poverty
39. Obligations – a duty or a commitment
40. On our own soil – in our own country
41. Oppression – prolonged cruel or unjust treatment or exercise of authority.
42. Overturned – reverse.
43. Overwhelmed – have a strong emotional effect
44. Pleasantly – giving a sense of happy satisfaction or enjoyment; satisfying
45. Pledged – committed (a person or organization) by a solemn promise.
46. Possession – ownership
47. Precision – accuracy
48. Prejudice – a strong dislike without any good reason
49. Profound – very great or intense
50. Pushed to our limits – pushed to the last point in our ability to bear pain
51. Racial domination – when people of one race have power over another race
52. Reassure – say or do something to remove the doubts
53. Rebellion – the action or process of resisting authority, convention or control
54. Reign – rule; govern
55. Resilience – the ability to deal with any kind of hardship and recover from its effects
56. Sandstone – a type of stone that is formed of grains of sand
57. Secrecy – the action of keeping something secret
58. Spectacular – beautiful in a dramatic and an eyecatching way
59. Supremacy – the state or condition of being superior to all others in authority, power, or status
60. Sworn – given under oath; determined to stay in the role specified

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.
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