Published: July 2018
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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