After reading LONG WALK TO FREEDOM, I came away with a sense of awe for a man who spent 27 years in prison but never gave up the hope for his freedom and the freedom of his country.
Communicating was key to keeping the "freedom fighters" on the outside informed and encouraged. One way this was done was to write in tiny, coded script on toilet paper. The paper was so small and easily hidden that this became a popular way of smuggling out messages. When the authorities discovered a number of these communications, they took the extraordinary measure of rationing toilet paper. After awhile, only eight squares of toilet paper were given to each prisoner each day.
To live under such conditions where you can be so isolated from the world (For 27 years), that you contemplate conversing with a cockroach, is a test of the human spirit. To sacrifice the obligations of family so that a nation of people can breath in freedom is nothing short of courageous with a fiercely determined spirit. Here is what Nelson Mandela writes about in his struggle for family and nation:
I did not in the beginning choose to place my people above my family, but in attempting to serve my people, I found I was prevented from fulfilling my obligations as a son, a brother, a father, and a husband.
In that way, my commitment to my people, to the millions of South Africans I would never know or meet, was at the expense of the people I knew best and loved most. It was as simple and yet as incomprehensible as the moment a small child asks her father, "Why can you not be with us?" And the father must utter the terrible words: "There are other children like you, a great many of them....." and then one's voice trails off.
Nelson Mandela is a man that has a spirit and determination that is above and beyond most people or leaders today. READ THE BOOK!! It will open your eyes and in the end, it'll make you feel good about the human spirit.