A singular international publishing event, Conversations with Myself draws on Mandela's personal archive of never-before-seen materials to offer unique access to the private world of an incomparable world leader. Journals kept on the run during the anti-apartheid struggle of the early 1960s; diaries and draft letters written in Robben Island and other South African prisons during his twenty-seven years of incarceration; notebooks from the postapartheid transition; private recorded conversations; speeches and correspondence written during his presidency—a historic collection of documents archived at the Nelson Mandela Foundation is brought together into a sweeping narrative of great immediacy and stunning power. An intimate journey from Mandela's first stirrings of political consciousness to his galvanizing role on the world stage, Conversations with Myself illuminates a heroic life forged on the front lines of the struggle for freedom and justice.
While other books have recounted Mandela's life from the vantage of the present, Conversations with Myself allows, for the first time, unhindered insight into the human side of the icon.
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.”
“I have discovered the secret that after climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb. I have taken a moment here to rest, to steal a view of the glorious vista that surrounds me, to look back on the distance I have come. But I can rest only for a moment, for with freedom comes responsibilities, and I dare not linger, for my long walk is not ended.”
In 1994, Nelson Mandela became the first president of a democratic South Africa. From the outset, he was committed to serving only a single five-year term. During his presidency, he and his government ensured that all of South Africa’s citizens became equal before the law, and he laid the foundation for turning a country riven by centuries of colonialism and apartheid into a fully functioning democracy.
Dare Not Linger is the story of Mandela’s presidential years, drawing heavily on the memoir he began to write as he prepared to leave office, but was unable to finish. Now the acclaimed South African writer Mandla Langa has completed the task, using Mandela’s unfinished draft, detailed notes that Mandela made as events were unfolding, and a wealth of unseen archival material. With a prologue by Mandela’s widow, Graça Machel, the result is a vivid and often inspirational account of Mandela’s presidency and the creation of a new democracy. It tells the story of a country in transition and the challenges Mandela faced as he strove to make his vision for a liberated South Africa a reality.
La vida un hombre extraordinario, un héroe internacional, uno de los grandes líderes morales y políticos de nuestro tiempo.
El largo camino hacia la libertad es la estimulante historia de la vida épica de Nelson Mandela, una historia de adversidades, resistencia y triunfo final narrada con la claridad y elocuencia de un líder nato.
Nelson Mandela representa para millones de personas el triunfo de la dignidad y de la esperanza sobre la desesperación y el odio, de la autodisciplina y el amor sobre la persecución y la ignominia. Su extraordinaria vida consagrada a la lucha contra la opresión racial lo hizo merecedor del Premio Nobel de la Paz y lo alzó a la presidencia de su país.
Desde su triunfal puesta en libertad en 1990 se convirtió en el centro del acontecimiento político más complejo y alentador de los últimos tiempos.
En El largo camino hacia la libertad Nelson Mandela recorre el sendero de su extraordinaria vida. Descubriremos sus primeros pasos como estudiante y pasante en Johannesburgo, el lento despertar de su conciencia política, la ruptura de su primer matrimonio, la dolorosa separación de sus hijos, los veintisiete años que estuvo en prisión -repletos de acontecimientos-, su libertad y la instauración definitiva en Sudáfrica de una democracia multirracial.
Una obra magistral destinada a ocupar un lugar de honor entre las memorias de las figuras más importantes de la historia.
Las palabras de Mandela:
«No nací con hambre de libertad, nací libre en todos los aspectos que me era dado conocer. [...] Solo cuando empecé a comprender que mi libertad infantil era una ilusión, cuando descubrí, siendo joven, que mi libertad ya me había sido arrebatada, fue cuando empecé a añorarla.»
«Me gustan los amigos que tienen pensamientos independientes, porque suelen hacerte ver los problemas desde todos los ángulos».
«Debemos usar el tiempo sabiamente y darnos cuenta de que siempre es el momento oportuno para hacer las cosas bien».
La crítica ha dicho:
«Uno de los libros más positivos que leerás.»
«Indispensable... La historia de un vida única.»
«Brilla con la luminosidad de la fe en la invencible naturaleza de la esperanza y la dignidad humanas. Inolvidable...»
«Una historia épica de lucha y aprendizaje y crecimiento. Narra la vida de un hombre cuyo idealismo y esperanza inspiraron a un mundo propenso al cinismo. Debería ser una lectura obligada.»
Mary Benson, Daily Telegraph
«Un trozo de historia reciente y un ejemplo para quienes se ahogan en las pequeñas miserias diarias.»