Yes, Mandela - Analytical Essay

889 Words Jan 31st, 2015 4 Pages
Yes, Mandela
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Essay

Nelson Mandela became a legend long before he passed away and to most of the world he is known as the greatest hero of South Africa. According to the Oxford dictionary a hero is:
“1 a person especially a man, who is admired by many people for doing sth brave or good. [...] 3 a person, especially a man, that you admire because of a particular quality or skill that they have.”
There were several political prisoners imprisoned on Robben Island both before, during and after Mandela served on the island. But why was Mandela the only one to become a living legend?

The poem “Yes, Mandela” by Dennis Brutus, is a lyrical poem describing the sender’s strong emotional
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It is crucial to see the poem in a historical and political context to be able understand the imagery and metaphors used in the poem. Imagery and metaphors are commonly used in poetry, and so it is in Dennis Brutus’ “Yes, Mandela”. Imagery describes the prison years as “…a blanket cobwebbed of pain and grime.” The horrifying description of the prison years is a contrast to the description of Mandela’s appearance when stepping free “…you step free so erectly, so elegantly”. The contrast reinforces the picture of a physical and mentally strong and elegant Mandela. Contrasts are also used later to underline his strong personality once again “…impress your radiance on the grey morning air”. Brutus describes the sand on the island as “harsh, white and treacherous” which metaphorically refers to the apartheid regime. Mandela conducted hard labor during his time on Robben Island, which we see is referred to in another metaphor describing the sufferings caused by the apartheid. The violent regime was like ”jagged rocks and krantzes bladed crevices of racism and deceit”, not only to Nelson Mandela but to all races except the white.

The poem is published in 1991, one year after Mandela’s release. The poem is rather short, with only three stanzas and 20 lines. This is however fairly characteristic for a lyrical poem. It is a lyrical poem because it doesn’t tell a story from beginning to end, but it expresses the speaker’s state of mind and emotions linked