A constitutional law expert said the world, including South Africans, eagerly awaits the publication Tuesday of a book comprising personal notes and hours of recordings of former President Nelson Mandela.
Professor Shadrack Gutto, Director at the Centre for African Renaissance Studies at the University of South Africa (UNISA), predicted the much-anticipated book, titled “Conversations with Myself” will be sought after by thousands of people around the world.
“This is the first time that a book which promises to actually go to the details of his own diaries, letters…these are things which are also rather both public and private in many ways, and he has approved that this be made available to give us the full understanding of the person. So, we are waiting very eagerly. And, I’m waiting personally to read it and try to understand better of this icon that we have as a leader.”
Compiled by the Nelson Mandela Foundation, including a foreword by U.S. President Barack Obama, Mr. Mandela’s book is scheduled to be published in 22 countries and in 20 languages.
Excerpts of the book released quote Mr. Mandela as saying, “I have often wondered whether a person is justified in neglecting his own family to fight for opportunities for others.”
The book reportedly focuses on his life in prison and some of the struggles that he went through during the apartheid rule in South Africa.
Mr. Mandela, who served as South Africa’s president from 1994 to 1999, was believed to have influenced the African National Congress Party (ANC) to form a military branch to challenge the apartheid regime.
“The actual situation on the ground may justify the use of violence which even good men and women may find it difficult to avoid.”
Gutto said the book will show Mr. Mandela in a “three dimensional” way never seen or read before.
“He never claimed to be a saint. In many respects, I think people who write about (Mr.) Mandela, and even his leadership, really have not been critical enough in my view, particularly when he was president. I believe that there were things done and his leadership…where he was trying to hold the country together that there were so many compromises that sometimes some people were not happy. But, these are not written.”