in jail

Nelson Mandela’s Letters from Prison to be Published


His 26-year imprisonment at the hands of the brutal apartheid government and his lifelong struggle for equality inspired the world. Thanks to Liveright Publishing, we’ll get to read about Nelson Mandela’s ordeal in his own words.



Image courtesy of History Channel 


Mandela, who became South Africa’s first democratically elected leader in 1994, was sent to the notorious Robben Island Prison in 1964 for anti-government militancy and remained there until his release in 1990. During that time, Mandela wrote hundreds of letters to family, friends, and government officials. Never before seen, the letters give an intimate view of a life under the yoke of an oppressive regime.  


The subject matter ranges from the wrenching to the routine; in a letter to his wife Winnie, Mandela implores her to “Remember that hope is a powerful weapon even when all else is lost” after a list of acquaintances and recommended books. Forbidden from seeing his loved ones for months and sometimes years at a time, Mandela was only able to seek comfort through words. Letters written after the deaths of his mother and eldest son—whose funerals he was barred from attending—attest to his remarkable resilience.


“His way of dealing with this, and of trying to give solace to the family while not being able to go to the funeral, is extraordinary,” publisher Robert Weil said.



Image courtesy of Daily Mail


A larger volumes of letters intended for scholars will be released in 2019.


Featured image courtesy of Los Angeles Times