The Cambridge Companion to Nelson Mandela Truthfully and Respectfully Honors and Questions Mandela’s Legacy

Creating a collection of writings about Nelson Mandela is an intimidating task. Nelson Mandela is one of the most revered figures of our time but there is also a lot of controversy surrounding him.


“He committed himself to a compelling political cause, suffered a long prison sentence, and led his violent and divided country to a peaceful democratic transition. His legacy, however, is not uncontested: his decision to embark on an armed struggle in the 1960s, his solitary talks with apartheid officials in the 1980s, and the economic policies adopted during his presidency still spark intense debate.” –The Cambridge Companion to Nelson Mandela

The Cambridge Companion to Nelson Mandela is impressive in it’s diversity and forthrightness in covering all aspects of the man, the movement he lead, and the way that he has been represented in the media. The essays in the Companion are written by experts in history, anthropology, jurisprudence, cinema, literature, and visual studies and the specific ideas of writers with expertise in specialized areas is nothing short of fascinating.

The collection consists of 12 chapters split into 3 sections.

“They examine how Mandela became the icon he is today and consider the meanings and uses of his internationally recognizable image. Their overarching concerns include Mandela’s relation to “tradition” and “modernity,” the impact of his most famous public performances, the oscillation between Africanist and non-racial positions in South Africa, and the politics of gender and national sentiment. The volume concludes with a meditation on Mandela’s legacy in the twenty-first century and a detailed guide to further reading.”

The book is set up in a way that readers and students can utilize specific sections that touch on their area of study or interest or it can be read as a solid unit to get a well rounded idea of what made Nelson Mandela the man he is. This would make a priceless addition to any high school or university library and an excellent gift for readers who want a full view of the remarkable man, Nelson Mandela. 

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