Nelson Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom Questions and Answers Class 10


NCERT Solutions for Class 10 English First Flight Chapter 2 “Nelson Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom Questions and Answers Class 10” is a comprehensive guidebook designed for Class 10 students. It provides a detailed analysis of the book, highlighting the key themes, characters, and events. The book offers a range of thought-provoking questions and answers, helping students deepen their understanding of Nelson Mandela’s inspiring journey. Through engaging discussions and critical thinking exercises, students gain valuable insights into the life and struggles of this iconic leader. With its user-friendly format and comprehensive content, this guidebook is an essential resource for Class 10 students studying Nelson Mandela’s autobiography.

NCERT Solutions for Class 10 English First Flight Chapter 2 Nelson Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom Questions and Answers

Questions and Answers

Page no. 18-19

Oral Comprehension Check

Q1. Where did the ceremonies take place? Can you name any public buildings in India that are made of sandstone?

Ans. The swearing-in ceremony of President Nelson Mandela, attended by a host of international dignitaries, was held at the sandstone amphitheatre formed by the Union Buildings in Pretoria. Rashtrapati Bhavan and Red Fort in Delhi are red sandstone buildings in the Capital City of Delhi.

Q2. Can you say how 10 May is an ‘autumn day’ in South Africa?

Ans. Since South Africa is in the Southern Hemisphere, the month of May falls during the autumn season. Hence, 10 May is an ‘autumn day’.

Q3. 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. “An extraordinary human disaster” refers to the apartheid regime in South Africa. President Mandela is referring to the practice of racial segregation in South Africa. As a part of this inhuman practice, the blacks were grossly ill-treated. They were denied even basic human rights and privileges. Nelson Mandela himself had been arrested on charges of terrorism and spent many years in imprisonment on Robben Island. The election of a Black as the President of South Africa is a “glorious human achievement”. This is because prior to this, blacks in South Africa were not even treated as human beings.

Q4. What does Mandela thank the international leaders for?

Ans. Nelson Mandela was overwhelmed by the rainbow gathering of international leaders and dignitaries. He felt a deep sense of privilege and honour in welcoming the community of international leaders at the swearing-in ceremony. Their presence at Union Building was a testimony of the international recognition accorded to the newly born free democratic nation. It symbolised the victory of peace, justice and of human dignity.

Q5. What ideals did he set out for the future of South Africa?

Ans. Nelson Mandela, in his opening speech, put forth the ideals of liberating fellow citizens from the bondage of poverty, of deprivation, of suffering and above all, discrimination of every kind-gender as well as racial.

Page no. 21

Oral Comprehension Check

Q1. What do the military generals do? How has their attitude changed, and why?

Ans. At the swearing-in ceremony, the highest generals of the South African Forces had not just saluted the newly elected President but also pledged absolute loyalty to him and to his office. This gesture becomes significant because not very long ago during the apartheid regime-these same generals would have arrested him without any qualms about it. This change in their attitude was the result of the struggle put up and sacrifices made by numerous heroes of South Africa. Their struggle had brought freedom to the nation, fighting against apartheid and also impacted the mindsets of many.

Q2. Why were two national anthems sung?

Ans. The swearing-in ceremony was a special day for all in South Africa. What made it even more symbolic for Nelson Mandela was the singing of the two national anthems- ‘Nkosi Sikelel iAfrika’ by the whites and the ‘Die Stem’ by the blacks. This marked the end of the apartheid in the hearts of all as it was symbolic of equality between the whites and the blacks.

Q3. 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. (i) In the first decade of the twentieth century, following the gruesome Anglo-Boer War, the white nationals of South Africa, patching up their differences, had got together to put in place a system of racial discrimination against the dark-skinned nationals of South Africa. The system, as it existed back then, was the cruellest, most harsh and most inhuman system that ever existed.

(ii) However, now in the final decade of the twentieth century that old system had been totally uprooted and done away with forever. The cruel and unjust system had been replaced by a new system that recognised and acknowledged the rights and freedoms of all people with no consideration for the colour of their skin.

Q4. What does courage mean to Mandela?

Ans. Courage, according to Nelson Mandela, was not the absence of fear. It was, in fact, the triumph over fear. He was of the opinion that a man who does not feel scared is not brave. But the brave man is actually the man who has managed to defeat his fear, conquering it completely.

Q5. Which does he think is natural, to love or to hate?

Ans. Nelson Mandela was convinced that love and not it’s opposite. hatred comes naturally to all human beings. He believed that no man was born hating another on account of his colour, religion or background.

Page no. 24

Oral Comprehension Check

Q1. What “twin obligations” does Mandela mention? 

Ans. According to Nelson Mandela, every individual has to fulfil “twin obligations” all through his life. These include obligations to his family, his parents, to his wife and his children. Also, in addition to this, every individual has obligations to his people, to his community and to his country.

Q2. 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. Nelson Mandela says that as a boy he never hungered for freedom because he was born free-free in every sense of the word. As long as he was a boy he was free to do whatever he chose to do, free to run about in the fields, free to swim in the stream. In other words, live his life on his own terms. These he calls “transitory freedoms” because as a young man he realised that these are self-centred and meaningless. It was as a youth that he realised that he actually hungered for “the basic honourable freedoms”- the freedom of achieving his potential, the freedom of earning his livelihood, the freedom of marrying according to his wishes and having a family of his own. In short, the freedom to lead a lawful life without any obstructions. 

Q3. Does Mandela think the oppressor is free? Why/ Why not?

Ans. According to Mandela, the oppressor needs as much help as the oppressed. The oppressor who snatches away the freedom of another man is himself a prisoner of hatred. He is imprisoned behind the walls of prejudice, of narrow-mindedness and distrust. The oppressor, like the oppressed, is also deprived of his humanity. Hence, the oppressor has neither peace nor contentment in his life. Thus, he is by no means free. 

Thinking about the Text

Q1. Why did such a large number of international leaders attend the inauguration? What did it signify the triumph of?

Ans. The presence of international leaders in large numbers at the inauguration is indicative of the world’s support and solidarity with the cause of freedom from the inhuman apartheid regime that had been suffocating South Africa for generations. The audience at the inauguration is symbolic of the victory of good over evil and the establishment of a tolerant and amiable society without any discrimination.

Q2. What does Mandela mean when he says he is “simply the sum of all those African patriots” who had gone before him?

Ans. By accepting and acknowledging that he is “simply the same of all those African patriots”, Nelson Mandela pays a tribute to all those patriots who had died fighting for their people and nation. These words are a token of gratitude to all those heroes who had sacrificed their lives in paving the path of cooperation and unity. This was the path that helped Mandela reach where he was today. He honours the heroes of yesteryears stating that it was the groundwork done by them which had helped him come to power and bring equality to his people.

Q3. 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.” Suffering brings out the best in man, adding the extra dimension of courage, patience, honesty and faith. Mandela reminded his audience of the great heroes of history Oliver Tambo, Walter Sisulu, Yusuf Dadoo and Bram Fischer to name a few, who had fought against oppression rising to great heights of extraordinary courage, and wisdom and generosity.  

Our Freedom Struggle – the fight against British oppression and tyranny-gave to India, men of sterling character as Mahatma Gandhi, Bhagat Singh, Subhash Chander Bose, and Lala Lajpat Rai to name a few.

These words of Mandela become even more poignant when we compare the political leaders of the present times with those of the times gone by.

Q4. How does Mandela’s understanding of freedom change with age and experience?

Ans. Age, experience and maturity changed Mandela’s understanding of freedom. As a young boy, he believed that he was born free to live his life on his terms as long as he obeyed his father and followed the customs of his tribe. But with age, experience and maturity came the understanding that simply living life on one’s terms was a very self-centred approach to life. With youth came the yearning for the freedom to marry, raise a family and earn his livelihood. As a young man, he realised that it was not just his freedom but the freedom of all blacks that had been snatched and taken away. With age and experience, he realised that what he wanted not just for himself but for all his fellow countrymen was freedom from fear and prejudice. Thus, age and experience widened his perspective.

Q5. How did Mandela’s ‘hunger for freedom’ change his life?

Ans. Gradually with age, Mandela understood that all those who looked like him were denied the basic freedoms of a decent life. It was then that a frightened young man grew into a ‘bold one’. He then joined the African National Congress and decided to fight for the freedom of all his fellow countrymen. Sacrificing the comforts of a settled life as a law-abiding attorney, he became a rebel, a criminal. With the desire to win for the blacks the freedom to live their life with dignity and self-respect he transformed from a family-loving husband into a man without a home, forcing a life-loving man to live the life of a monk.

Thinking about Language 

Question1. 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 change in the spelling of some verb – noun pairs ; such as rebel, rebellion; constitute, constitution.

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

Constitution Constitute

Ans. I (1) : 


Ans. I (2) :  contribution (contribute)

assistance (assist)

subjugation (subjugate)

humiliation (humiliate)

imprisonment (imprison)

resistance (resist)

Question2. 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’)

(i) Mr Singh regularly invites the Amitabh Bachchans and the Shah Rukh Khans to his parties.

(ii) Many people think that Madhuri Dixit is the Madhubala of our times.

(in) History is not only the story of the Alexanders, the Napoleons and the Hitlers, but of ordinary people as well.

Ans. II (1) : This implies that Mr Singh regularly invites prominent personalities of calibre such as Mr. Amitabh Bachchans and Mr. Shah Rukh Khan to his parties.

Ans. II (2) : This implies that in the current generation, Madhuri Dixit is compared to the great actress, Madhubala.

Ans. II (3) : This means history is not only the story of great figures such as Alexander, Napoleon and Hitlers, but also of other ordinary people.

• Back Exercises 

Ill. 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. III : 

1. I was not unmindful of the fact(i) had not forgotten; was aware of the fact
2. when my comrades and I were pushed to our limits(iii) felt that we could not endure the suffering any longer
3. to reassure me and keep me going(ii) help me continue to live in hope in this very difficult situation
4. the basic and honourable freedoms of…earning my keep….(i) earning enough money to live on


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.

(i) they can be taught to love.

(ii) I was born free.

(iii) but the triumph over it.

(iv) but he who conquers that fear. 

(v) to create such heights of character.

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. ………………………….

Ans. I : (1) to create such heights of character.

(2) but 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.

Ans. II : (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 have always known that its greatest wealth is its people, finer and truer than the purest diamonds.

(5) a demonstration of the military’s loyalty to democracy, to a new government that had been freely and fairly elected.

(6) a frightened young man,

a law-abiding attorney,

a family-loving husband


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