In-depth look at Madiba as man and icon

Book: The Nelson Mandela Story

Book: The Nelson Mandela Story

Author: Anne Marie du Preez- Bezdrob

Publisher: Samoja Books

Reviewer: Zenoyise Madikwa

He was a barefoot village boy brought up as a tribal prince who became a lawyer, a prisoner and then an international statesman and icon.

In The Nelson Mandela Story, Anne Marie du Preez- Bezdrob takes the reader through Mandela's extraordinary life from herd boy to head of state. In doing so she examines his life as a man rather than as a politician, but nevertheless tells of the chain of events that led to the liberation of South Africa.

The well-researched biography gives the reader an affectionate in-depth look at Mandela's life, including his childhood trauma when he lost his father and his separation from his mother.

The book's 21 chapters lay bare the rich history and traditions of the Thembus. Du Preez-Bezdrob gives us an insight into Mandela's initiation journey when he graduated from boyhood to manhood in the beautiful hills of Mthatha. But in doing so the writer oversteps the limits by revealing initiation secrets that are only for discussion by those who have undergone this honourable ritual. In the Xhosa tradition, talking about this ritual to those who have never undergone it, especially to women, is strictly taboo.

The author chronicles Mandela's friendships and his love life, from his first flirt to his marriages and fatherhood, without overlooking his failures in these areas.

The book traces Mandela's experiences as a royal courtier and student, as well as his life as a politician and his quest for the liberation of all South Africans.

In my view, this is the best biography to be penned about Madiba after Long Walk to Freedom.

The author is an award-winning political journalist. She is also the author of Winnie Mandela -A Life.