It was a remarkably public and poignant moment that concluded with Mandela’s saying, “Ladies and gentlemen – I hope you will appreciate how painful this is to me. And I would appreciate it if we could have no questions,” before walking stiffly out of the room.
The ending of any marriage is difficult enough, but arguably even more so for the intensely private and proud Mandela, who, by all accounts, had loved his wife fiercely and without reservation.
Mandela has guarded his personal privacy throughout his life, which is why his newest book, Conversations with Myself: Nelson Mandela is guaranteed to be a treat for all fans of the anti-apartheid icon as well as social justice-minded folks generally.
Friend and publisher Alden Loury just gave me the book, so I’ve yet to read all of it, but can say with confidence that it will be both entertaining and informative.
Readers get to see some of Mandela’s many letters, to read excerpts from his unpublished autobiography that covers the time after The Long Walk to Freedom ends, to listen to conversations between “Madiba” and former comrades like Ahmed Kathadra, and to absorb lists he wrote to himself.
One of the lists includes a list of things to do. The fourth item reads “Oprah Winfrey,” while the last one says, “Elastic Socks.”
These details lend an intimacy and a humanity to a legendary figure so often characterized by his indomitable strength and unwavering resistance to oppression.
Seeing the fuller man only deepens the appreciation of his sacrifice and accomplishments.
I can’t wait to read the rest of it.