Nelson Mandela - A Man First
Nelson Mandela, the most famous prisoner of the 20th century, was a tribal prince, the leader of the African National Congress, the commander-in-chief of a rebel army, and a head of state. But he was, first and foremost, a man. This intimate, in-depth biography traces his life from the rural Transkei to the capitals of the world, revealing the heart-stopping danger of his life as the famous ‘Blac More
Before he was an icon, international statesman, South Africa’s first black president and leader of the African National Congress, Nelson Mandela was a man.
Long before becoming the most famous prisoner of the 20th century, he was a barefoot boy, a tribal prince, a son, a brother, a husband and a father.
From an early age, the rich history and traditions of the Xhosa and Thembu people shaped the future of a man who would become as comfortable in the company of kings and world leaders as with peasants and children.
Destined from birth to serve his people, a chain of ordinary events formed the building blocks that would catapult the young Thembu prince from a life of privilege to the hazardous life of an underground freedom fighter, and the first commander-in-chief of a rebel army – and finally to head of state.
Throughout his childhood and youth he was immersed in accounts and legends of his people’s illustrious history and ancestors. He was exposed to long, slow hours spent in deliberation about matters of law and strategy that shaped communities and nations. It was an environment that was bound to produce a man infused with a sense of purpose and a very definite place in the future of his country.
His determination to lead a meaningful life and to make a contribution to his people’s quest for freedom, led him to leave behind a life of luxury and advantage to struggle, penniless and unemployed, fighting for survival against the hardship of racial discrimination, to acquire an education and, ultimately, the freedom of his people.
Since his release from prison in February 1990, Nelson Mandela has been the subject of countless biographies, but few have reached beyond exploring Mandela the consummate politician. This intimate in-depth look at Mandela the man rather than the politician traces his journey from the rolling Transkei hills to the capitals of the world, focusing on facets of his life that have previously served as little more than a backdrop to his remarkable and relentless quest for the liberation of South Africa’s black majority.
It is little known that, during 27 years in prison, Mandela often plotted his escape. But one attempt after another failed for, even with keys, the difficulty in getting off Robben Island was crossing the icy Atlantic Ocean. In three centuries of use as a penal colony only one man had successfully escaped from the island but he had a boat, and that was in the 1600s. For Mandela and his comrades, the journey to the mainland, and freedom, remained the insurmountable hurdle in any plan they devised.
Almost three decades in prison did not make him embittered or vengeful, but convinced him that the wrongs of South Africa’s history could only be remedied by starting on a clean slate. That meant forgiving, if not forgetting, the bitter legacy of apartheid, and incorporating the perpetrators of decades of pain and suffering into a new society.
Through perseverance and the unshakeable belief in the validity of his cause and the good in others, Nelson Mandela changed the course of history.
Nelson Mandela – A Man First provides rare insight into incidents during Mandela’s youth as an aristocrat and student, the women who influenced him from an early age and the ambition, courage and perseverance that shaped a truly remarkable life. It brings together the wealth of experiences and event s that merged to produce the man who captured the imagination of the world as an underground freedom fighter, the imprisoned champion of the struggle against apartheid injustice and the statesman whose leadership brought about the miracle of a democratic South Africa.
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