Nelson Mandela Long Walk to Freedom Comprehension

Comprehension Check – I

Question 1: Where did the ceremonies take place? Can you name any public buildings in India that are made of sandstone?

Answer 1:

The ceremonies took place in the lovely sandstone amphitheater formed by the Union Buildings in Pretoria. It was the largest gathering ever of international leaders on South African soil.

The Rashtrapati Bhawa n, the Red Fort, the Supreme Court and the Parliament House of India in New Delhi are few examples of public buildings in India that are made of sandstone.

Question 2: Can you say how 10 May is an ‘autumn day’ in South Africa?

Answer 2:

10 May is an ‘autum day’ in South Africa because on this day, there was the largest gathering of international leaders on South African soil for the installation of South Africa’s first democratic, non ­ racial government.

Question 3: At the begin Ning 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?

Answer 3:

By ‘an extraordinary human disaster’ Mandela means to state the practice of ‘apartheid’ in South Africa. ‘Apartheid’ is a political system that separates people according to their race. During this there was a racial segregation based on color and the blacks suffered a lot. They were not allowed to demand freedom or any right. Mandela himself f had to spend many years on infamous ‘Robben Island’ as a prisoner where he was beaten mercilessly.

He considered it as great glorious human achievement to liberate all people from the continuing bondage of poverty, deprivation, suffering, gender and other discrimination.

Question 4: What does Mandela thank the international leaders for?

Answer 4:

Mandela felt very privileged to welcome the international leaders at the swearing – in ceremony. The South Africans were considered outlaws. He was thankful to all of them for having come to take possession with the people of the country. This was a moment of common victory for justice, peace and human dignity. They all witnessed international recognition of a newly born free democratic nation.

Question 5: What ideals does he set out for the future of South Africa?

Answer 5:

Nelson Mandela had aim of liberating people from the trap poverty, deprivation, suffering and discrimination. He set the ideal for a society in which there would be no discrimination based on gender or race.

Comprehension Check –ll

uestion 1: What do the military generals do? How has their attitude changed, and why?

Answer 1:

When Mandela finished his speech, people saw a spectacular array of South Africa n jets, helicopters and troop carriers roared in perfect formation over the Union Buildings. The highest military generals of South African defense force saluted Mandela and pledged their loyalty. It was of great significance as during apartheid era Mandela was arrested by them. The change in the attitude was because of struggle and sacrifices put in by many heroes of South Africa. The struggle not only ensured the nation freedom from apartheid. He believed that love can also be taught and human being is naturally inclined towards love rather than hate.

Question 2: Why were two national anthems sung?

Answer 2:

One the auspicious occasion of the inauguration two national anthems: one by the Whites and the other by the Blacks symbolizing the equality of the Blacks and the Whites.

Question 3: 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?

Answer 3:

Mandela described two eras in the African nation:

(I)    in the first decade of the century, the nation followed a system of racial discrimination against the blacks. This created one of the most harsh and inhumane societies worldwide.

(ii)   In the final decade of the 20th century, the trends and traditions of racial domination had been demolished and replaced by one which recognized rights and freedom of all people irrespective of the color of skin.

Question 4: What does courage mean to Mandela?

Answer 4:

Mandela mentions that it was the comrades from whom he learned the actual meaning of courage. For him courage did not mean the absence of fear but a triumph over fear. According to him brave men was not who felt afraid but one who is able to conquer fear.

Question 5: Which does he think is natural, to love or to hate?

Answer 5:

Mandela suggested that people must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, love comes more naturally to the human heart than hate.

Comprehension Check –lll

Question 1: What “twin obligations” does Mandela mention?

Answer 1:

Mandela mentioned that every man has twin obligations. The first is to his family, parents, wife and children; the second obligation is to his people, his community and his country.

Question 2: 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 honorable freedoms”?

Answer 2:

Just like any child, for Mandela freedom meant to have merry and enjoy the blissful life. Once one becomes an adult, the things you did as a child look transitory because most of the activities which we did as children are wasteful for an adult’s perspective. As an adult, one has to earn a livelihood to bring the food home. It is only then we get an honorable existence in the family and in the society.

Question 3: Does Mandela think the oppressor is free? Why/Why not?

Answer 3:

Mandela 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, who is locked of hatred behind the bars of prejudice and narrow-mindedness. Mandela realized that both the oppressor and the oppressed are robbed of their humanity and peace.


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