After being released from prison and winning South Africa’s first free election, Nelson Mandela presided over a country still deeply divided by fifty years of apartheid. His plan was ambitious if not far-fetched: use the national rugby team, the Springboks—long an embodiment of white-supremacist rule—to embody and engage a new South Africa as they prepared to host the 1995 World Cup. The string of wins that followed not only defied the odds, but capped Mandela’s miraculous effort to bring South Africans together again in a hard-won, enduring bond.
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With the passing of Nelson Mandela, ‘the father of the nation’, comes the end of an era, and the moment to look back on his remarkable saving, and remaking, of South Africa. After years of oppression and racial inequality, concentrated violence and apartheid, Mandela led the country to unite ‘for the freedom of us all’ as the country’s first black President.
SOUTH AFRICA: HISTORY IN AN HOUR gives a lively account of the formation of modern South Africa, from the first contact with seventeenth-century European sailors, through the colonial era, the Boer Wars, apartheid and the establishment of a tolerant democracy in the late twentieth century. Here is a clear and fascinating overview of the emergence of the ‘Rainbow Nation’.
Know your stuff: read about South African history in just one hour.
Arrested in 1962 as South Africa’s apartheid regime intensified its brutal campaign against political opponents, forty-four-year-old lawyer and African National Congress activist Nelson Mandela had no idea that he would spend the next twenty-seven years in jail. During his 10,052 days of incarceration, the future leader of South Africa wrote a multitude of letters to unyielding prison authorities, fellow activists, government officials, and, most memorably, to his courageous wife, Winnie, and his five children. Now, 255 of these letters, many of which have never been published, provide exceptional insight into how Mandela maintained his inner spirits while living in almost complete isolation, and how he engaged with an outside world that became increasingly outraged by his plight.
Organized chronologically and divided by the four venues in which he was held as a sentenced prisoner, The Prison Letters of Nelson Mandela begins in Pretoria Local Prison, where Mandela was held following his 1962 trial. In 1964, Mandela was taken to Robben Island Prison, where a stark existence was lightened only by visits and letters from family. After eighteen years, Mandela was transferred to Pollsmoor Prison, a large complex outside of Cape Town with beds and better food, but where he and four of his comrades were confined to a rooftop cell, apart from the rest of the prison population. Finally, Mandela was taken to Victor Verster Prison in 1988, where he was held until his release on February 11, 1990.
With accompanying facsimiles of some of his actual letters, this landmark volume reveals how Mandela, a lawyer by training, advocated for prisoners’ human rights. It reveals him to be a loving father, who wrote to his daughter, “I sometimes wish science could invent miracles and make my daughter get her missing birthday cards and have the pleasure of knowing that her Pa loves her,” aware that photos and letters he sent had simply disappeared.
More painful still are the letters written in 1969, when Mandela—forbidden from attending the funerals of his mother and his son Thembi—was reduced to consoling family members through correspondence. Yet, what emerges most powerfully is Mandela’s unfaltering optimism: “Honour belongs to those who never forsake the truth even when things seem dark & grim, who try over and & over again, who are never discouraged by insults, humiliation & even defeat.”
Whether providing unwavering support to his also-imprisoned wife or outlining a human-rights philosophy that resonates today, The Prison Letters of Nelson Mandela reveals the heroism of a man who refused to compromise his moral values in the face of extraordinary punishment. Ultimately, these letters position Mandela as one of the most inspiring figures of the twentieth century.
From The Prison Letters of Nelson Mandela
“A new world will be won not by those who stand at a distance with their arms folded, but by those who are in the arena, whose garments are torn by storms & whose bodies are maimed in the course of contest.”
“I am convinced that floods of personal disaster can never drown a determined revolutionary nor can the cumulus of misery that accompanies tragedy suffocate him.”
“My respect for human beings is based, not on the colour of a man’s skin nor authority he may wield, but purely on merit.”
“A good pen can also remind us of the happiest moments in our lives, bring noble ideas into our dens, our blood & our souls. It can turn tragedy into hope & victory.”
This study traces the evolution of the anti-apartheid movement from its origins in the 1940s through the civil rights and black power eras to its maturation in the 1980s as a force that transformed U.S. foreign policy. The
movement initially met resistance and was soon repressed, only to reemerge during the civil rights era, when it became radicalized with the coming of the black freedom movement. The book looks at three important political groups: TransAfrica -- the black lobby for Africa and the Caribbean; the Free South Africa Movement; and lastly the Congressional Black Caucus and its role in passing sanctions against South Africa over President Reagan's veto. It concludes with an assessment of the impact of sanctions on the release of Nelson Mandela and his eventual election as president of South Africa.
Taking a double Yellow Jersey was a staggering achievement. This memoir shows just how remarkable it was, given the uphill struggle Froome faced. Growing up in Kenya, biking down mile after mile of dusty road, and staying in a humble tin hut, he developed a fierce passion and determination to win.
The road to Europe was long, gruelling and filled with setbacks - but it prepared him for teamwork as a domestique and then the leap to leader of Team Sky and a shot at winning the Tour de France. In The Climb, written with the renowned investigative reporter David Walsh, he vividly recounts the struggles, the rivalries, the battles, the comebacks. Finally he traces his path to triumph and his mission to help clean up cycling.
Inspiring and exhilarating, it will leave you ready to face your own challenges in life, whatever they may be.
'Engaging, vividly evoked' Mail on Sunday, Books of the Year
'What Chris has done is phenomenal' Sir Chris Hoy
Nominated for the Nobel Prize in 1969, Es’kia Mphahlele is considered the Dean of African Letters and the father of black South African writing. Down Second Avenue is a landmark book that describes Mphahlele’s experience growing up in segregated South Africa. Vivid, graceful, and unapologetic, it details a daily life of severe poverty and brutal police surveillance under the subjugation of an apartheid regime. Banned in South Africa after its original 1959 publication for its protest against apartheid, Down Second Avenue is a foundational work of literature that continues to inspire activists today.
For more than sixty-five years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,500 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.
History after Apartheid explores the dilemmas posed by a wide range of visual and material culture including key South African heritage sites. How prominent should Nelson Mandela and the African National Congress be in the museum at the infamous political prison on Robben Island? How should the postapartheid government deal with the Voortrekker Monument mythologizing the Boer Trek of 1838? Coombes highlights the contradictory investment in these sites among competing constituencies and the tensions involved in the rush to produce new histories for the “new” South Africa.
She reveals how artists and museum officials struggled to adequately represent painful and difficult histories ignored or disavowed under apartheid, including slavery, homelessness, and the attempted destruction of KhoiSan hunter-gatherers. Describing how contemporary South African artists address historical memory and the ambiguities uncovered by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Coombes illuminates a body of work dedicated to the struggle to simultaneously remember the past and move forward into the future.
As a foreign correspondent based in South Africa, author John Carlin had unique access to Mandela during the post-apartheid years when Mandela faced his most daunting obstacles and achieved his greatest triumphs. Carlin witnessed history as Mandela was released from prison after twenty-seven years and ultimately ascended to the presidency of his strife-torn country.
Drawing on exclusive conversations with Mandela and countless interviews with people who were close to him, Carlin has crafted an account of a man who was neither saint nor superman. Mandela's seismic political victories were won at the cost of much personal unhappiness and disappointment.
Knowing Mandela offers an intimate understanding of one of the most towering and remarkable figures of our age.
Several contributors examine how the experiences of indigenous groups and the imperial past are incorporated into public histories in British Commonwealth nations: in Te Papa, New Zealand’s national museum; in the First Peoples’ Hall at the Canadian Museum of Civilization; and, more broadly, in late-twentieth-century Australian culture. Still others focus on the role of governments in mediating contested racialized histories: for example, the post-apartheid history of South Africa’s Voortrekker Monument, originally designed as a tribute to the Voortrekkers who colonized the country’s interior. Among several essays describing how national narratives have been challenged are pieces on a dispute over how to represent Nepali history and identity, on representations of Afrocuban religions in contemporary Cuba, and on the installation in the French Pantheon in Paris of a plaque honoring Louis Delgrès, a leader of Guadeloupean resistance to French colonialism.
Contributors. Paul Amar, Paul Ashton, O. Hugo Benavides, Laurent Dubois, Richard Flores, Durba Ghosh, Albert Grundlingh, Paula Hamilton, Lisa Maya Knauer, Charlotte Macdonald, Mark Salber Phillips, Ruth B. Phillips, Deborah Poole, Anne M. Rademacher, Daniel J. Walkowitz
Jan Vansina continues a career-long effort to reconstruct the history of African societies before European contact in How Societies Are Born. In this complement to his previous study Paths in the Rainforests, Vansina employs a provocative combination of archaeology and historical linguistics to turn his scholarly focus to governance, studying the creation of relatively large societies extending beyond the foraging groups that characterized west central Africa from the beginning of human habitation to around 500 BCE, and the institutions that bridged their constituent local communities and made large-scale cooperation possible.
The increasing reliance on cereal crops, iron tools, large herds of cattle, and overarching institutions such as corporate matrilineages and dispersed matriclans lead up to the developments treated in the second part of the book. From about 900 BCE until European contact, different societies chose different developmental paths. Interestingly, these proceeded well beyond environmental constraints and were characterized by "major differences in the subjects which enthralled people," whether these were cattle, initiations and social position, or "the splendors of sacralized leaders and the possibilities of participating in them."
On 22nd January 1879 a force of 20,000 Zulus overwhelmed and destroyed the British invading force at Isandlwana, killing and ritually disemboweling over 1200 troops. That afternoon, the same Zulu force turned their attention on a small outpost at Rorke's Drift.
The battle that ensued, one of the British Army's great epics, has since entered into legend. Throughout the night 85 men held off six full-scale Zulu attacks at the cost of only 27 casualties, forcing the Zulu army to withdraw. Eleven Victoria Crosses were awarded for bravery shown on that night, the largest number for any one engagement in history.
But as Adrian Greaves's new research shows there are several things about the myth of Rorke's Drift that don't add up. While it was the scene of undoubted bravery, it was also the scene of some astonishing cases of cowardice, and there is increasing evidence to suggest that the legend of Rorke's Drift was created to divert attention from the appalling British mistakes which caused the earlier defeat at Isandlwana.