The Prison Letters of Nelson Mandela

by |July 17, 2018

Nelson MandelaThe 18th July 2018 marks the centenary of the birth of Nelson Mandela.

One of the great moral heroes of our times, Mandela was a freedom fighter, philanthropist, anti-apartheid revolutionary, and President of South Africa.

In celebration of his incredible legacy, a new book has been published, collecting 255 of his letters (written over 27 years of incarceration).

The Prison Letters of Nelson Mandela gives new insight into Mandela’s life, which is both heartbreaking and inspirational. This is a valuable and important book on an icon who saw power in words, and was full of resilience, compassion, and courage.

During the years of his imprisonment – 1962 and 1990 – Mandela wrote hundreds of letters to loved ones, to his followers and to government officials. The letters have been held by The Nelson Mandela Foundation and most have never been seen by the public before. This is the first and only authorized collection of correspondence spanning the years that Mandela was held prisoner.

Through these letters, readers are offered deeply personal glimpse into the mind and heart of this great man. It’s also a truly gorgeous book, featuring colour facsimiles of some of the actual letters – complete with annotations (you can see a sneak peak below).

Melbourne Museum will be holding an exhibition about Mandela in September. Nelson Mandela, My Life: The Exhibition will open on September 22 2018. After the Melbourne opening, the exhibition will visit up to twenty international cities and will be viewed by an estimated 2.7 million visitors over the next five years.

Meanwhile, Mandela’s grandson, Ndaba Mandela, has also released a memoir. Going to the Mountain, tells the story of his coming-of-age in the presence of his grandfather as their country is forever changed.

Both books offer a timely chance to reflect on the life and thoughts of the man who came to be known as Madiba.

The Prison Letters of Nelson Mandelaby Nelson Mandela

The Prison Letters of Nelson Mandela

by Nelson Mandela

The first, and only, authorized and authenticated collection of correspondence spanning the 27 years Nelson Mandela was held as a political prisoner.

While incarcerated in South Africa in four prisons as a sentenced prisoner between 1962 and 1990, Mandela wrote hundreds of letters to loved ones, followers, prison authorities, and government officials documenting his plight as the most prominent political prisoner of the twentieth century.

Here, the letters-many of them never before seen by the public-have been assembled from the collections held by the Nelson Mandela Foundation, the South African National Archives, and the Mandela family, amongst others, together with a foreword by Zamaswazi Dlamini-Mandela, granddaughter of Nelson Mandela.

With accompanying facsimiles of some of the actual letters with generous annotations, the book provides a personal and intimate portrait of the lawyer and political activist as husband, parent, friend, and political prisoner, reflecting on everything from the trajectory of the anti-apartheid movement to the death of his beloved son, Thembi, in Cape Town in 1969. Quietly impassioned and (despite occasional heavy censorship) eloquent, they reveal both the extraordinary compassion of a father and the unbending will of a man who refused to compromise his ethical values in the face of the most extraordinary human punishment and psychological abuse.

The volume covers every aspect of life behind bars for the future South African leader, whose voice the apartheid government attempted to stifle at every possible opportunity. The Prison Letters of Nelson Mandela form a new autobiographical vision.

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About the Contributor

Sarah is the Editor of The Booktopian Blog and Senior Content Producer at Booktopia, where she enjoys unleashing the full capacity of her bookish obsession. She enjoys sword-fighting, time-travel, rare jewel collecting and competitive yodeling. She also leads a very rich fantasy life. An avid reader and book reviewer, Sarah is filled with boundless enthusiasm for the written word! She also has a slight tendency to overuse exclamation points!!!!!

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