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Nelson Mandela Prisoner To Freedom Essay

832 words - 4 pages

“As I walked out the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if I didn’t leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I’d still be in prison” (Mandela). In recent times, since Mandela’s death, his renowned views on leadership have been of great debate around the world. To most, he was the first president of South Africa, a respected and courageous leader, but before that he was a convicted terrorist. His “hatred for the oppressor” taught him to forgive and forget and to emerge from prison as a better man. Twenty-seven years in prison didn’t change Mandela’s stance on racial oppression, and throughout his sentence, he became a martyr for equal rights and freedom.
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“Poverty was [the guard’s] opportunity” (Long Walk to Freedom). Through bribery, the guards would often sneak in paper, books, and newspapers to trade with prisoners. If caught the prisoners would spend anywhere from a day to many months in an isolation cell; a painful period where they would go days without food. “In early years, isolation became a habit” (Long Walk to Freedom).
After many years, Mandela decided that “instead of embracing hatred and bitterness, he [would use his] time in prison to look inward and focus on changing himself” ( He perused many government officials in an attempt to be released early, but in his free time he attended church, and played chess. They would spend many hours playing on the board, and would have the wardens lock up the chessboards after the day was finished. Mandela applied for a permission of study at the “university behind bars” ( His dream was to study Afrikaans, a language of South Africa derived from the Dutch. During his last years in prison he taught, debated, and helped the other prisoners, guiding them to a better life so that one day they could truly be at peace. On August 12, 1988 Mandela was diagnosed with Tuberculosis at Tygerberg Hospital. On December 7, 1988 he was transferred to Victor Vestor Prison. And on February 11, 1990 Mandela was released from prison as “the world’s most famous yet least recognizable political...

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