A Must Read for all Karyakartas

Having seen the film Invictus a few years ago (a film that everyone must also see), I became really interested in learning about Nelson Mandela’s life. The size of the book (over 700 pages) had always put me off but after getting a Kindle I managed to forget about the length and finally start reading it.

My father had always told me that it was important to read about great people’s lives to learn about their struggles and how they overcame these to gain inspiration and show that we can also achieve this. This book showed exactly that, going
through the whole of Nelson Mandela’s life providing numerous teachings that we can take away and apply within our own lives.

A few snippets from the book that particularly resonated with me as a karyakarta were:

• In Mandela’s early working life he worked full time as a lawyer, had a family to look after and still managed to find the time and energy in the evenings and weekends to carry out work for the ANC (African National Congress) because of
his dedication to the cause and also the support and understanding of his family.

• As one of the first black African lawyers he used his skills to help his community, taking on many legal cases at nominal/no fees to help struggling members of the community against unjust laws.

• Mandela had a lifelong passion for learning, continuing distance learning when he was in prison at Robben Island and setting up a University of Robben Island with his fellow inmates to teach younger inmates about the ANC – its history, philosophy and mission which enabled the younger inmates to understand the background of their work.

BookReview: Long Walk to Freedom – Nelson Mandela 26 Jan – Jun 2014

• Discipline and physical fitness – Mandela loved boxing and trained throughout his life including in prison and afterwards where he had daily fitness regime. This provided him with time to reflect and recharge as well as ensuring he remained strong and healthy to work for the ANC cause.

• Team working. There were many cases throughout the book where Mandela did not agree with certain policies and decisions that the ANC team made and he argued his case in each one, changing decisions in some cases and not in others. But once a decision was made, even if he did not agree with it, he followed them because it was a team consensus.

These are just some of the many lessons I took from the book which hopefully have also resonated with all karyakartas reading this. I highly recommend that you find time to read this book as it will hopefully inspire and motivate you as much as it has done for me.

Dipvandana Mehta, Lincoln