Reading about Nelson Mandela from the perspective of one of his loved ones in Going to the Mountain by his grandson, Ndaba Mandela, was a great way to gain more insight into the type of man that he was.
Ndaba Mandela notes that there was a disconnect between Nelson Mandela and his children because he spent so much of their lives in prison. After his release, the former South African president devoted his time to getting to know his grandchildren. Ndaba moved in with him as a teenager and they developed a wonderful bond over the years, although there were more than a few rough patches.
Now, raising his own children, it’s clear that Ndaba holds his late grandfather’s wisdom and strength near and dear to him. There are a lot of warm anecdotes and snippets of conversation between the two in this book that made it really enjoyable.
It was interesting to read about the impact of Nelson Mandela’s imprisonment through someone else’s eyes as well. The world often seems only to see him as an untouchable hero for making it through those years and remaining such an advocate for peace, but it of course left its marks on his personality and the way that he sometimes communicated.
Ultimately, though, Going to the Mountain only reinforces the fact that Nelson Mandela was one of a kind and we were blessed to have him on this Earth for as long as we did.
“You alone reign over your own spirit. No weight, no spear, no oppressor can take that self-sovereignty from you.”
To the rest of the world, Nelson Mandela was a giant: an anti-apartheid revolutionary, a world-renowned humanitarian, and South Africa’s first black president. To Ndaba Mandela, he was simply “Granddad.” In Going to the Mountain, Ndaba tells how he came to live with Mandela shortly after he turned eleven–having met each other only once, years before, when Mandela was imprisoned at Victor Verster Prison–and how the two of them slowly, cautiously built a relationship that would affect both their lives in extraordinary ways.
Buy Going to the Mountain at The Strand here.
(This happens to be my favorite indie, but please support your local ones if you’re able to!)