Long Walk- Part 11: Leaving prison for the next chapter of his life

In this final section, Nelson Mandela was finally released from prison after twenty-seven years on Robben Island.  For all those years his beliefs did not change and even from the inside he worked hard to spread the message of the ANC to others. When the day finally came to be released it was overwhelming for him but exciting.

“When I was among the crowd I raised my right fist and there was a roar. I had not been able to do that for twenty-seven years and it gave me a surge of strength and joy. We stayed among the crowd for only a few minutes before jumping back into the car for the drive to Cape Town. Although I was pleased to have such a reception, I was greatly vexed by the fact that I did not have a chance to say good-bye to the prison staff. As I finally walked through those gates to enter a car on the other side, I felt — even at the age of seventy-one that my life was beginning anew. My ten thousand days of imprisonment were over” (Mandela 563).

I thought this particular quotation encompassed the most about Mandela. It shows his hope for the future as he looks forward to a new chapter beginning in his life, and that even at such an old age he is so positive. I also thought this quote was a good representation of his character, with him being so let down when he did not have a chance to say goodbye to the prison staff. Most people would not have batted an eye but he cared and finds the good in many people.

I thought that the first two sentences were very powerful because they put the image in my mind so clearly.  I could see him exiting the jail and feeling freedom for the first time in decades. I cannot imagine the feeling that must have come over him.

I think that Mandela being released has had a great impact on where South Africa is now. He has been ill for awhile but the public still regards him very highly and looks to him for inspiration.

I sometimes find myself being negative but after reading this book I hope I can learn from Mandela to be more optimistic. He finds the good and he always has a positive outlook on the future. I can add a little more optimism to each of my days if he could go through apartheid and 27 years in prison.


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