Bright Mandela book makes for a great gift

Book: Mandela: A Life

Book: Mandela: A Life

Authors: Adrian Hadland and Sean Fraser

Publisher: Sunbird

Reviewer: Doreen Zimbizi

I guess there is no stopping anyone from writing or publishing another Mandela book.

The legend he is, the international statesman and humanitarian he has become, means that there will always be interest in the man, and what he stands for, no matter how many times its been documented.

The latest offering, Mandela: A Life, will be an ideal Christmas gift this year. Post it early to those South Africans scattered all over the world because they will have something very nice to show off.

The storyline is familiar. Born to a chief and his fourth wife in rural Transkei, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela was destined for greatness. His youth prepared him for the hard life he later endured and overcame to give Africa and the world one of its greatest human beings.

Apart from being a freedom fighter, his current work on human rights and equality continue to shine a spotlight on the man who, in his retirement, is still doing much more than most of us. He continues to lend his name to worthy causes - such as using his 46664 prison number - to raise millions of rands for poverty relief through musical concerts. His Children's Fund and Foundation continue their sterling work.

A universal hero, Mandela's legacy will remain in our consciousness and that of generations to come because Madiba will forever be synonymous with the triumph of the human spirit, patience, forgiveness, courage, humility and compassion.

Mandela: A Life is a colourful edition in Madiba's life. More of a photographic account, the photos are bright and well displayed. The usual suspects feature prominently - the wives, his comrades and international celebrities, among them Desmond Tutu, Queen Elizabeth, Pope John Paul, The Dalai Lama, Princess Diana, Bill Clinton, Tony Blair, Bono, Yasser Arafat, Mohammed Ali, Fidel Castro and Oprah, among others.

One of the best photos is of him and his wife Graca Machel, both wearing the broadest of smiles.

There's him with Thabo Mbeki at an ANC rally, and a bright one of him with Machel, Adelaide Tambo and Yvonne Chaka Chaka. A photograph of Winnie and Graca hugging, taken from behind, tells a story of unity of purpose of these two women.

But the most pleasing photo is that of his 85th birthday cake. Equally amazing is that of him, Tutu and the World Cup.