28 June 2011

South Africa: New Madiba Quotes Book Unveiled

Johannesburg — The Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory on Monday unveiled a new book with inspirational quotes by South Africa's former President Nelson Mandela, which gives people hope, makes them smile, and feel proud.

Edited by Sello Hatang and Sam Venter, the new book, 'Nelson Mandela By Himself: The Authorised Quotations Book', has quotes selected from his speeches as far back as 1951, recorded interviews from before he was sent to prison, letters dating back to 1948 and diary extracts.

Venter and Hatang said they were prompted to publish the new book following the constant inquiries from across the globe to authenticate Mandela's quotations.

Speaking to BuaNews after the launch, Mandela's granddaughter Ndileka Mandela said: "A lot of people claim to know granddad as a politician and I am glad that this new book will make them know him as man who has been always ahead of his time.

"Granddad is very difficult to emulate and with this book, young people will get a clear understanding on his ideals for the liberation struggle, love for his family as well as his words of wisdom."

Ndileka said while most African people regard talking about sex with their children as a taboo, Mandela would always cautioned them about the dangers of getting involved in sexual activities.

"I remember when we visited him on Robben Island with my grandmother (Evelyn, Mandela's first wife), he asked me if I had a boyfriend and when last did I go for a pap smear."

After asking those questions, Mandela then said: "Darling, it is not wise to have children when you are still young because they will hold you back."

Rivonia trialist Ahmed Kathrada said: "It is better to buy the book so that you don't misquote Mandela!"

According to Kathrada, Madiba, who turns 93 on July 18, was an inspiration to all political prisoners on Robben Island and was always leading from the front.

After they were convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment, they were flown to Robben Island handcuffed in chains and when they arrived, it was very cold, windy and raining.

Kathrada said African political prisoners were always separated from coloured and Indian prisoners and they were not treated equally.

"When they gave us prison clothes, African political prisoners were given shorts and this was met with resistance by Madiba. He refused to wear shorts and threatened to embark on an indefinite hunger strike. When they gave him long trousers, he then demanded that all African political prisoners should also be given those long trousers, otherwise he will continue with his hunger strike," said Kathrada.

Kathrada was sentenced to life imprisonment with Madiba, Raymond Mhlaba, Andrew Mlangeni, Govan Mbeki and Walter Sisulu, to mention but a few, at the age of 34 and was released when he was 60.

One of Madiba's quotes on the liberation movement reads: "If I had my time over, I would do the same again, so would any man who dares call himself a man."

On challenges, he said: "Difficulties break some men but make others. No axe is sharp enough to cut the soul of a sinner who keeps on trying, one armed with the hope that he will rise even in the end."

His famous quote on equality while in prison reads: "I have never regarded any man as my superior, either in my life outside or inside prison."

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