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What did you love best about Long Walk to Freedom, Vol. 1?
The story of Long Walk to Freedom, as a view of the growth of South African politics from the eyes of Nelson Mandela, is timeless. As a South African, it is absolutely crucial to know and understand how we came to be the way we are, and the individuals (although the roles of all the them were not detailed in this book - not enough space!) that were instrument to the changes.
What was one of the most memorable moments of Long Walk to Freedom, Vol. 1?
A particular image of the political prisoners on Robben Island cooking mussels, abalone, and crawfish on the beach while doing "hard labour" :)
How did the narrator detract from the book?
The pronunciation of the Afrikaans and African words and names were HORRENDOUS. Why was a South African not employed to read this text? Just because you got a black guy to read a book written by a black man doesn't mean that he'll get the words right!! If this book teaches one ANYTHING, it's that the colour of your skin says NOTHING about you. Micheal Boatmen may be black, but he is NOT South African, and he says the words "veld", "rondavel", "knopkirrie", "Xhosa" and numerous others COMPLETELY wrong. His pronunciation of "Ag,", "Groote Schuur", and the names like "Mr Willemse", "Johan Strijdom", "Mr Viljoen", "Mr Botha".... it was AGONISING listening to Michael tear apart the commonly heard South Africa sounds so thoroughly. This isn't just a text on South African politics, it reflects on South African culture in more ways than one. It is tantamount that a narrator gets things as basic as pronunciation correct! I hear at the end that there was a "language consultant" that was employed. CLEARLY that person was NOT qualified in ANY way for this job! Ask ANY South African how to pronounce these words, and most would do it for FREE!!!
If you don't know what these words are meant to sound like, ignore all this, it's a GREAT book. If you're from SA and have the time to read the book, save yourself the aural agony.
Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?
The content made me laugh, cry, and giggle in relation to Madiba. It's a great text, and although it's quite biased to his point of view, it IS an autobiography.
The narration made me cringe and wished that I'd bought the ebook and read it instead... at least my brain would have pronounced the words correctly.
Any additional comments?
Just to re-iterate that you should have gotten a South African and NOT and American to read this particular book out loud... Michael Boatman puts on an "African" accent, but the words that Really needed the "African" touch were failed abysmally.
This is also more of a Biography than an Autobiography, since Madiba didn't really have the time to write this text. Richard Stengel did a phenomenal job though, and of course it'll sell better as "written by Nelson Mandela", than Stengel.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
I read this book many years ago, and coming up to Madiba's birthday I thought it would be a good book to re-read. This time I chose an audio format. Being a South African, the narrative was very disappointing and distracting. If you wanted an African to narrate this book for authenticity, an African should have been used, not an American. The accent was fake and many truly South African names, phrases and expressions were terrible. It was difficult to listen to someone trying very hard to be something he wasn't, would have been entirely American or African. As the narrator became tired it was apparent and when he started again, the accent was over exaggerated.
The publishers can now rename themselves as Hatchet audio for the singularly dreadful choice of narrator. While he does a better job than Danny Glover, it is only marginally better. I simply cannot fathom why the publishers couldn't have found a South African narrator to do the reading. There are plenty of good ones.
Any narrator who reads a South African novel and cannot manage simple words like "veld" and "Drakensberg" should not bother to apply. And the phony black accent is insulting. Really insulting. Didn't they learn anything by reading the book?
7 of 8 people found this review helpful
I was not only amazed by the journey, but also the strength, courage and tenacity shown by a true Saint.
Of course to regular politicians his goals and desires must have felt so awkward !!
And of those that labelled him a terrorist and then later embraced him. Shame on Margaret Thatcher who not only called him a terrorist but went to lengths to support big business in South Africa, not least Barclays Bank...
1 of 1 people found this review helpful