Book Review: Going To The Mountain: Life Lessons From My Grandfather Nelson Mandela

Today (July 18th) is Nelson Mandela Day. The importance of this great and peaceful man is not to be dismissed, and will still resonate with for us a long time from now. I wanted to take the opportunity to touch upon a great book about a great leader, that has fought so hard for the rights of many South African’s and paid so dearly for it.

Book Details:

Title: Going To The Mountain: Life Lessons From My Grandfather Nelson Mandela

Author: Ndaba Mandela

Publisher: Hachette Books

Publication Date: June 26th, 2018

Genre: Non-Fiction, Biographical


My thoughts on the book

This story is heart-wrenching, deeply touching, and at times frustrating – not with the narrative, or how it was constructed, but when we as the reader remember, that this is not a story about a time long gone, but a story about our recent times.

I remember being told about apartheid, and it’s brutality while taking an Ethics class in Germany, and how I could barely imagine the truth about this atrocity – what we learned, never left me, so it was clear that I would pursue the chance to read a first-hand account of how it was to survive (and sometimes thrive for a brief moment) during this time.

Some moments are hard to read, the emotional and in depth details that Ndaba Mandela chooses to share are raw, but they must be heard. After all, we can only learn from that which we remember, and even if South Africa is far away (from this book reading Las Vegas resident, at least), it is important.

The life lessons within this book are honest, deep, and cover just about every subject, as Ndaba recalls his Grandfather’s words and guidance.

What is also profound, is that it gives an insight into a culture we may not understand, but can learn so much from. It is also a story about growth, about the power of will, and the overcoming of obstacles, and struggles.

I came to believe that this book is a must-read for just about everyone – I can not point out a specific group of people who would benefit more – those of us who remember hearing about apartheid as it was happening (even from the distance) – or those who are the generation that needs to learn that struggles can be overcome, and how in the big scheme of things, their obstacles may not be as big as they may have imagined.


Book Rating

5 out of 5 Stars


Book Summary:

The first-ever book to tell Nelson Mandela’s life through the eyes of the grandson who was raised by him, chronicling Ndaba Mandela’s life living with, and learning from, one of the greatest leaders and humanitarians the world has ever known.

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.

It wasn’t an easy transition. Mandela had high expectations for those around him, especially his family, and Ndaba chafed at the strict rules and exacting guidelines in his grandfather’s home. But at the same time–through overheard calls from foreign dignitaries as well as the Xhosa folk wisdom that his grandfather shared with him at every opportunity–Ndaba was learning how to be a man. On a scale, both personal and epic, Ndaba’s extraordinary journey mirrors that of South Africa’s coming of age–from the segregated Soweto ghettos into which he was born to the privileged life in which he grew up and the turbulent yet exciting times in which he carries on his grandfather’s legacy.

Going to the Mountain is, in the end, a story about unlocking the power within each of us. It’s a cautionary tale about how a child’s life can go one way or the other, depending upon the intervention of a caring soul–and about the awesome power of love to serve as a catalyst for change.


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