Here are three books that explore Nelson Mandela’s life and legacy in great detail.
My first image of Nelson Mandela took the shape of an illegal portrait, spray-painted on a concrete wall surrounding a rugby field in George, South Africa.
The year was 1984, I was eight years old and South Africa was the pariah of the world. State President PW Botha was a year away from delivering the infamous “Rubicon” address, and Nelson Mandela faced another six years as prisoner of the South African government.
“Free Mandela” was scribbled beneath the stenciled portrait. The image had been surreptitiously painted overnight and my brother and I noticed it on the way to our whites-only government primary school. By the time we returned in the afternoon, it was gone. Hastily painted over—but neither the image nor the message ever left us.
It’s quite extraordinary to reflect on that moment now, as the South Africa that I was born in has changed beyond recognition…
"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."
- Nelson Mandela
We’re sad to hear of Nelson Mandela’s passing. To honor his legacy, we’ve gathered a few talks inspired by his extraordinary approach to peace amid the violent South African apartheid:
Fighting with non-violence, on the philosophies that power peaceful protests.
In defense of dialogue, on how honest conversations can solve global problems.
Thula Mama, a soulful song by a crucial artistic voice in the fight against apartheid.
May he be remembered for many years to come.
If at any point over the coming days, weeks, and months to come, you find yourself confused as to how to navigate the thicket of pictures of Nelson Mandela coming at you in every country in the world, bear in mind this salient fact of history: it was once illegal in South Africa to have a picture of Nelson Mandela in your home.
Nelson Mandela and Princess Diana, Cape Town, 1997