FINE READ ABOUT TURMOIL IN sa

Playing the Enemy: Nelson Mandela and the Game that Made a Nation, written by John Carlin, takes the reader back to the Rivonia Trial and the incarceration of ANC stalwarts in the early 1960s.

Playing the Enemy: Nelson Mandela and the Game that Made a Nation, written by John Carlin, takes the reader back to the Rivonia Trial and the incarceration of ANC stalwarts in the early 1960s.

It's so exciting and peppered with hair-raising incidents that one cannot put the book down once you have started reading.

It relives thrilling and nerve-racking episodes from those days.

Nelson Mandela's court appearance, his incarceration on Robben Island, his divorce from Winnie, the uprisings at the small village of Paballelo in Upington, all make for very interesting reading.

It also reveals how Mandela was keen, while in prison, on learning more about Afrikaners and their language and how he took top white politicians by surprise by speaking fluent Afrikaans after he was released.

With many white South Africans against Mandela's release, banners were displayed five days later in Pretoria on Church Square. Some of them said: "Hang Mandela", "Mandela go home to Prison". Others referred to FW de Klerk as a traitor.

Most of the people who disliked or even hated Mandela were surprised later on when he united the nation through sport.

As the first black president of South Africa, the Rugby World Cup in 1995 presented him with an opportunity to win their hearts.

When he walked into Ellis Park Stadium wearing the Springbok jersey with the captain's number on it his detractors were blown away.

He soon became an icon not only for blacks but the majority of whites as well.

Francois Pienaar, who captained the World Cup winning squad, was a boy born and bred in Vereeniging, who became a true representative of the Afrikanervolk.

After the Springboks' victory against New Zealand at Ellis Park, Mandela thanked Pienaar: "Francois, thank you very much for what you have done for our country."

Pienaar replied: "No, Mr President, thank you very much for what you have done for our country."

Sowetan coined a new South African word that caught the imagination of the entire country - "Amabokoboko" - a nickname for the Springboks.

This book documents important details of our recent history and should be read by all who want to get a "feel" for it.

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