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Madiba a to Z

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Madiba a to Z

The Many Faces of Nelson Mandela
From the makers of the major motion picture Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, a completely unique biography and thematic telling of the story of Nelson Mandela. This book, which provided key source...
From the makers of the major motion picture Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, a completely unique biography and thematic telling of the story of Nelson Mandela. This book, which provided key source...
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  • From the makers of the major motion picture Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, a completely unique biography and thematic telling of the story of Nelson Mandela. This book, which provided key source material for the film, is an unexpurgated collection of the views and opinions of South Africa's first Black president, and it draws on Danny Schechter's forty-year relationship with "Madiba," as Nelson Mandela is known in his native South Africa.

    Each chapter of this unique portrait corresponds to a letter of the alphabet, and the letters cover major and minor, unexpected and fascinating themes in Mandela's life and his impact on others: Athlete, Bully, Comrade, Forgiveness, Indigenous, Jailed, Militant, and President, to name a few. The book quotes liberally from Mandela himself, his ex-wives and other family members, global leaders, Mandela's cellmates and guards on Robben Island, the team behind Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, former president F. W. de Klerk, members of the South African Police, and his comrades including his successor Thabo Mbeki.

    Madiba A to Z reveals sides of Nelson Mandela that are not often discussed and angles of the anti-apartheid movement that most choose to brush under the table in order to focus on the happy-ending version of the story. As Schechter reports in the book, according to Mandela's successor as president of South Africa, Thabo Mbeki, "the fundamental problems of South Africa, poverty, inequality, have remained unchanged since 1994." This is partly because, as Schechter writes, "six months before the 1994 elections, when South Africa was being governed jointly by the ANC and the National Party under a Transitional Executive Council (TEC), there were secret negotiations about the economic future."

    There are many rarely spoken of revelations in Madiba A to Z, a book about Mandela's brilliance, his courage, his tremendous impact in saving his country and its people of all races, but one that also shows how far South Africa still has to go.

    From the Trade Paperback edition.
  • From the book

    Terrorist Nelson Mandela was not always loved; for years, many right-wingers and defenders of apartheid defamed and detested him as a terrorist, and several politicians went on record expressing
    such views:

    "This hero worship is very much misplaced."--British Member of Parliament (MP) John Carlisle, on the BBC screening of the Free Nelson Mandela concert in 1990.

    "The ANC is a typical terrorist organization. . . . Anyone who thinks it is going to run the government in South Africa is living in cloud-cuckoo land."--Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, 1987

    "How much longer will the Prime Minister allow herself to be kicked in the face by this black terrorist?"--British MP Terry Dicks, mid-1980s

    "Nelson Mandela should be shot."--British MP Teddy Taylor, mid-1980s

    Under the terms of South Africa's Suppression of Communism Act, and as a result of the conviction at the Rivonia Trial, Mandela was found guilty of sabotage, and the ANC was branded a terrorist organization. Here are the charges Mandela faced:

    • One count under the South African Suppression of Communism Act No. 44 (1950), charging that the accused committed acts calculated to further the achievement of the objective of Communism;

  • One count of contravening the South African Criminal Law Act (1953), which prohibits any person from soliciting or receiving any money or articles for the purpose of achieving organized defiance of laws and country; and
  • Two counts of sabotage, committing or aiding or procuring the commission of the following acts:
    1. The further recruitment of persons for instruction and training, both within and outside the Republic of South Africa, in:
    a) the preparation, manufacture and use of explosives--for the purpose of committing acts of violence and destruction in the aforesaid Republic, (the preparation and manufacture of explosives, according to evidence submitted, included 210,000 hand grenades,
    terrorist 48,000 anti-personnel mines, 1,500 time devices, 144 tons of ammonium nitrate, 21.6 tons of aluminum powder and a ton of black powder);
    b) the art of warfare, including guerrilla warfare, and military training generally for the purpose in the aforesaid Republic;
    2. Further acts of violence and destruction (these include 193 counts of terrorism committed between 1961 and 1963);
    3. Acts of guerrilla warfare in the aforesaid Republic;
    4. Acts of assistance to military units of foreign countries when involving the aforesaid Republic;
    5. Acts of participation in a violent revolution in the aforesaid Republic, whereby the accused, injured, damaged, destroyed, rendered useless or unserviceable, put out of action, obstructed with or endangered:
    a) the health or safety of the public;
    b) the maintenance of law and order;
    c) the supply and distribution of light, power or fuel;
    d) postal, telephone or telegraph installations;
    e) the free movement of traffic on land; and
    f) the property, movable or immovable, of other persons or of the state.*

    Significantly, the people who worked with him then didn't see themselves as terrorists, but as part of a liberation struggle.

    Once the ANC was banned, there were internal struggles as the activists reimagined themselves as an underground organization. Nelson Mandela called for a new underground structure in what was known as the "M Plan." In a 1986 book called Apartheid's Rebels, Stephen M. Davis, who had been with the US State Department explained: "The M Plan's intention was to wean the ANC away from dependence on characteristics of organization most vulnerable to governmental pressure. Mandela envisioned the...
About the Author-
  • DANNY SCHECHTER is an American journalist and a documentary filmmaker who made six non-fiction films with Mandela and who was asked personally by the filmmakers of LONG WALK TO FREEDOM to make a five-hour television documentary about the making of the forthcoming film. Schechter has worked in South Africa since the 1960s, which has given him unprecedented access to insiders. Schechter wrote about the liberation struggle and produced a TV news magazine for three years in its most crucial years l988-91. Having worked both in public television and for CNN and ABC News, Schechter has been part of the anti-apartheid movement globally, earning him the confidence of many activists and leaders. He continues to work around the world and lives in New York City.

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    Seven Stories Press
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