A Prisoner in the Garden

Nelson Mandela Foundation, Manufactured by
Nelson Mandela Foundation, Manufactured by , foreword by Nelson Mandela. Viking Studio $29.95 (208p) ISBN 978-0-670-03753-7
Reviewed on: 12/05/2005
Release date: 01/01/2006
Hardcover - 208 pages - 978-0-14-302495-8
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One of Nelson Mandela's goals for his eponymous Centre of Memory and Commemoration is "to locate and document—and facilitate public access to—the many archives that contain traces of my life and those who lived it with me." Archives is a dusty word, but Mandela's Prison Archive, selections of which are reproduced in this beautiful volume, is a vibrant, moving affair. Used in its broadest sense here, the word includes "sites, landscapes, material objects, performances, photographs, artworks, stories and the memories of individuals." The all-embracing scope means that this book records not only official documents and personal papers but also the stories of people "who have simply felt their lives touched by him." With brevity and clarity, the foundation writers sketch Mandela's prison experience, his personal life and his political and philosophical thought. The testy challenge of balancing intimate knowledge against the rights of relatives and friends is met with candor ("voyeurism," one of the writers observes, "is the eternal temptation of archivists"). With this handsome illustrated book, the center advances another of Mandela's goals: "to unravel the many silences imposed by our apartheid and colonial pasts, to find space for the memories suppressed by power." (Jan.)

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