Long Walk to Freedom: Nelson Mandela Class 10 Question Answers

Long Walk to Freedom: Nelson Mandela Lesson Solutions given here include Comprehension Check and Chapter End Textbook Exercises. These solutions are standardised as per CBSE standards.

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 at the Union Buildings in Pretoria, which is made of sandstone.

There are many buildings made of sandstone in India. Some of them are:

  • Rashtrapati Bhavan
  • Red Fort
  • Parliament House
  • Central Secretariat
  • Sher Shah Suri’s tomb
  • Shri Digamber Jain Temple
  • Fatehpur Sikri

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

Ans. In the southern hemisphere, seasons are reversed compared to the northern hemisphere. So, May is considered an autumn month 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. The “extraordinary human disaster” that Mandela refers to is the apartheid system that was in place in South Africa for many years, which caused immense suffering, discrimination, and injustice. The “glorious … human achievement” he speaks of at the end is the achievement of political emancipation, the end of apartheid, and the installation of South Africa’s first democratic, non-racial government.

4. What does Mandela thank the international leaders for?

Ans. Mandela thanks the international leaders for coming to South Africa and taking part in the inauguration, which he calls a “common victory for justice, for peace, for human dignity.”

5. What ideals does he set out for the future of South Africa?

Ans. Mandela sets out several ideals for the future of South Africa, including the liberation of all people from poverty, deprivation, suffering, gender and other discrimination, and the commitment to never again allow the oppression of one group by another. He also emphasizes the importance of human dignity, justice, and peace.

Page: 21

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

Ans. The military generals saluted Mandela and pledged their loyalty to the new government that had been freely and fairly elected. Their attitude changed from being against Mandela and his cause to being loyal to the new democratic government because of the free and fair election.

2. Why were two national anthems sung?

Ans. Two national anthems were sung because it was a symbol of unity and reconciliation between the white and black communities in South Africa. The whites sang ‘Die Stem’, the old anthem of the Republic, and the blacks sang ‘Nkosi Sikelel –iAfrika’.

3. 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?

Ans. In the first decade of the twentieth century, 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, which formed the basis of one of the harshest, most inhumane societies the world has ever known. In the final decade of the twentieth century, that system had been overturned forever and replaced by one that recognized the rights and freedoms of all peoples, regardless of the colour of their skin.

4. 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.

5. Which does he think is natural, to love or to hate?

Ans. Mandela believes that it is natural to love rather than to hate. No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, 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.

Page: 24

1. What “twin obligations” does Mandela mention?

Ans. Mandela mentions two “twin obligations” that every man has – obligations to his family, and obligations to his people, community, and country.

2. 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. As a boy, being free meant to Mandela that he could enjoy the simple pleasures of life, such as running in the fields, swimming in the stream, and roasting mealies under the stars. As a student, he wanted freedom only for himself, such as the freedom to stay out at night, read what he pleased and go where he chose. However, as a young man in Johannesburg, he yearned for the basic and honourable freedoms of achieving his potential, earning his keep, marrying, and having a family – the freedom not to be obstructed in a lawful life.

3. Does Mandela think the oppressor is free? Why/Why not?

Ans. Mandela does not think the oppressor is free because a man who takes away another man’s freedom is a prisoner of hatred and locked behind the bars of prejudice and narrow-mindedness. The oppressor is also robbed of their humanity, just like the oppressed. Therefore, Mandela believes that the oppressor must also be liberated just as surely as the oppressed.


1. Why did such a large number of international leaders attend the inauguration? What did it signify the triumph of?

Ans. A large number of international leaders had gathered to attend the inauguration of the first democratic non-racial government in South Africa. It signified the triumph of justice, peace and human dignity.

2. What does Mandela mean when he says he is ‘‘simply the sum of all those African patriots’’ who had gone before him?

Ans. A large number of black leaders had sacrificed their lives fighting against the policy of apartheid. Mandela followed the path shown by these patriots. He means to say that he is simply a part of the freedom movement started by leaders who had gone before him.

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. It is true that the depths of oppression create heights of character. World history is full of examples where oppression produced great leaders. In South Africa, decades of oppression and brutality produced great leaders who possessed heights of character. It produced leaders like Oliver Tambos, the Walter Sisulus, the Chief Luthulis, the Yusuf Dadoos, the Bram Fischers, the Robert Sobukwes and Mandela himself.

4. How did Mandela’s understanding of freedom change with age and experience?

Ans. Mandela was not born with a hunger to be free. In his boyhood, he was free to run in the fields, to swim, etc. As long as he obeyed his father and abided by the customs of his tribe, he experienced no trouble. But soon he realised that his boyhood freedom was an illusion. As a student, he wanted freedom only for himself. But slowly he saw that he was not free. His brothers and sisters were not free. Their freedom was curtailed. That was when he joined the African National Congress. The hunger for his own freedom now became the hunger for the freedom of his people. He wanted them to live their lives with dignity and self-respect.

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

Ans. Mandela’s hunger for freedom made him join the African National Congress. He wanted freedom of his people so that they could live with dignity and self-respect. This definitely made him fearless. It changed a frightened young man into a bold one. He was a law-abiding attorney but was forced to become a criminal. This hunger for freedom turned a family loving husband into a man without a home. This forced a life loving man to live like a monk


I. There are nouns in the text (formation, government) which are formed from the corresponding verbs (form, govern) by suffixing–(at)ion or ment. There may be a change in the spelling of some verb-noun pairs: such as rebel, rebellion; constitute, constitution.

1. Make a list of such pairs of nouns and verbs in the text.


Noun Verb

2. Read the paragraph below. Fill in the blanks with the noun forms of the verbs in brackets.

Martin Luther King’s ………… (contribute) to our history as an outstanding leader began when he came to the ………… (assist) of Rosa Parks, a seamstress who refused to give up her seat on a bus to a white passenger. In those days American Blacks were confined to positions of second class citizenship by restrictive laws and customs. To break these laws would mean ………… (subjugate) and ………… (humiliate) by the police and legal system. Beatings, ………… (imprison) and sometimes death awaited those who defied the System. Martin Luther King’s tactics of protest involved non-violent ………… (resist) to racial injustice.

Ans. (i) contribution (ii) assistance (iii) subjugation (iv) humiliation (v) imprisonment (vi) resistance

II. Using the Definite Article with Names

Here are some more examples of ‘the’ used with proper names. Try to say what these sentences mean. (You may consult a dictionary if you wish. Look at the entry for ‘the’.)

  1. Mr Singh regularly invites the Amitabh Bachchans and the Shah Rukh
    Khans to his parties.
  2. Many people think that Madhuri Dixit is the Madhubala of our times.
  3. History is not only the story of the Alexanders, the Napoleons and the
    Hitlers, but of ordinary people as well.


1. In the first sentence, “the Amitabh Bachchans and the Shah Rukh Khans” refers to multiple individuals who are family members of or share any bonds with the famous Bollywood actors Amitabh Bachchan and Shah Rukh Khan. It implies that Mr. Singh invites several people with these first names to his parties.

2. In the second sentence, “the Madhubala of our times” refers to Madhuri Dixit being compared to Madhubala, a famous Indian actress from the past. It suggests that Madhuri Dixit is considered to be as talented and popular as Madhubala was in her time.

3. In the third sentence, “the Alexanders, the Napoleons and the Hitlers” refers to famous historical figures who are often studied and talked about in history. By saying “History is not only the story of the Alexanders, the Napoleons and the Hitlers, but of ordinary people as well,” the sentence suggests that history is not just about famous figures, but also about everyday people and their experiences.

III. Idiomatic Expressions

Match the italicised phrases in Column A with the phrase nearest in meaning in Column B. (Hint: First look for the sentence in the text in which the phrase in Column A occurs.)

Ans. 1. (i) had not forgotten, was aware of the fact

2. (iii) felt that we could not endure the suffering any longer.

3. (ii) help me continue to live in hope in this very difficult situation

4. (i) earning enough to live on


In groups, discuss the issues suggested in the box below. Then prepare a speech of about two minutes on the following topic. (First make notes for your speech in writing.)

True liberty is freedom from poverty, deprivation and all forms of discrimination. •

  • causes of poverty and means of overcoming it
  • discrimination based on gender, religion, class, etc.
  • constitutionally guaranteed human rights



Ladies and gentlemen,

As we gather here today, I would like to draw your attention to a crucial issue that affects millions of people worldwide – the concept of true liberty. True liberty is not just about political freedom; it’s about freedom from poverty, deprivation, and all forms of discrimination. Today, I would like to discuss the issues of poverty, discrimination, and human rights and the need to overcome them to achieve true liberty.

Poverty is a significant issue that affects millions of people worldwide. Poverty can be caused by various factors, including lack of education, unemployment, unequal distribution of resources, and so on. We must address these causes of poverty to overcome it. Governments can provide education and job opportunities, implement policies to promote equal distribution of resources, and provide social welfare programs to alleviate poverty.

Discrimination based on gender, religion, class, and other factors is another issue that must be eradicated to achieve true liberty. Everyone deserves equal treatment and respect, regardless of their gender, religion, class, or other factors. Discrimination can lead to social and economic inequality, which can further exacerbate poverty. We must promote equality and inclusion in our societies to overcome discrimination.

Constitutionally guaranteed human rights are essential for achieving true liberty. These rights ensure that every individual is treated equally under the law, regardless of their background or status. We must protect and promote these rights to ensure that everyone has equal opportunities and freedoms.

In conclusion, achieving true liberty is a complex task that requires action on multiple fronts. We must address the causes of poverty, eradicate discrimination, and protect human rights to achieve true liberty. Let us all work together to create a world where everyone can live freely and without fear of poverty, deprivation, or discrimination.

Thank you.


I. Looking at Contrasts

Nelson Mandela’s writing is marked by balance: many sentences have two parts in balance. Use the following phrases to complete the sentences given below.

  1. It requires such depths of oppression ……………..
  2. Courage was not the absence of fear ……………..
  3. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid …………..
  4. If people can learn to hate ……………..
  5. I was not born with a hunger to be free ……………..


1. to create such heights of character.

2. but the triumph over it.

3. but he who conquers that fear.

4. they can be taught to love.

5. I was born free.

II. This text repeatedly contrasts the past with the present or the future. We can use coordinated clauses to contrast two views, for emphasis or effect.

Given below are sentences carrying one part of the contrast. Find in the text the second part of the contrast, and complete each item. Identify the words which signal the contrast. This has been done for you in the first item.

  1. For decades the Union Buildings had been the seat of white supremacy, and now ………
  2. Only moments before, the highest generals of the South African defence force and police ……saluted me and pledged their loyalty. ……… not so many years before they would not have saluted
  3. Although that day neither group knew the lyrics of the anthem ……, they would soon
  4. My country is rich in the minerals and gems that lie beneath its soil,
  5. The Air Show was not only a display of pinpoint precision and military force, but
  6. It was this desire for the freedom of my people …..… that transformed into a bold one, that drove to become a criminal, that turned into a man without a home.


1. 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.

2. but arrested me.

3. know the words by heart.

4. but I have always known that its greatest wealth is its people.

5. a demonstration of the military’s loyalty to democracy.

6. a frightened young man; … a law-abiding attorney; … a family-loving husband

III. Expressing Your Opinion

Do you think there is colour prejudice in our own country? Discuss this with your friend and write a paragraph of about 100 to 150 words about this. You have the option of making your paragraph a humorous one. (Read the short verse given below.)

When you were born you were pink
When you grew up you became white
When you are in the sun you are red
When you are sick you are yellow
When you are angry you are purple
When you are shocked you are grey
And you have the cheek to call me ‘coloured’.


Oh, dear friend, the poem is hilariously accurate. It’s true that in India, there is an unfortunate prevalence of colour prejudice. The lighter your skin, the more you are considered attractive, successful, and desirable. We have so many fairness creams and treatments that promise to make us look fairer, as if that’s the ultimate goal in life.

It’s ridiculous that we judge people based on their skin colour, as if they have any control over it. And yet, we continue to perpetuate this mindset, even in the 21st century. It’s time we realize that skin colour is just a superficial trait and has nothing to do with a person’s worth or abilities.

So, let’s embrace our natural skin colour and celebrate diversity in all its forms. After all, we all turn red when we’re in the sun, yellow when we’re sick, and purple when we’re angry. So, who cares about skin colour when we’re all just a rainbow of emotions?

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