On December 5, like everyone else, we at Africa Book Club learned with deep sadness that Nelson Mandela had passed on. His immense accomplishments will remain with us forever. A great man, he wore his fame and his stature with humility. Through example, he inspired millions. He was so many things to the world – an icon, freedom fighter, peacemaker, father, and philanthropist. Over his life, Mandela received more than 250 honours, including the 1993 Nobel Peace Prize, the US Presidential Medal of Freedom, and the Soviet Order of Lenin.
Here at Africa Book Club, we join the rest of the world in mourning Nelson Mandela. We remember Mandela for his great accomplishments, and not least, his immense contribution to African literature. Mandela loved books and he wrote about looking forward to reading African literature when he retired. In Nelson Mandela: Conversations with Myself, he wrote, “… a good pen can also remind us of the happiest moments in our lives, bring noble ideas into our dens, our blood and souls. It can turn tragedy into hope and victory.” And he famously referred to the late Chinua Achebe as a writer ‘in whose company the prison walls fell down”. Besides inspiring many books and movies, Mandela was an author in his own right. His memoir, Long Walk to Freedom, was an international bestseller.
We take a look at some of the most famous books on Mandela.
Share your thoughts and stories on how Nelson Mandela inspired you.
Nelson Mandela: Conversations with Myself
Nelson Mandela: Conversations with Myself is the definitive book of quotations from one of the great leaders of our time. This collection – gathered from privileged authorised access to Mandela’s vast personal archive of private papers, speeches, correspondence and audio recordings – features nearly 2,000 quotations spanning over 60 years, many previously unpublished. Mandela’s inspirational quotations are organised into over 300 categories for easy reference, including such aspects as what defines greatness in ‘Character’, ‘Courage’ and ‘Optimism’, while we learn from the great man the essence of democracy, freedom and struggle in the categories ‘Democracy’, ‘History’, ‘Racism’, ‘Reconciliation’ and ‘Unity’.
Long Walk to Freedom (by Nelson Mandela)
Nelson Mandela: A Biography (by Peter Limb)
The book, one of many on Nelson Mandela, distinguishes itself by providing a comprehensive, albeit concise look at Mandela’s personal and political life. At 136 pages, Limb’s Nelson Mandela is very readable, and a recommended introduction to readers wanting to learn about Mandela and his struggle to free his country and people from the Apartheid regime.
100 Years of Struggle: Mandela’s ANC (by Heidi Holland)
Like a seamstress, Heidi Holland knits together the 100 years of South Africa’s African National Congress, using Mandela as a thread linking all the patches. In this book, Holland ponders the question whether or not the ANC, built through so many years of hard struggle, is able to provide its own raison d’etre – a better life for all.
Nelson Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom (by Chris Van Wyk)
In this children’s version of Mandela’s bestselling autobiography, South African writer, Chris Van Wyk offers a glimpse into the mind of a great leader, admired across the globe for his dedication to the struggles against apartheid in South Africa. Young readers can discover the remarkable story of Mandela’s long walk from ordinary village boy, to his dynamic leadership of the African National Congress, to his many long years in prison-and, at last, his freedom and astonishing rise to become the leader of his country.
Nelson Mandela’s Favorite African Folktales (by Nelson Mandela)
This collection includes some of Africa’s most cherished folktales selected by Nelson Mandela. The thirty-two stories evoke the specific hope that Africa’s oldest stories, as well as a few new ones, be perpetuated by future generations and be appreciated by children throughout the world. In these “beloved stories, morsels rich with the gritty essence of Africa,” we meet, among many others, a Kenyan lion named Simba, a snake with seven heads and a trickster from Zulu folklore; we hear the voices of the scheming hyena and learn from a Khoi fable how animals acquired their tails and horns.
The Children’s Mandela (by Tyne Doyle)
Children hold a special place in Mandela’s heart. The Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund stands as testimony to how Madiba thinks children should be treated – with respect. As if to return the favour, these special people have collated their thoughts about the former President into a book – The Children’s Mandela, which is a compilation of 40 thousand answers to 25 questions posed to South African children about Madiba.