Tomorrow sees the worldwide publication of a new book from Nelson Mandela. This time it is a selection from his private papers and letters and, as the title “Conversations with myself” indicates, it is a far more personal work than his 1995 autobiography, “Long Walk To Freedom”.
It includes his reluctance of being seen as a saint, which he says he never was, and heartache at being separated from his family during his years in prison. The book has been welcomed by his family.
“I just think it’s a very beautiful gift to me right now and to anybody else who reads the book. I came across a letter that he wrote to me that I obviously didn’t get where he was analysing my poetry and so on. It was very touching and made me quite emotional,” says daughter Zindzi.
Mandela’s long prison sentence began in 1964, during which he occasionally had stormy exchanges with his then-wife Winnie, detailed in the book. He was released in 1990, won the Nobel Peace prize in 1993, and became South Africa’s first non-white president in 1994.
Mandela also has plenty to say about power, and how it corrupts, lamenting how “erstwhile revolutionaries have easily succumbed to greed…virtually deserting the masses.”