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Going to the Mountain: Life Lessons from My Grandfather, Nelson Mandela

4.02  ·  Rating details ·  406 ratings  ·  57 reviews
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 Afri
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published June 26th 2018 by Hachette Books
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Donna Davis
Jun 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone.
Nelson Mandela’s hundredth birthday approaches. His grandson Ndaba, whom Mandela raised following his release from prison, talks about growing up with the titan that led the movement against Apartheid in South Africa. He reflects on Xhosa culture and the role that it played in the struggle and in his own development, and it is within this framework that he talks about his grandfather, and about the future of his people.

My thanks go to Net Galley and Hachette Books for the review copy, which I r
Alyssa Nelson
*I received a free copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.*

Going to the Mountain is a powerful memoir, told by Ndaba Mandela, the grandson of Nelson Mandela. He talks of his coming of age during a time when South Africa was in turmoil, and how the transition from apartheid to its current state affected him and his family. “Going to the mountain” is a phrase used by people in his tribe when they undertake the ritual to become a man, and ultimately,
Jan 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was really craving nonfiction when I picked this up from my stack. I wanted something solid and inspiring. I chose the right one. Written by Ndaba Mandela, Nelson Mandela's grandson, it reads like short stories and snippets of life lessons he got from him, not only from going to live with him, but also events that happened in his life which involved Mandela.

For me, Mandela is beyond inspiring and his face showed such a high level of kindness - you can see it on this cover. It is a very real b
Sep 20, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: auto-biography
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Benjamin McCarthy
Dec 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
First review on this app and a great read to start on. I love non-fiction and I am really trying to read more. This book made that very easy. I loved Ndaba’s ability to story tell and paint the picture of life in the same household as Madiba. I really got a sense for the surroundings and some days felt as though I was sitting at the table reading the paper with them.

The book is a clever presentation of Mandela’s teachings through very anecdotal means. Instead of a bunch of quotes strewn through
Jul 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Ndaba Mandela, grandson of Nelson Mandela, retells stories, lessons, and legends from his grandfather in his recently released book entitled “Going to the Mountain.” Ndaba starts with the story of first meeting his grandfather under unique circumstances - him being seven years-old and his grandfather in jail. A few years later, his immediate family moves apart, and he begins to live with Nelson.

Ndaba tells rich folk tales and stories about meeting fa
Jul 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Inspiring words from Nelson Mandela’s grandson

Ndaba Mandela shares a candid and unflinching story about growing to know and love his grandfather. An amazing account of a life journey that still has so far to go. Looking forward to seeing how he will take in ever greater leadership roles.
Marcy prager
Jul 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
It was very interesting to learn about Nelson Mandela from his grandson, who lived with him when he was young. Ndaba Mandela's parents were both alcoholics. Ndaba lived in Soweto until Nelson came out of jail after 27 years. When Nelson offered to house his grandson, his parents agreed, and for the first time Ndaba had a real home. Nelson had high expectations for his grandson. Ndaba, not always having a mature attitude, did not always follow his grandfather's high expectations, particularly whe ...more
Cristie Underwood
Jun 21, 2018 marked it as kindle
Going to the Mountain is a powerful memoir, told by Ndaba Mandela, the grandson of Nelson Mandela. He about coming of age when South Africa was in turmoil, and how the transition from apartheid to its current state affected him and his family. His tribe used the phrase "Going to the mountain" when they undertake the ritual to become a man. The writer wrote a brilliant book about this period of his life and about the lessons he learned. This book offered a glimpse of the relationship that Nelson ...more
Dec 07, 2020 rated it really liked it

“Not human beings having a spiritual experience, but Spiritual beings having a human experience.”

Madiba-Xhosa clan name


This was Mr Mandela’s birth name: it is an isiXhosa name that means “pulling the branch of a tree”, but colloquially it means “troublemaker”. His father gave him this name.
This name was given to him on his first day at school by his teacher, Miss Mdingane. Giving African children English names was a custom among Africans in those days and was influenced by Britis
David Kenvyn
Aug 30, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is a unique view of Nelson Mandela. It is written by his grandson, Ndaba, and it tells the story of being brought up by Mandela, and what it meant to have him as an example, a mentor and the patriarch of the family. Of course, he was not the usual patriarchal figure because for 27 years he was not there. He was in prison. Ndaba Mandela did not meet his grandfather until he was seven years old, and the meeting took place in Victor Verster prison, a few months before his release. In thos ...more
Ashna  Altaf
Apr 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
A beautiful book. The reason I had picked it up was the fact that it's written by Mandela's grandson Ndaba, so, I had expected that I would get an insight about what Mandela was like in his daily life, and, the book is as expected.
It's a book in which the author, Ndaba tells his life story, how he was inspired by his grandfather, the Legend, Nelson Mandela, and how this man helped him grow , and how he had supported him. Moreover, we come to know about the principles Mandela followed, the visio
D.B. John
Mar 13, 2021 rated it really liked it
This short, marvelous book moved me to tears.

Fascinating insight into what it was like to be a kid growing up in the household of his grandfather, who happened to be one of the greatest figures in history in his own lifetime. A man of such wisdom and compassion that, after 27 years in prison, said,
'Freedom is indivisible. The oppressor must be liberated just as surely as the oppressed. A man who takes away another man's freedom is a prisoner of hatred, he is locked behind bars of prejudice. Th
Sep 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020, own-pb, memoir
How does one write a review about other persons’ personal experience? This book is Ndaba Mandelas’ autobiography written to tell about his experience being raised by his granddad Nelson Mandela. It was not only his story, but also dedication to his “Old Man” about everything he was honored to learn from this powerful man.

Up until now, I had a pretty straight-forward “what I learned in my history class” impression about Nelson Mandela. This book helped to shape a little more of an opinion about h
Oct 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A beautifully written and insightful book about being Nelson Manela's Grandson. What he experienced growing up in his Grandfathers home and the lessons he learned from a great man. I really enjoyed reading this book.
There were some areas that caused a stumbling point for me. Ndaba compares Cinderella to a African folk story which has some similarities, however he states that the Cinderella version is all beautiful and everyone lives happily ever after with no dark elements of the story. The Afr
Jan 26, 2021 rated it it was amazing
As a human rights student, Nelson Mandela (AKA Madiba) is one of my idols. I’ve written a few papers on him and I love how he raised awareness on Black empowerment, education, HIV/AIDs, and equality between Black and White South Africans. I've read lots about and by him so when I found a book by his grandson I just had to get it!

Ndaba Mandela, Nelson Mandela’s grandson, moved in with his grandfather when he was 11 years old shortly after Mandela was released from prison. His grandfather was basi
Aug 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Knowing little to nothing about Mandela and his time as president, Going to the Mountain gave a beautiful insight into the history of Africa. I was pleasantly surprised by how engaging this account was, both funny and wise simultaneously. For those that haven’t been exposed to much black culture I would really recommend reading this. It sheds light to the harsh reality of white supremacy and how others were treated. Bringing understanding to black culture and connection of family alongside the j ...more
Mar 20, 2021 rated it it was ok
Ndaba met his grandfather for the first time when he was seven and Nelson Mandela was still serving his prison term. Ndaba spent his teenage years living with his grandfather. This is a memoir of his youth and rebellion and ultimately learning to take the things his grandfather tried to instill in him to heart.
I was interested in reading this thinking it would be a different perspective - one of immediate family - on the life of Nelson Mandela. And it is that, in the quiet way that he influenc
Ad Pluijmers
Oct 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read the Dutch translation (De moed om te vergeven). Nelson Mandela's grandson Ndaba gives some insights in the family man Nelson (Madiba). His grandfather takes him in his house and teaches him the 'lessons of life'. This is not always easy for a member of the Mandela family. After growing through 'normal' puberty Ndaba is subjected to the initiation rituals of his tribe. He finally does manage to graduate in the presence of his grandfather. Together with his nephew Kweku he now leads Africa ...more
Oct 13, 2020 rated it liked it
I hate to say it but I couldn’t get through the whole book, I read a little over half way . I think upon picking this book up I anticipated learning more about apartheid, and Nelson Mandela’s journey a little bit more through his grandson. I felt like the grandson did a good job of painting the picture and displaying his grandfathers character but I think I wanted more history. I also think I still learned a lot but I think overall it just wasn’t what I was anticipating and didn’t feel captured ...more
Jonathan Johnson
Jun 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Great book
I loved hearing the story of Nelson Mandela told by his grandson
Nelson Mandela went to prison for wanting to change South Africa when his kids were young
By the time he got out 30 years later his country and family were in disarray
He took in the author when he was young and taught him how to be a man
The story not only praises Nelson as a leader but it shows some of his flaws as well
I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to learn about South Africa’s from apartheid to democracy
Aug 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Ndaba Mandela was raised by his grandfather, Nelson, after his grandfather, Nelson, had been released from prison after almost 30 years. He and his grandfather did not know each other. His grandfather had very high expectations for Ndaba. It is a remarkable story at a remarkable time in South Africa.
Nov 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: electronic
This book was an excellent journey, into the insight of someone who managed to grow up with family issues, not so much that it was normal or normalized, but the incidents presented demonstrated a solution, sometimes painful, some wisdom, and perspective. In many ways it does illustrate how thoughts and feelings are passed from generation to generation.
Melissa Rinehart
Feb 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Ndaba Mandela's book expertly describes the balance between modern society and his rich culture and the incredible difference steady persistence can make. This book was a joy and pleasure to read...just wish I had read it aloud to my son. It gave me hope and a feeling of optimism that we still have strong leaders to fight for freedom. ...more
Aimee Mercure
Apr 20, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: on-kindle
Honestly I was very disappointed by the book. It was repetitive and didn't delve enough in Nelson Mandela. It was missing something (the 'x' factor) that makes a book really great. I was very excited to start reading this and bummed when I had finished.

The 'Going to the Mountain' aspect was very interesting- I'd be curious to learn more.
Ellie Thomas
Nov 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Beautifully written memoir which adds another dimension to the life and times of Nelson Mandela. Having just visited South Africa this book helped fill in some missing historical pieces of the puzzle.
Aug 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
I thought this book was really insightful and a pleasant read; I found it to be both a brief educational introduction to Nelson Mandela himself as well as into certain South African cultures. It was interesting to hear about Nelson Mandela from an outside perspective.
Adam Cormier
Nov 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Great recounting of life with Nelson Mandela after his release from prison and what it meant to be his grandson. Mandela made a point to get his grandson ready to inherit the duty of bringing South Africa out from underneath the long lasting effects of apartheid. Highly recommend.
Greg Foster
Nov 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This was a fantastic book, highly inspirational and well written. Would recommend to anyone wanting a new perspective on life in general, especially given the prominence of the black lives matter movement today.
Jun 28, 2018 rated it it was ok
2.5* Felt childish at times.
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“There has to come a time when we children of apartheid, black and white, say to each other, "Look, my grandparents were not right with your grandparents. My parents were not right with your parents. But I want to be right with you." We have to be the generation who understands that racism, sexism, homophobia, religious bigotry - inequality in all its ugly guises - splinters the most powerful asset available to humankind: unity.” 1 likes
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