A Long Walk to Freedom
Question 1: Where did the ceremonies take place? Can you name any public buildings in India that are made of sandstone?
Answer: The ceremonies took place in the campus of the Union Building of Pretoria. In India; Rashtrapati Bhavan, and Red Fort are some of the buildings made from sandstone.
Question 2: Can you say how 10 May is an ‘autumn day’ in South Africa?
Answer: The paragraph mentions that it was a lovely autumn day. Moreover, as South Africa is in the southern hemisphere so it is autumn season there.
Question 3: 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?
Answer: The extraordinary human disaster was the practice of apartheid in South Africa. During apartheid regime there was racial segregation based on skin colour of people. Black people did not have proper constitutional rights.
The end of apartheid regime and the beginning of a more tolerant society was the glorious human achievement.
Question 4: What does Mandela thank the international leaders for?
Answer: During apartheid era many country had severed diplomatic ties with South Africa. On that day most of the countries’ dignitaries were present to attend the swearing in ceremony. This was a gesture of international recognition to a newly born free nation. Nelson Mandela was thanking them for this recognition.
Question 5: What ideals does he set out for the future of South Africa?
Answer: Mandela set out the ideals of poverty alleviation, removal of suffering of people. He also set the ideal for a society where there would be no discrimination based on gender or racial origins.
Question 6: What do the military generals do? How has their attitude changed, and why?
Answer: Military generals salute Nelson Mandela, which is having its own importance as during apartheid era they would have arrested Mandela. The change in their attitude was because of struggle and sacrifices put in by many heroes of South Africa. This struggle not only ensured the freedom of South Africa but also brought a change of mindsets for many. As Nelson Mandela believed that like hate love can also be taught and human being is naturally oriented towards love rather than hate.
Question 7: Why were two national anthems sung?
Answer: The rendition of national anthem from old republic as well as new republic was sign of the pledge of those who were laying the foundation of a new nation. As it was pledge to build a society devoid of any type of discrimination so the old republic song was also sung to show solidarity with white people and to show that it will be a truly multicultural society.
Question 8: 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: In the first decade after the Anglo-Boer war it was the birth of an oppressive regime which created a system to deprive the black people of even basic human rights. In the final decade, of the twentieth century the system developed a strong pattern of even ignoring the sacrifices made by so many great leaders of South Africa. It was like as if black never existed for the apartheid regime.
Question 9: What does courage mean to Mandela?
Answer: For Mandela courage does not mean the absence of fear but a victory over fear. According to him brave men need not be fearless but should be able to conquer fear.
Question 10: Which does he think is natural, to love or to hate?
Answer: Mandela thinks for human beings it is natural to love rather than to hate.
Question 11: Why did such a large number of international leaders attend the inauguration? What did it signify the triumph of?
Answer: The presence of large number of international leaders was a gesture of solidarity from international community to the idea of the end of apartheid. It signified the triumph of good over evil, the triumph of the idea of a tolerant society without any discrimination.
Question 12: What does Mandela mean when he says he is “simply the sum of all those African patriots” who had gone before him?
Answer: As Mandela was carrying forward the baton of the freedom struggle, he was also carrying the legacy of leaders of yesteryears. In a baton race the new runner simply carries forward the work done by his predecessors. This is what Nelson Mandela was doing. That is what he was trying to convey by making this statement.