Book brings Mandela’s quotes to life

12 October 2010

Nelson Mandela’s new book, Conversations with Myself, draws from the great man’s vast personal archive to offer an unprecedented insight into his remarkable life, giving readers access to the private man behind the public figure.

“Nelson Mandela is one of the most inspiring and iconic figures of our age,” the Nelson Mandela Foundation said in a statement ahead of Tuesday’s worldwide release of the book.

“Now, after a lifetime of taking pen to paper to record thoughts and events, hardships and victories, he has opened his personal archive … from letters written in the darkest hours of Mandela’s 27 years of imprisonment to the draft of an unfinished sequel to Long Walk to Freedom.”

Mandela’s personal archive spans 80 years, comprises many thousands of pages and includes diaries, letters, personal notes and audio recordings.

“Here he is making notes and even doodling during meetings, or recording troubled dreams on the desk calendar of his cell on Robben Island; writing journals while on the run during the anti-apartheid struggles in the early 1960s, or conversing with friends in almost 70 hours of recorded conversations,” the foundation says.

“An intimate journey from the first stirrings of his political conscience to his galvanizing role on the world stage, Conversations With Myself is a rare chance to spend time with Nelson Mandela the man, in his own voice: direct, clear, private.”

Introduced with a foreword by US President Barack Obama, Conversations with Myself was published worldwide in 22 editions and 20 languages on 12 October 2010.

Compiled by the Mandela Foundation’s Centre of Memory and Dialogue, the book allows for the first time unhindered insight into the human side of the icon.

“In these pages he is neither an icon nor a saint,” the foundation says. “Here he is like you and me.”

SAinfo reporter

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