Tag: nelson mandela

Honor Black History Month with These 5 Books From Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela is best known for his presidency in South Africa and the dismantling of apartheid, a system of institutionalized racial segregation.  To honor Black History Month, here are five books written by Nelson Mandela that you should read!



image via amazon


1. long walk to freedom

This book is the most accessible book on Mandela’s life.  It was first published in 1994 by the American publisher Little, Brown and Company and is split into two sections.  The first section of the book describes his upbringing, from childhood to adolescence in South Africa.  He also talks about his experiences in education before he moves onto the second section, where he describes the political and social aspects of apartheid.  He then moves onto his arrest and 27-year prison term in Pollsmoor Prison, where he mentions cruel punishment and backbreaking labor.  Most of this autobiography was written in secrecy while Mandela was in prison.



image via amazon


2. conversations with myself

This book is made up of Mandela’s letters, notebooks, taped conversations, prison diaries, calendars, and an unfinished autobiography.  First published in 2010 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux, the book covers leftovers of apartheid, reminisces of prison, protests to authorities, letters to loved ones, political strategizing and philosophical statements.  A lot of the book is about inward reflection.  Mandela also expresses his anger and humiliation at the hardships apartheid has caused him, but what comes through in this book is his resolve.




image via amazon


3. no easy walk to freedom

This book is a collection of Mandela’s speeches, letters, and writing that vividly illustrates the attraction surrounding his campaigning for freedom.  First published in 1965, this edition is updated with revised notes and an introduction, and is regarded as an important document that looks into the life of a man who is known for his self-determination and fight for human rights.



image via amazon


4. the struggle is my life

This book, first published at the end of 1990, includes Mandela’s speeches and political writings from his days as a leader of the African National Congress Youth League in 1944 until his release from prison in 1990.  If you’re interested in reading about his speeches from this time, this book will be for you.




image via amazon


5. the prison letters of nelson mandela

This book, published by Liveright in 2018, is organized chronologically and divided by the four venues in which Mandela was a sentenced prisoner.  The collection of prison letters specifically talks about his relationships, his political training and how it influenced his support for prisoners’ rights.  They are hard to read, as they show his separation from those closest to him and how it affected him.


featured image via abc news


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30 Quotes to Honor Nelson Mandela Day

It’s Nelson Mandela’s birthday, which is celebrated internationally as Nelson Mandela Day. Were he still alive, he would turn 100 today. Mandela is known as the leader of the movement that overthrew apartheid in South Africa, and served as its president from 1994 to 1999. His autobiography Long Walk to Freedom (1994) was adapted into a film in 2013. It came out only a few months before he died.


Here are some quotes to remember his impact and legacy.




“When a man is denied the right to live the life he believes in, he has no choice but to become an outlaw.”



“A good head and good heart are always a formidable combination. But when you add to that a literate tongue or pen, then you have something very special.” 



“No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.” 



“For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.” 



“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” 



“It always seems impossible until it’s done.” 



“Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies.”



“There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered.” 



“I am not a saint, unless you think of a saint as a sinner who keeps on trying.” 



“There is no passion to be found playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.” 



“Overcoming poverty is not a task of charity, it is an act of justice. Like Slavery and Apartheid, poverty is not natural. It is man-made and it can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings. Sometimes it falls on a generation to be great. YOU can be that great generation. Let your greatness blossom.” 



“It is said that no one truly knows a nation until one has been inside its jails. A nation should not be judged by how it treats its highest citizens, but its lowest ones.” 



“Where you stand depends on where you sit.” 



“During my lifetime I have dedicated myself to this struggle of the African people. I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.” 



Image Via Biography.com

 Image Via Biography.com


“One cannot be prepared for something while secretly believing it will not happen.” 



“I had no epiphany, no singular revelation, no moment of truth, but a steady accumulation of a thousand slights, a thousand indignities and a thousand unremembered moments produced in me an anger, a rebelliousness, a desire to fight the system that imprisoned my people. There was no particular day on which I said, Henceforth I will devote myself to the liberation of my people; instead, I simply found myself doing so, and could not do otherwise.” 



“Freedom is indivisible; the chains on any one of my people were the chains on all of them, the chains on all of my people were the chains on me.”



“It is what we make out of what we have, not what we are given, that separates one person from another.” 



“Without language, one cannot talk to people and understand them; one cannot share their hopes and aspirations, grasp their history, appreciate their poetry, or savor their songs.” 



“We must use time creatively, and forever realize that the time is always ripe to do right.”



“We owe our children – the most vulnerable citizens in any society – a life free from violence and fear.” 



“A freedom fighter learns the hard way that it is the oppressor who defines the nature of the struggle,and the oppressed is often left no recourse but to use methods that mirror those of the oppressor. At a point, one can only fight fire with fire.”



“Courageous people do not fear forgiving, for the sake of peace.”



“I shall stick to our vow: never, never under any circumstances, to say anything unbecoming of the other…The trouble, of course, is that most successful men are prone to some form of vanity. There comes a stage in their lives when they consider it permissible to be egotistic and to brag to the public at large about their unique achievements.”



“Your victory has demonstrated that no person anywhere in the world should not dare to dream of wanting to change the world for a better place.” 



“I knew as well as I knew anything that the oppressor must be liberated just as surely as the oppressed. A man who takes away another man’s freedom is a prisoner of hatred, he is locked behind the bars of prejudice and narrow-mindedness. I am not truly free if I am taking away someone else’s freedom, just as surely as I am not free when my freedom is taken from me. The oppressed and the oppressor alike are robbed of their humanity.”



“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.” 



“It will forever remain an accusation and a challenge to all men and women of conscience that it took as long as it has, before all of us stood up to say enough is enough.” 



“A blind pursuit of cheap popularity has nothing to do with revolution.”



“It reaffirmed my long-held belief that education was the enemy of prejudice. These were men and women of science, and science had no room for racism.” 



Feature Image Via Biography.com

Nelson Mandela and Barack Obama

Obama’s Charlottesville Response Most Popular Tweet in History

Former President Barack Obama’s Twitter response to recent white supremacist violence in Charlottesville was the most popular tweet in the website’s history. 




The quote, which was split into two tweets, has so far earned a total of 2.4 million likes  and upwards of 798,000 retweets. 



Barack Obama

Image Courtesy of The Nation


It is encouraging to see such support for a message of peace, after the current president failed for several days to condemn the racist right-wing violence which resulted in the death of Heather Heyer and the injury of nineteen other anti-racism protesters. 


In a statement Saturday, President Trump spoke of hatred and bigotry from “many sides,” a comment for which many have taken him to task. 


After two days of intense criticism in the media and from members of his own party, Trump finally condemned racist hate organizations “including the KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists.”



Featured Image Courtesy of The Post News Online

Black and white image of Mandela

Mandela’s New Memoir Has Been Axed

Penguin Random House has withdrawn a memoir about Nelson Mandela’s final days from publishing according to reports from the Guardian. The book was heavily critiqued by family members of the former president of South Africa.


His widow, Graça Machel threatened legal action before the book was pulled. The publisher pulled the book out of respect for the family, as it had very personal details that involved some of Mandela’s relatives.


The book was originally released on July 18th, Mandela’s birthday, dubbed “Mandela Day.” The book was called “Mandela’s Last Years” and had details of events relating to his death, including information about a spy cam that was placed in the morgue where Mandela’s body was kept, and more information about an ambulance that caught fire while transporting him.


Black and white photo of Mandela

Header image courtesy of The Ambassadors Magazine


“We received permission from the family. All parties who needed to be consulted were consulted,” says the author and physician, Vejay Ramlakan, in an interview with eNCA before the book was withdrawn.


Those in charge of Mandela’s estate have called the information in the book “deeply regrettable and unfortunate and constitute unlawful disclosures” in a statement.


Mandela with his Nobel Peace Prize

via Nelson Mandela Memorial Garden


It’s unfortunate the story is no longer available, as it sounds incredibly interesting. An ambulance fire sounds like something out of fiction, not a memoir.


Mandela is famous for his humanitarian work and work in government. He received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993, 20 years before his death in 2013 due to an infection in his respiratory system.


Header image courtesy of The Ambassadors Magazine