Published in 1995, Long Walk to Freedom is Nelson Mandela's own story of his journey from his birth in 1918 in a tiny village in the Transkei, and an idyllic childhood, through his life as a young lawyer in the bustling city of Johannesburg under apartheid, increasing politicisation by his experiences in the city, membership of the African National Congress, arrest and 27 years' imprisonment, to release and eventual election as President in South Africa's first national, non-racial, one-person-one-vote election.
After 20 years' imprisonment on Robben Island, the political situation is changing and Mr Mandela is moved suddenly to a prison on the mainland.
This extraordinary story is read by the South African actor John Kani who first came to prominence in Europe in the plays 'Sizwe Bansi is Dead' for which he won a Tony in New York, and The Island which he co-wrote. He received an Olivier award for 'My Children My Africa.'
The music at the beginning of the programme is the South African National Anthem, Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika.
Abridged by Michelene Wandor
Produced by Chris Wallis
A Watershed production for BBC Radio 4.