In the first three months of 1976, during his imprisonment on Robben Island, Nelson Mandela wrote the bulk of his autobiography "Long Walk to Freedom". This was an illegal act, and the manuscript had to be smuggled out by fellow prisoner Mac Maharaj on his release that year. Maharaj used the opportunity to ask Mandela and other political prisoners to write essays about South Africa's political future. These were smuggled out with Mandela's autobiography, and are published, 25 years later, in this book.
These essays provide a "snapshot" of the thinking of Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu, Govan Mbeki and other prominent Robben Island prisoners before the 1976 Soweto uprising changed the face of politics in South Africa. As such they provide an insight into our history. Each essay is preceded by a biographical introduction and a sketch of the author specially commissioned for this volume.
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