8 brilliant books to commemorate Nelson Mandela's centenary
From a collection of Madiba's prison letters to a compilation of charming annecdotes from his former colleagues, these books provide fresh insight into the life of SA's former president
1. I REMEMBER NELSON MANDELA
Edited by Vimla Naidoo and Sahm Venter, Jacana
This is a smart little hardback with beautiful endpapers copied from the fabric design of one of Madiba’s shirts, and has a foreword by Graça Machel, whose idea the book was. It gathers together anecdotes and remembrances from people who worked with, for and beside Mandela, from household staff and bodyguards to advisors and secretaries.
It’s a rich seam of small and telling stories, many of them unheard before. For instance, Shiraz Moosa was a bodyguard for Mandela after his release from prison. “Whenever we took him into a crowd we always had to be on the look-out for children and babies,” he said. “Because the minute he saw a child or a baby, all protocol was out of the window … we had to protect him from the love of the people, not from people wanting to hurt him.”
2. THE PRISON LETTERS OF NELSON MANDELA
Edited by Sahm Venter, Penguin Random House
This is the first and only authorised and authenticated collection of correspondence spanning the 27 years of Mandela's incarceration.
Illustrated with facsimiles and generously annotated, the letters provide new insight into his life behind bars and how he kept up his spirits during those long and lonely years.
3. 100 MANDELA MOMENTS
By Kate Sidley, Jonathan Ball Publishers
Kate Sidley read every book she could find about Mandela before composing her book 100 Mandela Moments.
Sidley has an eye for the warmest and most humorous moments, as well as the momentous. Here he is eating melktert with Betsie Verwoerd in Orania, on his feet dancing to Ladysmith Black Mambazo in the Royal Box with the Queen of England, and donning an “HIV POSITIVE” T-shirt in support of TAC activists campaigning for the rollout of antiretrovirals.
4. MANDELA: HIS ESSENTIAL LIFE
By Lord Peter Hain, Jonathan Ball Publishers
Veteran anti-apartheid campaigner Peter Hain takes a close look at the life and legacy of Mandela, and analyses the state of the ANC then and now, in his book Mandela: His Essential Life.
5. THE MADIBA APPRECIATION CLUB: A CHEF’S STORY
By Brett Ladds, Jonathan Ball Publishers
Brett Ladds, former executive chef and manager of the Presidential Guesthouse in Pretoria, recounts tales of Madiba’s favourite champagne (Pêche Royale) and endless cups of rooibos tea.
He also tells entertaining stories of kings, queens and rock stars and the Saudi-Arabian sheik who had eight television sets installed in his room and bought 20 blankets at R5,000 each for his stay.
6. GOING TO THE MOUNTAIN: LIFE LESSONS FROM MY GRANDFATHER
By Ndaba Mandela, Penguin Books
Ndaba Mandela provides an intimate family point of view in this book. The young Mandela was 11 when he was invited to live with his grandfather. Slowly they built a relationship that would affect both of them profoundly.
7. GRANDAD MANDELA
By Zindzi, Zazi and Ziwelene Mandela, Lincoln Children’s Books
Mandela’s daughter Zindzi sits down with her grandchildren Zazi and Ziwelene to answer their questions about her father. Illustrated by Sean Qualls, Grandad Mandela is a delightful and inspiring.
8. MADIBA MAGIC: NELSON MANDELA'S FAVOURITE STORIES FOR CHILDREN
Tafelberg has compiled Mandela’s favourite children’s stories in Madiba Magic, an enchanting kaleidoscope of tales told around the fires, tales of the San and Khoi people, of animals and mystical trees and Cloud Princesses. Charming.
• This article was originally published on Wanted Online, the digital home of Business Day’s luxury lifestyle magazine Wanted.