Mandela’s sequel to ‘Long Walk to Freedom’ to be published
Book likely to tackle divorce from Winnie and why he stood down after a single term
Former South African president Nelson Mandela: the sequel is based on a little known manuscript Mandela wrote by hand but never completed, chronicling his time as the country’s first black president. Photograph: Rodger Bosch/AFP/Getty Images
“I have taken a moment here to rest, to steal a view of the glorious vista that surrounds me, to look back on the distance I have come. But I can rest only for a moment, for with freedom come responsibilities, and I dare not linger, for my long walk is not yet ended.”
So ends Nelson Mandela’s Long Walk to Freedom, one of the best-selling political memoirs of all time. But after 115 chapters and 751 pages, charting his rise from herd boy to prisoner to president, the narrative slides to a halt in 1994. Which raises the question: what really happened next?
More than 20 years later, the world will finally get an answer with the posthumous publication of a sequel based on a little known manuscript Mandela wrote by hand but never completed, chronicling his time as South Africa’s first black president.
Pan Macmillan has announced that it has acquired the UK and Commonwealth rights to the book which will hit shelves next year.
The second volume of autobiography will focus primarily on how one of the 20th century’s political giants set about building a multiracial democracy out of the ashes of racial apartheid. It was the time of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, a new constitution and globetrotting diplomacy with leaders ranging from Bill Clinton to Muammar Gadafy. The book is likely to tackle Mandela’s regrets over failing to tackle the growing HIV/Aids crisis, his painful divorce from Winnie Madikizela-Mandela and why he opted to stand down after a single term, still cited as an example that many African leaders would do well to follow.
Political grenadeThabo MbekiCyril RamaphosaVerne HarrisNelson Mandela
Mbeki ruled from 1999 until he was deposed by his own party, the African National Congress (ANC), in 2008. Mandela, a devout party man, was reluctant to criticise Mbeki in public but made clear his displeasure at the president’s Aids “denialism” and, it has been claimed, held sensitive conversations outdoors because he believed Mbeki had bugged his home. Ramaphosa, meanwhile, is now deputy president and a leading contender to succeed the current incumbent, Jacob Zuma.
For Long Walk to Freedom, Mandela received help from a ghost writer, Richard Stengel, an American author and journalist who went on to edit Time magazine and is now the US under secretary of state for public diplomacy and public affairs. Stengel is said to have been extraordinarily dedicated to the project, sitting at Mandela’s bedside and tape recording him for hours to capture his cadence, grammar and tone. The book has sold millions of copies and was adapted for a movie starring Idris Elba.
Mandela had been determined to write part II on his own, Harris said, and began work on it in 1998 under the provisional title The Presidential Years. Each chapter was carefully written by hand, then given to his personal assistant, Zelda la Grange, to be typed. Corrections were made to the manuscript; then Mandela, whose clan name is Madiba, penned a fresh draft.
He produced about 10 chapters and other sections intended to become chapters, totalling about 23,000 words, but “gradually lost steam and stopped writing” in late 2001 or early 2002, Harris said.
The memoir was then put on “the back burner” as Mandela focused his energies on charitable projects, although it was publicly available at the foundation by appointment. In 2004 the anti-apartheid hero announced his retirement from public life – “Don’t call me, I will call you,” he said – and for the next decade his health steadily faded. Harris said: “In the last few years he was not energetic around these projects.”
A committee was formed, led by Tony Trew and Joel Netshitenzhe, former heads of communications in the Mandela presidency, to pull the content together.Harris said roughly a third of the text would be Mandela’s own, written in the first person, while the rest would be the work of Trew and others, possibly in a different font. “It’s going to be very explicit when Madiba speaks and it’s his voice,” he added.
Royalties will go to Mandela’s estate and the foundation. The executors of the estate could face rival claims from members of Mandela’s family including Madikizela-Mandela, who have clashed in a series of ugly disputes over his inheritance . – (Guardian service)