The unexpected path from ordinary citizen to civil rights leader is full of rocks, pot holes and an untold number of barriers. But with time, work and opening of minds and hearts, perhaps real change is possible.
Born in 1918 in South Africa, he grew up in a world where separation between the races and apartheid was the social, moral and legal law of the land. As an adult, he became a lawyer and slowly transitioned from ordinary citizen to civil rights leader. Along the way, he was accused of crimes by the authorities, his family was targeted and he spent decades in jail.
Along the way, Nelson Mandela’s legend grew far beyond his native land. As the first President of South Africa, he changed his nation and the world for the better.
I have one word to describe this book: wow. The problem with many autobiographies is that the writer can be very me me me. But in telling his life story from his perspective, Mr. Mandela reminds the reader of our common humanity and that the fight for human rights must continue until we are all free.
The old saying of not appreciating something or someone until it is gone can apply to any aspect our lives. All of my grandparents have long since passed away, but I still miss them. As a child, I did not fully appreciate them and their impact on my life. As an adult, I wish I could have had more time with them.
It was a unique experience. While Ndaba would have preferred to have the household rules relaxed (as many young people who live with strict parents hope for), he also watched and listened as his grandfather interacted with world leaders and local government officials. Along the way, Ndaba absorbed wisdom as only one can with a grandparent who is active in their life.
I really appreciated this book. I appreciated it because shines a light on the human side of Mandela instead of just telling his story as an icon of recent history. I also felt like I related to Ndaba because I too, grew up with strict parents.
The late Nelson Mandela is an icon. Next to Martin Luther King Jr. and Mahatma Gandhi, Mr. Mandela, represents the change many wish they could enact in the world, but few are willing to take the steps to make it happen.
The movie starts with brief clips of his childhood. As an adult, Nelson Mandela (Idris Elba) is a lawyer, trying to defend his clients in a country where the native blacks are second class and the whites have all of the power. He is initially hesitant to join the African National Congress, but circumstances change his mind. After he is charged with treason and thrown into jail for 27 years, his second wife, Winnie (Naomie Harris) is forced to raise their daughters by herself and deal with the constant assault by the police.
I will warn that the movie is long, it clocks in at 2 hours and 20 minutes. But the time is needed to tell this man’s story.
Elba completely transforms himself into Mandela. It’s as if he was born to play this character. Harris, as Winnie Mandela is also perfectly cast. Her transformation from being just an ordinary wife and mother to becoming a revolutionary in her own right is incredible. I wouldn’t be surprised, that when award season comes, the movie, as well as Elba and Harris receive numerous nominations and awards.