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Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom

Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom

Critique III
Olga Arango
Chicago State University

Service Learning in Health

Professor Monique Germain
April 28, 2014

Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom
The movie Long Walk to Freedom is a film based on the South African President
Nelson Mandelas autobiography of the same name, which chronicles his early life, coming of
age, education and 27 years in prison before becoming President and working to rebuild the
countrys once segregated society (Abrams, 2013). Mandela's life in "Long Walk to Freedom" is
defined by emotionally upsetting optimism. As a young lawyer, political activist, and antiapartheid leader, Mandela helped to coordinate labor strikes and campaigns to defy the unjust
laws with nonviolent protests. Mandela petitions for equality to the government were not heard;
by the contrary, government continued to tighten restrictions on the black population, creating
segregated townships and homelands where black people were forced to settle. At this time,
Mandela realized that his tactic of non-violence were not effective, because the government was
only selectively fair. He decided take more extreme measures against the white supremacist
government. Mandelas speech were changed on its tone, they became heated, he said Peace in
our country must be considered already broken when a minority government maintains its
authority over the majority by force and violence. (Contemporary Black Biography, 2010,
Mandelas life in prison was martyrdom; he was confined to live in solitude a weekly 30minutes visit with his wife. He received two indecorous offers from the authorities according to
his principles and convictions. First, he was offered a conditional freedom, accepting that he
would settle in a black homeland, but he absolutely refused this option, affirming his loyalty to
his principles. Then, Mandela was offered complete freedom in return for his renunciation of

violence, But he refused to do so until the government granted blacks full political rights.
(Contemporary Black Biography, 2010, 2013). Mandelas conviction and principles were
unbreakable to his death. During his life in prison Mandelas health was seriously deteriorated
and also political conditions changed a lot for the white leadership in South Africa; after twenty
seven years in 1990, Mandela was released from prison.
Situations of social injustices and unfairness lead me think about the different attitudes
that the human being have when they are facing difficult situations. It is clear the influence that
some leaders inspire on others. For instance, Mandela at the beginning of his fight against
apartheid-laws adopted tactics of non-violence as the Indian leader Mahatma Mohandas Gandhi
who used strategies of noncooperation and nonviolent resistance in the liberation of India.
Gandhi was a big influence for Mandela even when Mandela decided changes his tactics. Gandhi
conceded the necessity of arms in certain situations. He said, Where choice is set between
cowardice and violence, I would advise violenceI prefer to use arms in defense of honor rather
than remain the vile witness of dishonor (Time International, 1999). Although, Mandela
changed his tactics, always had some things in common with Gandhi as the fact of consider more
important the group interest instead of self-interest.
I loved Mandelas formal speech in his self-defense. Mandela was arrested and charged
with organizing illegal demonstrations and sentenced to five years in prison; once, in prison he
was accused with more serious crimes of treason and sabotage. This new accusation ended in a
sentence to the rest of life in prison. In the courtroom, Mandela as a lawyer, made an eloquent

and masterful defense by himself. Mandela showed up a great conviction of his principles saying
I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have
cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony
and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs
be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die (Contemporary Black Biography, 2010, 2013). I
deeply admire Mandelas strength, he never lost his faith in his cause and the black people never
forgot his hardy hero.
Other scene that I admired of "Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom" was the extraordinary
Winnies charisma that characterized with her strong personality of a women leader and also
political activist against apartheid laws. They were together on their common cause for the
equality of the black rights. When Mandela delivered a televised speech and he advocated for
group unity and the necessity of making compromises. Winnie shared the same feelings and
thoughts with Mandelas heart.
I especially enjoyed the Mandelas firmness of character and the loyalty for his
principles, even though the movie was very cruel and real. Leaders as Nelson Mandela and
Mahatma Gandhi are a great sample of love for the others, compromise and leadership. It is not
easy adopt the self-interest with group interest on many aspects of our life. Principles are nonnegotiable are totally agree. Mandela did not change his mind instead of his own freedom. He
said Freedom is indivisible; the chains on any one of my people were the chains on all of them,
the chains on all of my people were the chains on me.

I feel deep sad to recognize that movie was not fiction, it was the real life, a human being
was confined to solitude and lose twenty seven years of his life in jail for defending his beliefs
and his rights a black man in South Africa his own country. It is one more of many social
injustices in our society; where we can see that rights are the privilege for a minority of the
Good Reflection
I always knew that deep down in every human heart, there is mercy and generosity. No one is
born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion.
People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes
more naturally to the human heart than its opposite. Even in the grimmest times in prison, when
my comrades and I were pushed to our limits, I would see a glimmer of humanity in one of the
guards, perhaps just for a second, but it was enough to reassure me and keep me going. Mans
goodness is a flame that can be hidden but never extinguished. (Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to
Freedom: Autobiography of Nelson Mandela)


Abrams, S. (2013, Nov. 29). Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom Movie Review 2013. Retrieved
Apr. 24, 2014, from
Contemporary Black Biography, 2010. (2013, Dec. 05). Nelson Mandela. Retrieved Apr. 25,
2014, from GALE:
Time International. (1999, Dec. 31). The Sacred Warrior. Retrieved Apr. 22, 2014, from