Similar to part 6, part 7 also discusses Nelson Mandela’s time at Robben Island. On the other side, this part is titled “Beginning To Hope,” indicating that he eventually saw the optimistic side of his situation. One thing that I thought really showed Nelson’s great character was this quote from page 292. Nelson says,
“Robben Island was known as the university because of what we learned from each other. We become our own faculty, with our own professors, our own curriculum, our own courses. We made a distinction between academic studies, which were official, and political studies, which were not. (Mandela 292)”
Nelson used his experience and knowledge about the ANC to educate the young men who came onto the island. All the prisoners took this opportunity as well to share their own racial prejudices’ and the battles they personally had overcome. I think the fact that Nelson is taking this negative experience and succeeding in a way, shows what kind of person he is and how much he believes in himself and equality. I think this is a great life lesson to keep in mind when dealing with obstacles at any age, given any circumstance.
While being incarcerated Nelson did not lose sight of who he was and what he believed in, which I believe is very important, yet sometimes hard to do. It is easier to go with the majority and back down to those who fight against you, especially if you are being punished and potentially put to death because of it. The fact that Nelson continued to teach politics (the main reason he was incarcerated) is courageous, not to mention inspirational.
It really has me thinking about what I believe in, and if there is anything that could make me withstand the conditions Mandela.