"Long Walk to Freedom: The Autobiography of Nelson Mandela," Vocabulary from Parts 1-3

April 15, 2014
From activist to prisoner to leader of the very nation that imprisoned him, Nelson Mandela tells his own amazing story in "Long Walk to Freedom: The Autobiography of Nelson Mandela."

Learn these word lists for the autobiography: Parts 1-3, Parts 4-6, Parts 7-8, Parts 9-11
In Xhosa, Rolihlahla literally means “pulling the branch of a tree,” but its colloquial meaning more accurately would be “troublemaker.”
The Xhosa are a proud and patrilineal people with an expressive and euphonious language and an abiding belief in the importance of laws, education, and courtesy.
That is a misnomer in that no such title existed, but the role he played was not so different from what the designation implies.
Justice and I became the best of friends, though we were opposites in many ways: he was extroverted, I was introverted; he was lighthearted, I was serious.
The power and influence of chieftaincy pervaded every aspect of our lives in Mqhekezweni and was the preeminent means through which one could achieve influence and status.
Unanimity, however, might be an agreement to disagree, to wait for a more propitious time to propose a solution.
At the very end of the council, a praise-singer or poet would deliver a panegyric to the ancient kings, and a mixture of compliments to and satire on the present chiefs, and the audience, led by the regent, would roar with laughter.
Though not lawyers, these men presented cases and then adjudicated them.
These last few days of boyhood were spent with the other initiates, and I found the camaraderie enjoyable.
Circumcision is a trial of bravery and stoicism; no anesthetic is used; a man must suffer in silence.
hurly burly
I enjoyed the discipline and solitariness of long-distance running, which allowed me to escape from the hurly-burly of school life.
I have never had a problem in staying up through the night, but during one such night I was put in a moral quandary that has remained in my memory.
I predict that one day, the forces of African society will achieve a momentous victory over the interloper.
From the start, I saw that Oliver’s intelligence was diamond-edged; he was a keen debater and did not accept the platitudes that so many of us automatically subscribed to.
Was I sabotaging my academic career over an abstract moral principle that mattered very little?
I did not dwell on the situation at Fort Hare, but life has a way of forcing decisions on those who vacillate.
The regent believed Justice and I brought out the worst in each other, or at least Justice’s penchant for adventures and high-jinks influenced my more conservative disposition.
The noise was harsh and ubiquitous: the rasp of shaft-lifts, the jangling power drills, the distant rumble of dynamite, the barked orders.
He was a friendly, solicitous man, and after I had been there a short while, I told him that my real aspiration was to be a lawyer.
I was embarrassed by my threadbare clothing and crossed to the other side hoping she would not recognize me.
Justice had formed a liaison with a young woman, and I knew he had no intention of going home.
The WNLA compound was a multiethnic, polyglot community of modern, urban South Africa.
During lunch breaks he would often give impromptu lectures; he loaned me books to read, recommended people for me to talk to, meetings for me to attend.
The Advisory Board meetings were perfunctory and bureaucratic, but the ANC meetings were lively with debate and discussion about Parliament, the pass laws, rents, bus fares—any subject under the sun that affected Africans.
I befriended Tony O’Dowd and Harold Wolpe, who were political radicals and members of the Communist Party, and Jules Browde and his wife, who were liberal champions of the anti- apartheid cause.
I had no epiphany, no singular revelation, no moment of truth, but a steady accumulation of a thousand slights, a thousand indignities, a thousand unremembered moments, produced in me an anger, a rebelliousness, a desire to fight the system that imprisoned my people.
He enjoyed the relationships he had formed with the white establishment and did not want to jeopardize them with political action.
They reminded us that the freedom struggle was not merely a question of making speeches, holding meetings, passing resolutions, and sending deputations, but of meticulous organization, militant mass action, and, above all, the willingness to suffer and sacrifice.
The often haphazard segregation of the past three hundred years was to be consolidated into a monolithic system that was diabolical in its detail, inescapable in its reach, and overwhelming in its power.
The policy was supported by the Dutch Reform Church, which furnished apartheid with its religious underpinnings by suggesting that Afrikaners were God’s chosen people and that blacks were a subservient species.
We advocated the re-division of land on an equitable basis; the abolition of color bars prohibiting Africans from doing skilled work; and the need for free and compulsory education.
He was not very knowledgeable about the ANC nor was he an experienced activist, but he was respectable, and amenable to our program.
Both laws epitomized the ethos of the Nationalist government, which pretended to preserve what they were attempting to destroy.
This type of raid was something new and set a pattern for the pervasive and illegal searches that subsequently became a regular feature of the government’s behavior.
The greatest jolt came when Dr. Moroka tendered a humiliating plea in mitigation to Judge Rumpff and took the witness stand to renounce the very principles on which the ANC had been founded.

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