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Nelson Mandela: NCERT & CBE Questions | Paraphrase in Easy English

Updated: Jul 23, 2023

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Socio-Cultural Background


"Nelson Mandela: A Long Walk to Freedom" is an autobiography written by Nelson Mandela, the renowned South African anti-apartheid revolutionary and political leader. The book provides insight into the socio-cultural background of Mandela's life and the historical context of South Africa during his time.


Socio-Cultural Background:


1. Apartheid: Apartheid was a system of racial segregation and discrimination enforced by the National Party government in South Africa from 1948 to 1994. It institutionalized racial divisions, with the white minority having control over political, economic, and social power, while the majority Black population faced systemic oppression and limited rights.


2. Racial Inequality: Under apartheid, racial inequality was deeply entrenched in South African society. Non-white individuals, particularly Blacks, Coloreds, and Indians, faced discrimination in various aspects of life, including education, employment, housing, and political representation. Mandela's experiences and activism were shaped by his struggle against this systemic injustice.


3. Tribal and Cultural Diversity: South Africa is known for its rich tribal and cultural diversity. The country is home to various ethnic groups, including Zulu, Xhosa, Sotho, Tswana, and many others. Mandela, an ethnic Xhosa, grew up in the rural Transkei region and was influenced by his traditional heritage, customs, and community values.


4. African Nationalism: The struggle against apartheid fostered a sense of African nationalism among the oppressed population. Black South Africans, inspired by leaders like Mandela, sought to reclaim their dignity, rights, and self-determination. Organizations like the African National Congress (ANC) played a significant role in mobilizing people against apartheid and advocating for equality and freedom.


5. Resistance Movements: The anti-apartheid movement consisted of various resistance movements and organizations, including the ANC, Pan Africanist Congress (PAC), and United Democratic Front (UDF). These groups employed a range of tactics, including protests, strikes, boycotts, and underground activities, to challenge apartheid policies and fight for a more just society.


6. International Solidarity: Mandela's struggle gained international attention and support. The anti-apartheid movement received backing from individuals, organizations, and governments worldwide, who joined the call for an end to apartheid and the release of political prisoners like Mandela. International pressure played a significant role in isolating the apartheid regime and ultimately bringing about its downfall.


Understanding the socio-cultural background of "Nelson Mandela: A Long Walk to Freedom" provides important context for comprehending Mandela's personal journey, his commitment to justice and equality, and the broader historical struggle against apartheid in South Africa.


Message:


The message of "Nelson Mandela: A Long Walk to Freedom" is one of resilience, perseverance, and the power of forgiveness and reconciliation. It highlights the indomitable spirit of Mandela and his unwavering commitment to justice and equality in the face of immense adversity. The story emphasizes the importance of standing up against oppression and fighting for what is right, even at great personal cost.


Key messages from the story include:


1. Freedom and Equality: Mandela's journey underscores the fundamental human desire for freedom and equality. He dedicated his life to dismantling the apartheid regime and ensuring equal rights and opportunities for all South Africans, regardless of race or ethnicity. The story encourages individuals to value and fight for the principles of freedom, justice, and equality.


2. Perseverance and Resilience: Mandela's 27 years of imprisonment, the hardships he endured, and the sacrifices he made demonstrate the power of perseverance and resilience. His ability to maintain his resolve and vision in the face of adversity serves as an inspiration for others facing their own struggles. The story emphasizes the importance of persistence and determination in overcoming obstacles.


3. Forgiveness and Reconciliation: Mandela's message of forgiveness and reconciliation is a central theme in his story. Despite enduring decades of imprisonment and witnessing the suffering of his people, he advocated for reconciliation and worked towards building a united South Africa. Mandela believed that forgiveness and understanding were essential for healing the wounds of the past and creating a harmonious future.


4. Leadership and Humility: Mandela's leadership style, characterized by humility, empathy, and inclusivity, is a significant lesson from the story. He sought to lead by example, listening to others, valuing their contributions, and bringing people together. Mandela's ability to transcend personal ambitions and prioritize the collective well-being of his country serves as a powerful model of leadership.


5. The Power of Unity: Mandela believed in the power of unity and collaboration. He fostered partnerships with individuals and organizations within South Africa and garnered international support to amplify the anti-apartheid movement. The story emphasizes the strength that comes from standing together, bridging divides, and working towards a common goal.


Overall, the story of Nelson Mandela encourages readers to embrace values such as freedom, equality, perseverance, forgiveness, and unity. It inspires individuals to stand up against injustice, strive for positive change, and believe in the transformative power of compassion and understanding.


Paraphrase in Easy English


Page 17/ Para 1 (First Flight/ NCERT Text Book)


TENTH May dawned bright and clear. For the past few days I had been pleasantly besieged by dignitaries and world leaders who were coming to pay their respects before the inauguration. The inauguration would be the largest gathering ever of international leaders on South African soil.


Paraphrase in Easy English

On the morning of May 10th, the weather was nice and sunny. In the days leading up to that, important people and leaders from around the world had been visiting me to show their respect. They came before my official swearing-in ceremony as the new leader. This ceremony would be a very big event, with more international leaders coming together in South Africa than ever before.


Page 17/ Para 2

The ceremonies took place in the lovely sandstone amphitheatre formed by the Union Buildings in Pretoria. For decades this had been the seat of white supremacy, and now it was the site of a rainbow gathering of different colours and nations for the installation of South Africa’s first democratic, non-racial government.

Paraphrase in Easy English

The ceremonies happened in a beautiful place called the Union Buildings in Pretoria. These buildings used to be where white people had all the power for many years. But now, something special was happening. The place was filled with people from different races and nations, coming together like a rainbow. They were there to witness the installation of South Africa's first government that treated everyone equally, no matter their race. It was a big step towards democracy and fairness in the country.

Glossary:

Union Buildings in Pretoria.

  • "Union Buildings in Pretoria" refers to the government complex located in the capital city of South Africa, Pretoria.

  • The Union Buildings hold historical significance as they were once the seat of white supremacy during the apartheid era, where policies of racial segregation and discrimination were enforced.

  • Nelson Mandela's inauguration as the President of South Africa took place at the Union Buildings in 1994, marking the end of apartheid and the beginning of a new era of equality and freedom for all South Africans.

  • The complex became a place where international leaders gathered to witness and celebrate the birth of a new South Africa, characterized by unity, diversity, and reconciliation.

Page 17-18/ Para 3

On that lovely autumn day I was accompanied by my daughter Zenani. On the podium, Mr de Klerk was first sworn in as second deputy president. Then Thabo Mbeki was sworn in as first deputy president. When it was my turn, I pledged to obey and uphold the Constitution and to devote myself to the wellbeing of the Republic and its people. To the assembled guests and the watching world, I said:

Today, all of us do, by our presence here... confer glory and hope to newborn liberty. Out of the experience of an extraordinary human disaster that lasted too long, must be born a society of which all humanity will be proud.


Paraphrase in Easy English

On that beautiful autumn day, my daughter Zenani was with me. First, Mr. de Klerk took an oath and became the second deputy president. Then, Thabo Mbeki took an oath and became the first deputy president. Finally, it was my turn. I promised to follow and support the Constitution and to work for the betterment of the country and its people. I spoke to all the guests and the people watching around the world. I said, "Today, just by being here, we bring honor and hope to the newly gained freedom. From the terrible suffering we endured for far too long, we must build a society that will make all of humanity proud."


Page 18/ Para 1

We, who were outlaws not so long ago, have today been given the rare privilege to be host to the nations of the world on our own soil. We thank all of our distinguished international guests for having come to take possession with the people of our country of what is, after all, a common victory for justice, for peace, for human dignity.


Paraphrase in Easy English

Not long ago, we were considered outlaws, but today we have a special opportunity. We are hosting leaders from different countries right here in our own land. We are grateful to all our important guests from around the world for joining us in celebrating a victory that we all share. It's a victory for justice, peace, and the dignity of all people.

Glossary

Common Victory:

"Common victory" refers to a victory or achievement that is shared by a group of people or nations. In the given context, Nelson Mandela is expressing gratitude to the distinguished international guests for coming to South Africa and celebrating a victory that is not only for the people of South Africa but also for justice, peace, and human dignity globally. It signifies that the progress made in South Africa's transition to democracy and the end of apartheid is a collective triumph that extends beyond national borders.


Page 18/ Para 2

We have, at last, achieved our political emancipation. We pledge ourselves to liberate all our people from the continuing bondage of poverty, deprivation, suffering, gender and other discrimination.

Paraphrase in Easy English

Finally, we have achieved our political freedom and independence. Now, we make a promise to ourselves and to our nation. We are committed to freeing all our people from the ongoing struggles of poverty, lack of basic needs, suffering, and various forms of discrimination, including gender inequality. Our goal is to create a society where everyone has equal opportunities and can live a life of dignity and fairness.


Page 18/ Para 3

Never, never, and never again shall it be that this beautiful land will again experience the oppression of one by another.


Paraphrase in Easy English

It will never happen again, not even once, that this wonderful land will suffer from one group of people oppressing another.


Page 18/ Para 4

The sun shall never set on so glorious a human achievement. Let freedom reign. God bless Africa!

Paraphrase in Easy English

The sun will never set on such a magnificent accomplishment by humanity. May freedom prevail. May God bless Africa!


Page 19/ Para 1

A few moments later we all lifted our eyes in awe as a spectacular array of South African jets, helicopters and troop carriers roared in perfect formation over the Union Buildings. It was not only a display of pinpoint precision and military force, but a demonstration of the military’s loyalty to democracy, to a new government that had been freely and fairly elected. Only moments before, the highest generals of the South African defence force and police, their chests bedecked with ribbons and medals from days gone by, saluted me and pledged their loyalty. I was not unmindful of the fact that not so many years before they would not have saluted but arrested me. Finally a chevron of Impala jets left a smoke trail of the black, red, green, blue and gold of the new South African flag.

Glossary

chests bedecked with ribbons and medals :

  • " the chests of the highest generals of the South African defense force and police were adorned with various ribbons and medals.

  • This description signifies that these military officials were wearing decorations and honors that they had received throughout their careers, representing their achievements and service.

  • It indicates their high rank and the recognition they had earned for their contributions to the military.

chevron of Impala jets:

  • A chevron formation typically consists of a group of aircraft flying in a V-shaped pattern, with the leader at the front and the other jets aligned on either side.

  • The term "Impala jets" refers to a specific type of aircraft called Impala, which is a South African military jet. So, a "chevron of Impala jets" describes a formation of these jets flying in a V-shaped pattern with smoke trails in the colors of the new South African flag.

Paraphrase in Easy English

Shortly after, we all looked up in amazement as a breathtaking formation of South African jets, helicopters, and troop carriers flew over the Union Buildings. It was a remarkable sight, not just showcasing their precise flying skills and military strength, but also symbolizing the military's allegiance to democracy and the newly elected government. Just moments earlier, the top generals of the South African defense force and police, wearing their ribbons and medals from the past, saluted me and pledged their loyalty. I couldn't forget that not too long ago, they would have arrested me instead. Finally, a group of Impala jets left a trail of smoke in the colors of the new South African flag - black, red, green, blue, and gold.


Page 19/ Para 2


The day was symbolised for me by the playing of our two national anthems, and the vision of whites singing ‘Nkosi Sikelel –iAfrika’ and blacks singing ‘Die Stem’, the old anthem of the Republic. Although that day neither group knew the lyrics of the anthem they once despised, they would soon know the words by heart.


Paraphrase in Easy English

For me, the day was significant because I witnessed something powerful: both our national anthems being played and people from different racial backgrounds participating. I saw white people singing 'Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika,' which is the anthem loved by black South Africans, and black people singing 'Die Stem,' which is the old anthem of the Republic that was favored by white people. Even though on that day, neither group knew the lyrics of the anthem they once disliked, they would soon learn the words and embrace them with their whole heart.


Page 19/ Para 3

On the day of the inauguration, I was overwhelmed with a sense of history. In the first decade of the twentieth century, a few years after the bitter Anglo-Boer war and before my own birth, the white-skinned peoples of South Africa patched up their differences and erected a system of racial domination against the dark-skinned peoples of their own land. The structure they created formed the basis of one of the harshest, most inhumane, societies the world has ever known. Now, in the last decade of the twentieth century, and my own eighth decade as a man, that system had been overturned forever and replaced by one that recognised the rights and freedoms of all peoples, regardless of the colour of their skin.


Paraphrase in Easy English

On the day of the inauguration, I felt a strong sense of the past. In the early 1900s, after a bitter war and before I was born, the white people in South Africa settled their differences and established a system where they ruled over the dark-skinned people of their own country. This system was one of the cruelest and most inhumane societies the world had ever seen. But now, in the late 1900s, and in my old age, that system had been completely changed. It was replaced by a new system that recognized the rights and freedoms of all people, no matter the color of their skin.

Anglo-Boer war

  • The Anglo-Boer War, also known as the Second Boer War, was a conflict that took place in South Africa from 1899 to 1902.

  • It was fought between the British Empire and the two independent Boer republics, the South African Republic (also known as the Transvaal) and the Orange Free State.

  • The war was sparked by various factors, including tensions over British imperialism, economic interests, and the desire for control over the region's valuable resources, particularly gold and diamonds.

  • The Boers, mainly of Dutch descent, sought to maintain their independence and sovereignty, while the British sought to consolidate their dominance over the region.

  • The war was marked by intense fighting, guerilla warfare, and significant casualties on both sides. The British eventually emerged victorious, and the two Boer republics were incorporated into the British Empire, leading to the establishment of the Union of South Africa in 1910.

  • The Anglo-Boer War is a significant chapter in South African history and had profound implications for the country's future, particularly in terms of race relations, nationalism, and the struggle for independence and equality.

Page 20/ Para 1


That day had come about through the unimaginable sacrifices of thousands of my people, people whose suffering and courage can never be counted or repaid. I felt that day, as I have on so many other days, that I was simply the sum of all those African patriots who had gone before me. That long and noble line ended and now began again with me. I was pained that I was not able to thank them and that they were not able to see what their sacrifices had wrought.


Paraphrase in Easy English

That day was made possible by the incredible sacrifices of many people from my own community. They endured great suffering and showed tremendous courage, and it's impossible to fully appreciate or repay what they went through. On that day, and on many other days, I felt that I was just a result of all the African patriots who came before me. Their legacy continued with me. It saddened me that I couldn't personally express my gratitude to them, and they couldn't witness the positive impact their sacrifices had on our country.


Glossary:

That long and noble line ended and now began again with me.

  • In the given context, "That long and noble line ended and now began again with me" refers to the lineage or legacy of African patriots who fought for justice and freedom before Nelson Mandela.

  • It implies that Mandela saw himself as the continuation of a proud lineage of those who had come before him, working towards a better future for their people.

  • The phrase suggests that the struggles, sacrifices, and contributions of those who fought for freedom and equality in the past had culminated in Mandela's role as a leader. It signifies a sense of responsibility and a recognition that Mandela was carrying forward the aspirations and hopes of those who had paved the way for him.

  • By stating that the line "began again with me," Mandela is emphasizing that he is the next link in this chain of activists and leaders.

  • He acknowledges the past achievements and sacrifices, and now sees himself as continuing the journey towards a just and equal society.


Page 20/ Para 2

The policy of apartheid created a deep and lasting wound in my country and my people. All of us will spend many years, if not generations, recovering from that profound hurt. But the decades of oppression and brutality had another, unintended, effect, and that was that it produced the Oliver Tambos, the Walter Sisulus, the Chief Luthulis, the Yusuf Dadoos, the Bram Fischers, the Robert Sobukwes of our time* — men of such extraordinary courage, wisdom and generosity that their like may never be known again. Perhaps it requires such depths of oppression to create such heights of character. My country is rich in the minerals and gems that lie beneath its soil, but I have always known that its greatest wealth is its people, finer and truer than the purest diamonds.


Paraphrase in Easy English

The policy of apartheid caused a deep and long-lasting pain in my country and among my people. It will take many years, maybe even generations, for us to heal from this great hurt. However, the years of suffering and cruelty had an unintended consequence. They gave rise to extraordinary individuals like Oliver Tambo, Walter Sisulu, Chief Luthuli, Yusuf Dadoo, Bram Fischer, and Robert Sobukwe. These men showed incredible courage, wisdom, and kindness, and we may never see their like again. It's possible that such extreme oppression is what brings out such remarkable character in people. My country is rich in natural resources like minerals and gems, but I've always known that our greatest wealth lies in our people. They are more precious and genuine than the purest diamonds.


Glossary:

a deep and lasting wound

  • In the given context, "a deep and lasting wound" refers to the profound and long-lasting impact caused by the policy of apartheid in the country. It represents the immense pain, division, and damage inflicted upon the nation and its people due to the system of racial segregation and discrimination.

  • The term "wound" suggests a hurt that goes beyond surface-level damage, penetrating into the core of society and leaving a lasting scar. It implies that the effects of apartheid were not easily healed and would require significant time, effort, and collective healing to overcome.

  • The phrase highlights the profound negative consequences of apartheid, including social, economic, and emotional ramifications. It underscores the need for reconciliation, justice, and healing to address the deep wounds caused by the oppressive policies of the past.

Unintended effect

  • In this case, the unintended effect being discussed is the impact of the decades of oppression and brutality caused by apartheid in South Africa.

  • While the policy of apartheid was implemented to enforce racial segregation and maintain control, it unintentionally led to the emergence of extraordinary individuals, such as Oliver Tambo, Walter Sisulu, Chief Luthuli, Yusuf Dadoo, Bram Fischer, and Robert Sobukwe.

  • These individuals showcased exceptional qualities such as courage, wisdom, and generosity that might not have been seen or recognized if not for the extreme circumstances of oppression.

  • The context suggests that the depths of suffering and injustice experienced during apartheid created a backdrop against which these remarkable individuals could emerge and flourish.

  • The phrase highlights the paradoxical nature of the unintended effect, wherein the oppressive system inadvertently fostered the growth of outstanding individuals who stood against it and fought for justice, equality, and freedom.

such depths of oppression to create such heights of character

  • In the given context, "such depths of oppression to create such heights of character" implies that the extreme levels of suffering, hardship, and injustice experienced under apartheid in South Africa played a role in shaping the exceptional character and qualities of individuals who fought against it.

  • The phrase suggests that the intense oppression faced by the people created an environment that demanded extraordinary courage, resilience, and determination to challenge and overcome. The immense difficulties and injustices they endured led to the development of remarkable character traits such as strength, wisdom, compassion, and bravery.

  • It acknowledges that the oppressive circumstances acted as a catalyst for individuals to rise above their circumstances and demonstrate exceptional qualities. The depth of the oppression served as a backdrop against which the heights of character and resilience could be observed and appreciated.

  • The phrase reflects on the idea that the harshest adversities can sometimes bring out the best in individuals, inspiring them to embody extraordinary virtues and values. It emphasizes the transformative power of the human spirit and the capacity for individuals to rise above the most challenging circumstances.

Page 21/ Para 1

It is from these comrades in the struggle that I learned the meaning of courage. Time and again, I have seen men and women risk and give their lives for an idea. I have seen men stand up to attacks and torture without breaking, showing a strength and resilience that defies the imagination. I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.

Paraphrase in Easy English

I learned about courage from my fellow comrades in the struggle against apartheid. Many times, I witnessed men and women who were willing to risk and even sacrifice their lives for their beliefs. They faced attacks and torture, yet they remained strong and resilient, showing incredible strength that is hard to imagine.


I learned that courage doesn't mean not feeling afraid. It means overcoming that fear and not letting it control you. A brave person is not someone who never feels fear, but someone who faces their fear and conquers it. They show bravery by standing up for what they believe in, even when they are scared.

Glossary:

comrades in the struggle

  • Extraordinary individuals like Oliver Tambo, Walter Sisulu, Chief Luthuli, Yusuf Dadoo, Bram Fischer, and Robert Sobukwe.

  • The term "comrades" conveys a sense of solidarity, unity, and shared purpose among those involved in the anti-apartheid struggle.

Page 21/ Para 2

No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite. Even in the grimmest times in prison, when my comrades and I were pushed to our limits, I would see a glimmer of humanity in one of the guards, perhaps just for a second, but it was enough to reassure me and keep me going. Man’s goodness is a flame that can be hidden but never extinguished.

Paraphrase in Easy English

Nobody is born with a natural hatred towards others because of their skin color, background, or religion. Hatred is something that people learn. But if they can learn to hate, then they can also be taught to love because love is something that comes more naturally to the human heart.


Even during the toughest times in prison when my fellow comrades and I were pushed to our limits, I would sometimes see a small spark of humanity in one of the guards, even if it lasted just a moment. That little spark gave me hope and the strength to keep going. The goodness inside people is like a flame that can be hidden, but it can never be completely put out.

Glossary

People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.

  • In the given context, the statement emphasizes that hatred is learned behavior. People are not born with an inherent inclination to hate others based on their differences.

  • However, if individuals can learn to hate, they also have the capacity to be taught love. Love is portrayed as something that comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite, which is hatred.

  • The context suggests that while hatred may be learned and fostered, the innate nature of humanity leans towards love and compassion.

  • It implies that by promoting understanding, empathy, and education, it is possible to counteract hatred and cultivate a culture of love and acceptance.

Man’s goodness is a flame that can be hidden but never extinguished.

  • Mandela is expressing his belief that no matter how difficult or challenging the circumstances, the inherent goodness within people cannot be completely erased or destroyed.

  • Mandela suggests that even in the darkest of times, when people's actions may seem harsh or cruel, there is still a spark of goodness observed in a prison guard. This flame of goodness may be hidden or overshadowed by negative influences, but it can never be fully extinguished.

Page 21-22/ Para 3

In life, every man has twin obligations — obligations to his family, to his parents, to his wife and children; and he has an obligation to his people, his community, his country. In a civil and humanesociety, each man is able to fulfil those obligations according to his own inclinations and abilities. But in a country like South Africa, it was almost impossible for a man of my birth and colour to fulfil both of those obligations. In South Africa, a man of colour who attempted to live as a human being was punished and isolated. In South Africa, a man who tried to fulfil his duty to his people was inevitably ripped from his family and his home and was forced to live a life apart, a twilight existence of secrecy and rebellion. I did not in the beginning choose to place my people above my family, but in attempting to serve my people, I found that I was prevented from fulfilling my obligations as a son, a brother, a father and a husband.

Paraphrase in Easy English

In life, every person has two important responsibilities - one towards their family, including their parents, spouse, and children, and another towards their community, country, and people. In a fair and kind society, each person can fulfill these responsibilities based on their own choices and abilities. However, in a country like South Africa, it was very difficult for a person of my background and skin color to fulfill both of these responsibilities.


In South Africa, a person of color who tried to live a normal life faced punishment and isolation. If someone wanted to fulfill their duty towards their people and work for their betterment, they were often separated from their family and home. They had to live a life of secrecy and rebellion, as they were not allowed to openly express their support for their community.


At first, I didn't willingly choose to prioritize my people over my family. However, as I started working for the welfare of my people, I realized that I was being prevented from fulfilling my obligations as a son, a brother, a father, and a husband. The circumstances in South Africa forced me to make difficult choices and sacrifices, which affected my personal relationships and made it challenging to balance my responsibilities towards both my family and my community.

Glossary:

a man of colour who attempted to live as a human being was punished and isolated.

  • During the era of apartheid, the South African government enforced strict racial segregation and denied basic rights and freedoms to non-white individuals.

  • This included restrictions on where people could live, work, and socialize based on their racial classification.

  • Any person of color who sought to assert their dignity, equality, and rights as a human being faced severe consequences.

twilight existence of secrecy and rebellion

  • In the given context, the phrase "twilight existence of secrecy and rebellion" refers to the difficult and clandestine life that individuals in South Africa, particularly those who opposed apartheid, were forced to live.

  • The term "twilight existence" suggests a state of being caught between darkness and light, metaphorically representing the precarious nature of their lives. These individuals had to operate in the shadows, constantly aware of the risks associated with their actions.

  • The phrase "secrecy and rebellion" further emphasizes the resistance and defiance displayed by those who fought against apartheid. Despite the risks, they refused to accept the oppressive regime and took part in acts of rebellion to challenge its authority.

  • The context highlights the sacrifices made by individuals who lived in constant fear and took great risks to fight for justice and equality. It portrays their struggle as a clandestine battle fought in the shadows, where secrecy and rebellion became necessary tools to resist the oppressive system.

Page 22/ Para 1

I was not born with a hunger to be free. I was born free — free in every way that I could know. Free to run in the fields near my mother’s hut, free to swim in the clear stream that ran through my village, free to roast mealies under the stars and ride the broad backs of slow-moving bulls. As long as I obeyed my father and abided by the customs of my tribe, I was not troubled by the laws of man or God.


Paraphrase in Easy English

I didn't have a strong desire to be free because I was already born free - free in every way I could understand. I could run freely in the fields near my mother's hut, swim in the clear stream in my village, and enjoy simple pleasures like roasting mealies under the stars and riding slow-moving bulls. As long as I followed my father's rules and respected the customs of my tribe, I didn't worry about the laws made by people or even the laws of God.


Glossary

Roast mealies under the stars and ride the broad backs of slow-moving bulls.

In the given context, "roast mealies under the stars and ride the broad backs of slow-moving bulls" refers to the simple and joyful activities that Nelson Mandela enjoyed during his childhood. It highlights the freedom and carefree nature of his early life in the village.


"Roast mealies" refers to cooking corn on the cob over an open fire, usually in the evening when the stars are visible in the sky. This activity represents the comfort and warmth of communal gatherings in the village.


"Riding the broad backs of slow-moving bulls" indicates the playful and adventurous side of Mandela's childhood. It portrays him as a carefree and adventurous young boy, enjoying the thrill of riding domesticated bulls, which were gentle and slow-moving.


Page 22/ Para 2

It was only when I began to learn that my boyhood freedom was an illusion, when I discovered as a young man that my freedom had already been taken from me, that I began to hunger for it. At first, as a student, I wanted freedom only for myself, the transitory freedoms of being able to stay out at night, read what I pleased and go where I chose. Later, as a young man in Johannesburg, I yearned for the basic and honourable freedoms of achieving my potential, of earning my keep, of marrying and having a family — the freedom not to be obstructed in a lawful life.


Paraphrase in Easy English

When I was a young boy, I felt like I had a lot of freedom. I could play and do things I liked without any worries. But as I grew older, I realized that this sense of freedom was not real. I discovered that my true freedom had already been taken away from me.


As a student, I started to crave freedom, but it was more about personal things like staying out late, reading whatever I wanted, and going wherever I pleased. However, as I became a young man living in Johannesburg, I began to long for more meaningful freedoms.


I wanted the freedom to fulfill my potential and achieve my goals. I desired the freedom to work and support myself, to get married, and start a family. These were the basic and honorable freedoms I yearned for, the ones that allowed me to live a lawful and fulfilling life without unnecessary obstacles.

Glossary:


1. "Achieving my potential": Mandela wanted the freedom to develop his abilities, pursue his goals, and make the most of his talents and opportunities.


2. "Earning my keep": He longed for the freedom to work and support himself financially, to be independent and not rely on others for his livelihood.


In essence, Mandela sought the basic and honorable freedoms that are essential to leading a meaningful and dignified life. These rights encompass personal development, financial independence, the ability to build personal relationships, and the liberty to make lawful decisions without interference or obstruction. These aspirations are reflective of the desire for a life filled with purpose, responsibility, and a sense of fulfillment.

Page 22-23 / Para 3

But then I slowly saw that not only was I not free, but my brothers and sisters were not free. I saw that it was not just my freedom that was curtailed, but the freedom of everyone who looked like I did. That is when I joined the African National Congress, and that is when the hunger for my own freedom became the greater hunger for the freedom of my people. It was this desire for the freedom of my people to live their lives with dignity and selfrespect that animated my life, that transformed a frightened young man into a bold one, that drove a law-abiding attorney to become a criminal, that turned a family-loving husband into a man without a home, that forced a life-loving man to live like a monk. I am no more virtuous or self-sacrificing than the next man, but I found that I could not even enjoy the poor and limited freedoms I was allowed when I knew my people were not free. Freedom is indivisible; the chains on anyone of my people were the chains on all of them, the chains on all of my people were the chains on me.

Paraphrase in Easy English

As time went on, I realized that not only was I not free, but my brothers and sisters who looked like me were also not free. It wasn't just my freedom that was restricted, but the freedom of everyone of my community. That's when I decided to join the African National Congress, and my desire for personal freedom turned into a greater hunger for the freedom of my people.


My main goal became fighting for the freedom of my people to live with dignity and self-respect. This purpose transformed me from a scared young man into a brave one, from a law-abiding lawyer into someone who broke the law for a cause, and from a loving family man into a man without a home. I had to give up many aspects of a normal life and live more like a monk.


I am not any more virtuous or self-sacrificing than anyone else, but I couldn't enjoy the limited freedoms I had when I knew my people were still not free. I understood that freedom is something that cannot be divided. The chains that held back any of my people were like chains on all of us, and if my people were not free, then I couldn't truly be free either.


Glossary:

hunger for my own freedom became the greater hunger for the freedom of my people.


In the given context, "hunger for my own freedom became the greater hunger for the freedom of my people" refers to the transformation in Nelson Mandela's perspective and priorities.


At first, Mandela desired personal freedom for himself, like the ability to live without restrictions and enjoy basic rights. However, as he became more aware of the larger societal issues and the oppression faced by his fellow people, his focus shifted.


He realized that his individual freedom was connected to the freedom of his entire community, especially those who faced similar challenges because of their appearance or background. As he observed the collective struggles and limitations imposed on people who looked like him, his desire for personal freedom expanded to include a passionate pursuit of freedom and dignity for his entire community.


In essence, Mandela's quest for personal freedom evolved into a burning desire to advocate for the liberation and rights of his people as a whole. His journey was no longer just about his own freedom but about fighting for the freedom and equality of all those who shared his identity and experiences. This transformation marked a crucial turning point in his life, leading him to become a powerful advocate and leader in the fight against apartheid.


Page 23 / Para 1

I 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; he is locked behind the bars of prejudice and narrowmindedness. I am not truly free if I am taking away someone else’s freedom, just as surely as I am not free when my freedom is taken from me. The oppressed and the oppressor alike are robbed of their humanity.


Paraphrase in Easy English

I understood that not only the oppressed but also the oppressor needs to be freed. When a person takes away another person's freedom, he becomes a prisoner of hatred and is trapped in the prison of prejudice and narrow-mindedness. I am not truly free if I am taking away someone else's freedom, just as I am not free when my own freedom is taken away.


Both the oppressed and the oppressor lose their humanity in this process. It is essential to liberate both parties to restore their dignity and humanity.

Glossary:

I knew that the oppressor must be liberated just as surely as the oppressed:


Mandela recognized that the oppressive system of apartheid not only harmed the oppressed individuals but also corrupted the minds and hearts of the oppressors. Those who enforced and supported the discriminatory policies were also prisoners of hatred, prejudice, and narrow-mindedness.


In this statement, Mandela conveys that true freedom cannot be achieved if one group is oppressing another. The liberation of the oppressed alone is not enough to break the cycle of hatred and injustice. Both the oppressed and the oppressors need to be freed from the damaging effects of apartheid.


Content for CBE-Based Questions:

He advocated for the liberation of the oppressors from their own harmful beliefs and actions, so they could embrace a more humane and inclusive society. Mandela's vision of freedom encompassed not just the physical liberation of the oppressed but also the mental and emotional liberation of those who had perpetuated the system of discrimination.


By acknowledging the need for the oppressors' liberation, Mandela showed his commitment to reconciliation and healing, aiming for a future where all people could live together in harmony and respect, irrespective of their racial or ethnic backgrounds. His understanding of the interconnectedness of freedom and humanity laid the foundation for his pursuit of a just and united South Africa.


The oppressed and the oppressor alike are robbed of their humanity.

In the given context, the statement "The oppressed and the oppressor alike are robbed of their humanity" highlights the dehumanizing and damaging effects of apartheid on both the oppressed and those who enforced the oppressive system.


Mandela recognizes that the oppressive nature of apartheid strips away the humanity of both parties involved in the system. The oppressed individuals, who face discrimination, violence, and denial of basic rights, suffer the loss of their dignity and humanity as they are treated as less than equal human beings.


At the same time, the oppressors, who actively engage in discrimination and cruelty towards others, are also dehumanized. Their actions are rooted in prejudice and hatred, which lead them to mistreat their fellow human beings, eroding their own sense of humanity in the process.


Content for CBE-based Questions:

By emphasizing that both the oppressed and the oppressors are affected by the dehumanizing aspects of apartheid, Mandela underscores the destructive nature of the system on society as a whole. He points out that perpetuating such oppression harms not only the oppressed but also those who are responsible for enforcing and upholding discriminatory practices.


In essence, this statement speaks to the importance of breaking free from the cycle of oppression and discrimination, not just for the sake of the oppressed but also for the moral and spiritual well-being of those who are involved in perpetuating the oppressive system. Recognizing the shared loss of humanity under apartheid underscores the urgent need for reconciliation, healing, and the restoration of human dignity for all.

Easy English Translation is being updated. Keep visiting the site.

NCERT Solution

Oral Comprehension Check ( Page 18 )

1. Where did the ceremonies take place? Can you name any public buildings in India that are made of sandstone? Ans: The ceremonies took place in the lovely sandstone amphitheatre formed by the Union Buildings in Pretoria.

Public buildings in India that are made of sandstone are Rashtrapati Bhavan , Parliament House and Supreme Court of India in New Delhi.

2. Can you say how 10 may is an ‘autumn day’ in South Africa?

Ans: The inauguration ceremony after the first democratic election was held amidst the largest gathering ever of international leaders on South African soil. Therefore, 10th May is regarded as the ‘autumn day’ in south Africa. 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? Ans: By ‘an extraordinary human disaster’ Mandela means the exploitation of the Black people by the Whites for decades together leading to untold suffering and multitude of deaths. ‘Glorious human achievement’ refers to the abolishment of the evil practice of apartheid and the birth of democracy where there will be no discrimination of any sort henceforth.



4. What does Mandela thank the international leaders for? Mandela thanked the international leaders for their indispensable presence in his investiture ceremony as the first Black President of South Africa. He thanked all distinguished international guests for having come to take possession with the people of their country of what is, after all, a common victory for justice, for peace, forhuman dignity. 5. What ideals does he set out for the future of South Africa? Ans He reiterated with unspeakable pride that they achieved their political emancipation. He thenpledged to liberate all his people from the continuing bondage of poverty, deprivation, suffering, gender and other discrimination. He further emphasized that never and never again the beautiful land of South Africa will again experience the oppression of one by another.




6. What do the military generals do? How has their attitude changed, and why?


The military generals of the South African Army demonstrated not only a display of pinpoint precision and military force, but a demonstration of the military’s loyalty to democracy, to a new government that had been freely and fairly elected. The highest generals of the South African defense force saluted Mandela and pledged their loyalty to him. Their attitude underwent a sea change as instead of arresting Mandela, they pledged their loyalty towards him and saluted him. This is because of the landmark achievement that South Africa achieved in terms of the birth of new democracy. 7. Why were two national anthems sung?


Ans: The national anthems of the blacks and the whites were sung in order to express their happiness over the birth of new democracy in South Africa. They jointly displayed their pledge to be together and work towards the development of the nation with the support of the new government. 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? i) In the first decade: The white-skinned peoples of South Africa patched up their differences and erected a system of racial domination against the dark-skinned peoples of their own land. The structure they created formed the basis of one of the harshest, most inhumane, societies the world has ever known. ii) In the Final decade :In the last decade of the twentieth century, the system of racial discrimination that the Whites erected had beenoverturned forever and replaced by one thatrecognized the rights and freedoms of all peoples, regardless of the colour of their skin.




9. What does courage mean to Mandela?

Ans: Courage, according to Mandela, is not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear. 10. Which does he think is natural, to love or to hate?


Ans: According to Mandela,No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than hatred. 11. What “twin obligations” does Mandela mention?


Ans: ‘Twin obligations’refers to obligations to one’s family, to his parents, to his wife and children as well as his obligation to his people, his community and his country.



12. 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 honourable freedoms”? Ans: Being free to Mandela as a boy refers to the freedom of being able to stay out at night, read what you pleased and go where you chose. But when he grew up as a student, he yearns for ‘the basic and honourable freedoms’ of achieving his potential, of earning his keep, of marrying and having a family. ‘Transitory freedoms’ refers to the freedom that we enjoy during our childhood. This is very much transitory in nature as when we grow up, such types of freedom take a back seat. But when we grow up, ‘the basic and honourable freedom’ is what we crave for because it is a kind of freedom that is required for every one of us as adults in a civil society.

Thinking About the Text ( Page 24) 1. Why did such a large number of international leaders attend the inauguration? What did it signify the triumph of? Ans: A rainbow gathering of different colours and nations attended the inauguration in order to pay their respect for the installation of South Africa’s first democratic, non-racial government. It signifies the triumph of the sacrifice of a large multitudes of patriots to liberate South Africa from thralldom of White racial government. In other words, it signifies the victory of democracy over dictatorship. 2. What does Mandela mean when he says he is “simply the sum of all those African patriots” who had gone before him? Ans: Mandela means to say that those countless patriots who fought for liberating their country from the oppression of the Whites are no longer alive to see the fruits of their harvest. Therefore, Mandela is paying tribute to all those patriots as their sacrifices have wrought freedom. He further says that the long chain of legacy and noble line of patriots ended with the birth of democracy and will again begin with him another chain of committed people who would take South Africa to a greater heights of excellence and glory.



3. Would you agree that the “depths of oppression” create “heights of character”? How does Mandela illustrate this? Can you add your own examples to this argument? Ans: Yes, of course. The more hardships you face in life, the more mental endurance you develop. Mandela illustrates the concept very aptly when he said that the decades of oppression and brutality inflicted on the Blacks had produced the likes of Oliver Tambos, the Walter Sisulus, the Chief Luthulis, the Yusuf Dadoos, the Bram Fischers, the Robert Sobukwes of our time. History is replete with examples from India during our freedom struggle. The depths of oppression that people underwent created heights of character like Mahatma Gandhi, Subhash Chandra Bose and many more. 4. How did Mandela’s understanding of freedom change with age and experience?


Ans: Mandela realized that the chains on anyone of his people were the chains on all of them. Similarly, the chains on all of his people were the chains on him. According to him, one is not truly free if he is taking away someone else’s freedom, just as he is not free when his freedom is taken away from him. Therefore, both the oppressor and the oppressed need to be liberated to ensure freedom in the right sense. 5. How did Mandela’s ‘hunger for freedom’ change his life? Ans: As a young man Mandela saw that it was not just his freedom that was curtailed, but the freedom of everyone in his Black community. Therefore, he joined the African National Congress, and then the hunger for his own freedom became the greater hunger for the freedom of his people. It was this desire for the freedom of his people to live their lives with dignity and self respect that animated his life and he began to work tirelessly for the emancipation of his community from the tyranny of the Whites.




CBE-Based Questions

  1. What is the 'extraordinary human disaster' Nelson Mandela refers to in his speech?

  2. How did the policy of apartheid create 'a deep & lasting wound' in South Africa?

  3. What, according to Mandela, was the unintended effect of the decades of oppression and brutality?

  4. Would you agree that the “depths of oppression” create “heights of character”? How does Mandela illustrate this?

  5. What did Mandela learn from the comrades of freedom struggle in South Africa?

  6. How does Mandela justify that love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite? Illustrate with the help of an example.

  7. What, according to Nelson Mandela, are twin obligations? Why do you think one should fulfil those obligations in a civilized society?

  8. Were the people of colour in South Africa able to fulfil those obligations? Give reasons to support your answer.

  9. What were the different types of freedom Nelson Mandela speaks about? Explain with instancs of each type.

  10. How did the perception of freedom change as Mandela grew up? Justify with instances from the text.

  11. Why, according to Mandela, should the oppressor be liberated just as surely as the oppressed?

  12. How did Mandela’s ‘hunger for freedom’ change his life?

  13. 'Man’s goodness is a flame that can be hidden but never extinguished.' Illustrate this statement with the help of an example.

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