Cover image for Champion of freedom : Nelson Mandela
Champion of freedom : Nelson Mandela
Publication Information:
Greensboro, N.C. : Morgan Reynolds Pub., c2011.
Physical Description:
176 p. : ill. (some col.), col. map ; 23 cm.
Son of a village chief -- Bound heart and soul -- Freedom fighter -- On trial for high treason -- "An outlaw in my own land" -- "The struggle is my life" -- On Robben Island -- "Time to talk" -- "Never again" -- "Madiba".
Personal Subject:
Chronicles the life of the South African statesman who spent more than twenty-seven years in prison for conspiracy to overthrow apartheid and went on to be elected president of the country in 1994.


Material Type
Call Number
Item Available
Book J 921 MANDELA 1 1
Book J 921 MANDELA 1 1
Book TEEN 921 MANDELA 1 1

On Order



On February 11, 1990, South Africa's Nelson Mandela walked free after spending twenty-seven and a half years in prison-more than a third of his adult life. A delirious throng of well-wishers, numbering more than 100,000, greeted him in Cape Town with chants of "Viva Mandela," to which Mandela responded with a clenched-fist salute and an address that began with thanks to "friends, comrades, and fellow South Africans" for their "tireless and heroic sacrifices." Ordinary black South Africans had not heard the voice of their anti-apartheid hero, or even seen what he looked like, in a generation. Release of "the prisoner of the century" captured headlines around the world. The seventy-one-year-old Mandela had been sentenced to life in prison on June 12, 1964, for conspiracy to overthrow the government of South Africa and its policies of white supremacy, known as apartheid. In apartheid South Africa, blacks had no rights: they could not vote, own land, move freely from one place to another, or live in "white" areas; and black children attended schools grossly inferior to those for whites. Initially, Mandela had tried peaceful means to attain equal rights for South Africa's black majority, advocating civil resistance, speaking out, organizing strikes and rallies. However, when the government did not reform, but responded with violence by killing women and children, Mandela and other leading activists turned to armed struggle, carrying out sabotage against non-human targets such as power stations arid government buildings. This was all a far cry from Mandela's humble beginnings as a herdboy in a small village. As a boy, he was often not sure of himself. He cared little for the outside world and rarely challenged authority. But when he grew up, Mandela bravely devoted his life to the cherished ideal of "d democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony with equal opportunities." Four years after Mandela's release from prison, that cherished ideal began to fake shape, when he became the first president of a democratic South Africa, serving as a symbol of peace, unity, and change, even in the face of enormously difficult social and economic challenges. A democratic South Africa is one of the twentieth century's greatest achievements, and its native son. Nelson Mandela, is one of the world's most beloved statesmen. Book jacket.

Author Notes

Kem Knapp Sawyer is the author of several biographies for young readers. This is her second book for Morgan Reynolds.

Reviews 3

School Library Journal Review

Gr 8 Up-Mandela's life and career have captured the imagination of millions, and this biography does nothing to detract from his heroic image. It clearly and logically outlines key events and includes background information that helps readers put historical events in context. Sawyer lays the foundation for Mandela's later greatness by detailing his early life and his relationship to Jongintaba Dalindyebo, regent for the tribal king. The civil rights leader's amazing story is told in a way that should prove enjoyable to many readers. Some passages are dense, but frequent quotations and interesting details balance them out. The text is enhanced by black-and-white and color photographs and reproductions. Side passages are integral and fascinating, covering topics from naming customs to "The Seeds of White Rule." A strong addition to biography collections.-Carol Jones Collins, Hanover Park High School, East Hanover, NJ (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Horn Book Review

Color and black-and-white archival photographs (often poorly reproduced), maps, and sidebars combine with a comprehensive text to present an accessible chronological biography of each notable activist. First-hand accounts, drawn from a variety of sources, lend an authentic voice, while the discussion of historical events and figures provides the political and historical contexts that motivated such determination and sacrifice. Timeline, websites. Bib., ind. [Review covers these Champion on Freedom titles: Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Aung San Suu Kyi, and Nelson Mandela.] (c) Copyright 2012. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Booklist Review

This outstanding Champion of Freedom series presents well-developed portraits of each of its freedom-fighting subjects. Each title vividly illustrates how the individual subjects came of age and how the situations in their countries led them into positions of both leadership and suffering. Detailed notes and long bibliographies reflect the amount of research that went into each volume, but the tone is never dry and scholarly; instead, it's evenhanded, crystal clear, and even personal. Nelson Mandela, while not as clearly written as the other two, brings to light the complexity of the man who became a leader against apartheid in South Africa, surviving years in prison to eventually become the president. The thoughtful book design places sidebars, maps, and other background information in ideal locations and features splashes of color on every page, with excellent photographs throughout. A thoughtful, invigorating standout.--Dove Lempke, Susan Copyright 2010 Booklist

Table of Contents

1 Son of a Village Chiefp. 9
2 "Bound Heart and Soul"p. 27
3 Freedom Fighterp. 43
4 On Trial for High Treasonp. 61
5 "An Outlaw in My Own Land"p. 77
6 "The Struggle Is My Life"p. 87
7 On Robbeh Islandp. 101
8 "Time to Talk"p. 115
9 "Never Again"p. 131
10 "Madiba"p. 149
Timelinep. 159
Sourcesp. 161
Bibliographyp. 168
Web sitesp. 171
Indexp. 172